Study Abroad Peer Support

Looking for some guidance when it comes to study abroad? Want to talk to someone who's been there, done that? Your Wesleyan peers are here to help!

If you're interested in applying for a study abroad student leadership position, check out our student leaders webpage.

Study Abroad Ambassadors

As study abroad returnees, Study Abroad Ambassadors are ready to support you before, during, and after your study abroad experience through one-on-one student support, campus events, and more.
  • Uresa Ahmeti

    Study Abroad Program: Carleton College’s Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe, Stockholm, Sweden (Fall 2021)

    Majors: Sociology; Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies

    Meet with Uresa: In person or Zoom

    Email Uresa

    Learn more about Uresa
    What areas of the study abroad experience can you help other students navigate?
    • Taking care of your mental health
    • Making friends with locals
    • Having fun / exploring the city
    • First time traveling internationally
    • Managing workload / academic progress tips


    Why did you select your study abroad program?
    I decided on this specific study abroad program because it has two main components I look for in every experience. First and foremost, the program highlighted situated knowledge and site-specific learning. Lecturers, activists, artists from the areas of studying in our curriculum visited us, and we visited them in order to learn more about what they do and what their experience can add to our queer and feminist theory discourses. Secondly, we had the opportunity to engage in an independent study while studying abroad. Field research at the place of our stay is a very unique and rare opportunity that I could not miss.

    What was your favorite class from your term abroad?
    Situated Feminisms was my favorite class. We had lecturers from 3 different countries, Germany, Sweden, Poland and we were able to situate our theorizing. For this class we also had a chance to travel to different cities in Sweden, including Kiruna where we visited the indigenous Sami peoples, and the iron mines region. Overall, this experience was one of my favorite, and definitely a highlight of my study abroad experience.

    What activities did you participate in outside of class while you were studying abroad?
    I heard from a peer who was living in the same apartment building that Queer Art Festival was happening in Stockholm. I reached out to the festival and shared my interest to participate in any way possible. They were so friendly and welcoming, so I was given the opportunity to be a participating artist at their art fair and sold my poetry book. I was also able to catch the Queer Cinema last event after our trip back from Kiruna, Sweden. I mostly went around and had Fika in different cafes and I explored bars in different neighborhoods. I even tried karaoke after we rode the train for 30-40 minutes which was so much fun. It’s not every day you get to see the more periphery areas of a city, while you’re living and studying in the city center.

    What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?
    Go out, explore and meet as many local people as possible. Tourist guides and short articles will give some version of a city/country, but it is far away from a more authentic representation of those communities. Hanging out with local people is really how you find the cute shops in hidden corners, hippie underground cafes, or local bands of the genre you like, local clothing stores and delicious bakeries. By exposing myself to different sites and communities around me, while studying abroad, I was able to deepen my understanding of the cultural and socio-political realities in the country I was living. That’s a very unique opportunity to understand experiences from those who undergo them, rather than getting information from a distance. 

  • Rebecca Dowd

    Study Abroad Program: Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid, Spain (Fall 2021)

    Majors: Science in Society; Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

    Meet with Rebecca: In person or Zoom

    Email Rebecca

    Learn more about Rebecca

    What areas of the study abroad experience can you help other students navigate?

    • Living with a host family
    • Getting exercise 
    • Taking classes in a language that’s not your first
    • Religion abroad


    Why did you select your study abroad program?
    I knew I wanted to go abroad to a Spanish speaking country because I’ve been taking Spanish for years, and wanted an immersive experience to help me get to the next level language-wise. I chose the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid because it gave that level of immersion, while also ensuring that students were set up for success in cultural and language immersion.

    What was your favorite class from your term abroad?
    My favorite class I took abroad was called Historia del Arte. It was an art history class about the art history of Spain, which was completely unlike any class I’ve taken before. But the best part of my class was that once a week instead of having a lecture, as a class we would go to one of Madrid’s many museums or neighborhoods and see the art and architecture we’d been talking about in first person.

    What activities did you participate in outside of class while you were studying abroad?
    Lots of outdoor activities. Most of my time was spent finding green space, chilling in cafes, and traveling around Spain. I did a lot of walking, a bit of running, some hiking. I also found a great dance class! Check out a video of Rebecca's trek along El Camino Finisterre!

    What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?
    DO IT! And then, be spontaneous! Stop randomly at a street vendor after class and get that local pastry. Or make a last minute decision to travel to a new place.

  • Haley Fish

    Study Abroad Program: Duke in Berlin, Germany (Fall 2019)

    Majors: Government (International Politics); Environmental Studies

    Meet with Haley: In person or Zoom

    Email Haley

    Learn more about Haley

    What areas of the study abroad experience can you help other students navigate?

    • Living with a host family
    • Studying abroad as a student-athlete
    • Language concerns 
    • Studying abroad as a sophomore
    • Fall study abroad (and navigating coming back to Wes for spring semester)
    • Budgeting and financial aid


    Why did you select your study abroad program?
    I took German both in high school and when I got to Wes, so I knew I wanted to go to a German-speaking country. Berlin is a city with such an interesting history and culture, so when I learned about the pre-approved program through Duke there I was immediately drawn in. The classes looked fantastic and I loved the way the weekly schedule was arranged (Every Friday was a field trip day with no classes). Also, as a student-athlete, I knew I had to go abroad in the fall, and Duke in Berlin best fit my needs surrounding that.

    What was your favorite class from your term abroad?
    My favorite class in Berlin was Environmental Policy of the European Union. It was taught by the head of an environmental think tank, and we took our classes in the think tank office. I learned so many cool things in that course, and it actually influenced my decision to become an environmental studies major!

    What activities did you participate in outside of class while you were studying abroad?
    When not in class, I spent a lot of time exploring the city and hanging out with friends, often finding neat places to do homework and chill. One cool thing about my program was that each person was paired with a local conversation partner for the semester. We started by just getting lunch once a week, but by the middle of the semester the two of us were hanging out all the time and she introduced me to other students in Berlin and took me to lots of cool places throughout the city. We still keep in touch two years later! I also was fortunate enough to travel throughout a lot of Europe while I was there, mainly with other people in my program.

    What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?
    Start taking a language early if you are even considering wanting to go abroad to a place where there is a language requirement. Either way, you’ll have some cool new skills, and knowing another language opens up so many opportunities, both in terms of study abroad programs you could attend and also in your life in general.

  • Paris Jensen

    Study Abroad Program: Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris, France (Fall 2021)

    Majors: French Studies; University Major

    Meet with Paris: Zoom

    Email Paris

    Learn more about Paris

    What areas of the study abroad experience can you help other students navigate?

    • Making progress on language learning, before and during study abroad
    • Time management (including fitting in events/sightseeing)
    • Living with a host
    • Meeting native speakers
    • Thesis-writing while abroad (or maintaining other long-term projects)


    Why did you select your study abroad program?
    I took a gap year between high school and university, and during that time I lived in Bordeaux, France. That year was one of the happiest of my life: the city was spectacular, peaceful, and walkable; the French quality of life (and cuisine!) was so appealing; working on my language skills every day was deeply satisfying. When I got to Wesleyan, I was already planning to go back to France. I was delighted to find that Wesleyan runs its own program in Paris – I figured this way the program would be reliable, and I would be able to focus on learning and adventure while I was there. In addition, my advisor, Professor Rider, runs the program every other year, and clearly enjoys it – talking with him about it made me feel confident that I would as well. I had considered going to Denmark (where I am a dual citizen) or to a country outside of Europe to try something totally new, but in the end, Paris seemed pretty irresistible.

    What was your favorite class from your term abroad?
    I took a Wesleyan-run class called “Amour à la Française” on representations of love and desire in French literature and culture, which ended up being not just my favorite class abroad but perhaps the best college class I’ve ever taken. It was a writing-intensive course, and it pushed my French to a completely different level with weekly assignments. It wouldn’t characterize it as stressful however, even though it was demanding – the readings were wonderfully interesting, and there was a fair amount of flexibility and creativity to the writing assignments. For my final project, I asked my teacher, Professor Graille, if I could write nine pages of poems instead of a final essay, and he agreed. I am so proud of those poems! I would never have known I was capable of doing that (and indeed, might not have been capable of it) before this class.

    What activities did you participate in outside of class while you were studying abroad?
    One of the first things I did in Paris was buy a travel guitar, which opened up a lot of possibilities! I ended up not just learning French songs, but performing with my host’s theater workshop at two events. I worked with them on a guitar accompaniment for one of their skits, and I also got to play several pieces myself – a couple of my favorite French tunes and two originals. Singing in French, in a Paris theatre, for a live French audience – that was definitely a memorable experience! I also went to several concerts around Paris with a friend that I met through my host’s workshop. Check out a video of Paris's performance of Mon Loup while in Paris!

    What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?
    I would say to have patience with yourself and with the experience. Some things may fall into place quickly, but others will inevitably take longer than you are used to, or than you had expected – this is perfectly normal, and (my guess is) everyone who studies abroad deals with something similar. Personally, I didn’t have my final class schedule worked out until the first week of October – and I arrived in Paris the last week of August! The time it takes to put your routine together is not wasted, but is part of ultimately having the kind of experience you want.

  • Taveras Shelley (TS)

    Study Abroad Program: Eastern College Consortium in Bologna, Italy (Fall 2021)

    Major: Italian Studies

    Meet with TS: In person or Zoom

    Email TS

    Learn more about TS

    What areas of the study abroad experience can you help other students navigate?

    • Language integration
    • Academic planning
    • Queerness abroad
    • Care and keeping of your own apartment
    • Mental health abroad
    • Balance between home and here


    Why did you select your study abroad program?
    It was any easy choice since ECCo is hosted in part by Wesleyan! Some of my professors here on campus have even directed the program in past years so it fit very nicely into my course of study. I began taking Italian my first semester at Wesleyan after the department had been recommended during my application process and will be graduating from the major this spring!

    What was your favorite class from your term abroad?
    My favorite class that I took while abroad was Introduction to Human Geography at the University of Bologna. It was a great opportunity for variety since Wesleyan does not host a geography department and for enrichment of my studies here on campus in other disciplines that discuss geography and sense of place, such as history and literature, in both Italian and English!

    What activities did you participate in outside of class while you were studying abroad?
    For my extracurricular activity abroad, I assisted at the Center for Documentation at Cassero, the archival arm of the queer community center in Bologna. I organized historical materials and produced promotional material for ongoing projects and upcoming events.

    What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?
    Even while abroad, you are still you! You’ll still need the same practices to keep you grounded. So before leaving for abroad, reflect on what it is about your comfort rituals that works and keep an eye out for new ways to recreate them in your host city! I, personally, sampled lots of pastry varieties to supplement Swings New York cheesecake at the end of a rough day.

Study Abroad Peer Mentors

Study Abroad Peer Mentors are current Wesleyan students who recently returned from a study abroad experience and work with the Office of Study Abroad on a volunteer-basis. They are ready to mentor you through any of the study abroad questions or challenges you may be facing.
  • Nicholas Parker

    Study Abroad Program: Eastern College Consortium in Bologna, Italy (Fall 2021)

    Major: Italian Studies

    Email Nicholas

    Learn more about Nicholas

    What areas of the study abroad experience can you help other students navigate?

    • Making friends with locals
    • Engaging in community groups/organizations
    • Participating in extracurriculars while abroad
    • Navigating sexual orientation while abroad
    • Homesickness
    • Balancing academics and travel


    Why did you select your study abroad program?
    I selected the ECCo program in Bologna, Italy, as I knew it to be a trustworthy program with different courses that seemed interesting to me. All of the classes were in Italian, which, while presenting somewhat of a challenge, was one of the most beneficial factors in developing my language skills. The location of the program was additionally enticing, as Bologna is a beautiful city, and not one that is particularly tourist-y. The language, culture, and food were all very authentic, and I found myself to be much more immersed in the Italian language than one might experience in other cities, like Florence or Rome.

    What was your favorite class from your term abroad?
    I took a class titled Claude Debussy: The Cultural Context and Compositional Style from the University of Bologna, which I found to be incredibly interesting. The course was definitely a challenge, having taken it in Italian with other Italian students, but that made it all the more rewarding upon completion. Not only this, but what I learned in that class has in some ways shaped what I plan to study back here at Wes!

    What activities did you participate in outside of class while you were studying abroad?
    Outside of class, I participated in the University of Bologna choir, which met a couple of times per week for rehearsals. We had a final holiday concert in December, through which I had the experience of singing with an orchestra in a beautiful church. I also enjoyed plenty of travel all around northern Italy on the weekends and met a lot of friends that way, many of whom I’m still in touch with. In addition, I participated in some community events coordinated by the Cassero LGBTI+ center and the related PeopAll group in Bologna.

    What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?
    A specific technique that really helped me was listing out the aspects of my academic and personal goals that held the highest priorities in my life. Then do all the research you can to find out what program might be best for you, and how you might be able to tailor any given opportunity to get the most out of it for you, personally. There are always more opportunities to be found the more you talk to people about your specific interests and explore those possible connections.

Global Correspondents

While abroad, Global Correspondents document their study abroad experience through various storytelling formats including blogs, photos, Instagram takeovers, and videos.
  • Nick Bowman

    Study Abroad Program: School for Field Studies: Turks and Caicos (Spring 2022)

    Majors: Archaeology and Classical Civilizations

    Email Nick

  • Sasha Gerber

    Study Abroad Program: Tel Aviv University (Spring 2022)

    Majors: College of Letters; Classics

    Email Sasha

  • Genesis Pimentel

    Study Abroad Program: CIEE Amsterdam (Spring 2022)

    Majors: American Studies

    Email Genesis

  • Nicholas Summerson

    Study Abroad Program: Vassar Wesleyan Program in Paris (Spring 2022)

    Majors: French; Psychology

    Email Nicholas

  • Diana Zhumalieva

    Study Abroad Program: Eastern College Consortium in Bologna, Italy (Spring 2022)

    Majors: Anthropology; Psychology

    Email Diana