Name: Bailey Mirmelli, Class of 2022
Program: Summer in Stockholm, Sweden, Summer 2019
Fields of Study: Chemistry and Psychology, Minor in Mathematics
How did studying abroad affect your academic and/or professional career?
Studying abroad helped me take more coursework applicable to my major. It also gave me the opportunity to form closer relationships with professors who helped develop my thoughts about and hopes for my career. For instance, talking to Dr. Wee about ongoing psychological research on campus got me excited about participating in lab work the following semester.
How did you explore your hobbies, interests, and passions abroad?
Abroad, I was able to see the world in a different light, as the locals had a very distinct way of living. This meant that my daily life and attempts at keeping my routine filled with activities I enjoyed were often challenged, as I had to seek ways that were different than I was used to. For instance, I am a devout Catholic, but studying in a largely secular city made me work hard to keep my faith and spiritual habits. I think in the end, I grew more than I would have if I had studied in the States, despite the challenge.
Why would you recommend your respective abroad program or location?
Stockholm was an easy city to explore and access, with fantastic public transportation, long daylight hours, English-speakers, and a population of generally well-minded and respectful people. We had a ton of time to enjoy life in the city, and were able to partake in many of its highlights, like Midsommar. All in all, it was worth it because it was a destination I likely wouldn’t have had a chance to visit.
What should students consider when applying and preparing for their time abroad?
Students should do a little bit of self-evaluation, especially when accessing their desires and ability to make the most out of their experiences in a foreign country. For instance, they should think about how well they are able to manage their time now, as it could be a bit stressful trying to complete two courses in four weeks while exploring all that the city has to offer.
Share a story about a time you experienced cultural immersion.
I think the most obvious example of my experience of cultural immersion would be participating in the Midsommar celebration. A couple of us dressed up in white and floral dresses and attended Skansen’s festival. We watched the raising of the maypole, looked at Nordic animals in Skansen’s habitats, learned a little Swedish history and tradition, participated in the “frog dance,” ate meatballs, potatoes, and lingonberries for lunch, and stayed until one o’clock on the morning exploring the city and enjoying the longest day of the year.