Study Abroad with Templeton Juniors Liz Margolis and Carolyn Sigman

While it is not required, most Templeton students choose to study abroad at some point in their undergraduate career. This semester, Templeton students are studying in New Zealand, Scotland, France, and Spain, just to name a few destinations. Templeton juniors Liz and Carolyn are studying in France and Spain, respectively, and they offered these reflections as they were preparing to depart.

Liz Margolis (18’) is studying Public Policy and Ethics, and has a double minor in French and Christian Thought (Theology/Bible). She is from West Hartford, CT and is spending the spring semester in Strasbourg, France.

Carolyn Sigman (18’) is studying Mathematics with minors in Spanish and Astronomy. This spring, she left her home in Lancaster, PA to study abroad in Seville, Spain.

Why are you studying abroad? What do you hope study abroad will contribute to your education?

Liz: I am studying abroad in Strasbourg, France because I have been taking French since I was 4 years old and for the past 16 years, I have been learning about France’s  culture, food, and so on. Now I am finally able to experience the country firsthand. I am doing a European Studies Program in Strasbourg, so I am excited to learn about the EU and its foreign policy.

Carolyn: Studying abroad has been a dream of mine since I was in high school. In fact, one of the reasons that I chose Eastern, and specifically Templeton, is because they strongly encourage students to study abroad. I chose to study in Spain because I love the Spanish language and I would like to be able to speak it fluently.

Triana, Spain. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Sigman.

What are you most looking forward to? Are you nervous or anxious about anything?

Liz: I am most looking forward to French bread and wine. I am anxious about my classes because I do not know what to expect yet. I am also nervous about living in a country where I cannot use English to express myself.

Carolyn: I am looking forward to learning Spanish. My program has a Spanish-only policy so I will be immersed in the language immediately. It will be intense at first, but it will be worth it. While I’m excited to learn Spanish, I agree with Liz; it will be nerve-wracking to live in a country where you can’t use English to express yourself.

Where will you live? What will you study? With whom will you study?

Liz: I will be living with a host family who came to France from Rwanda as refugees 20 years ago. I am in a European Studies Program, so I will be studying at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques.

Carolyn: Like Liz, I will live with a host family in Seville. The Spanish Studies Abroad center in Seville will be my main base, but I will also learn through field trips, Spanish-speaking partners, and other cultural experiences.

Do you plan to travel while you’re in Europe? If so, where do you hope to go?

Liz: I plan to do a lot of travelling in Europe! I want to do most of my travelling in France so I can see a lot of the country, but I have also planned trips to Amsterdam, Brussels, and Munich.

Carolyn: I also plan to do a lot of traveling! In addition to traveling in Spain, I have trips to England and Italy planned. I also hope to visit Morocco, Austria, and Greece!

Petit France, Strasbourg. Photo courtesy of Liz Margolis.

What do you expect to learn about life while you’re away?

Liz: I am excited to have my worldview expanded and to begin to understand a culture where children do not grow up speaking English and in the most powerful country in the world. I am ready to be open to new experiences outside of my comfort zone and to have some healthy alone time.

Carolyn: While I have been on multiple short-term international trips, this will be the first time that I will spend an extended period of time in a different country. I think this extended period of time will give me a window into the world outside of the United States. I expect to encounter different belief systems, religious ideas, and customs. I believe these encounters will help me to think and reason well.  

What do you hope to immerse yourself in culturally while you’re away (food, music, museums, etc.)?

Liz: I am hoping to be immersed in the French political scene, since I am doing a European Studies Program and France will be electing a new President while I am there. I am very excited to learn about their governmental system and its culture.

Carolyn: I will be in Seville during two important holidays, La Feria (a festival that takes place in Seville every spring) and La Semana Santa (Holy Week). Tourists from all over the world come to Seville to experience these celebrations so I’m excited to be a “local” during that time.

Are you taking any books with you to read while you’re away?

Liz: I am bringing Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller), Inspiration and Incarnation (Peter Enns), Gravity and Grace (Simone Weil), and The Language of Science and Faith (Giberson and Collins).

Carolyn: I have so many books that I would like to bring with me, but I will probably bring a couple books by one of my favorite authors, Khaled Hosseini. I may also bring a Spanish novel to practice my Spanish reading skills.

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