Over 1,100 students have experienced personal and professional growth and become socially conscious global citizens with a passion for life through the Linking Lives Study Abroad Programs.
"I experienced friendship, courage, cultural awareness, adaptability, confidence, and most importantly memories that will last a lifetime. It is difficult to express the magnitude of how appreciative I am for every second I spent in Europe. I learned more than I could have imagined about myself, the people around me, and the world. I encountered legitimate and realistic obstacles that taught me how to react in the future when the consequence is more significant. This experience has given me hope to continue exploring in my future. If I was able to learn this much in such a short period of time, the opportunities for growth are endless." - Laura, Spring 2020
Through post reflection essays students report becoming more:
Culturally aware and appreciative
Curious and adventurous
Elizabeth, Fall 2013
"This semester has been such a journey that I’m so incredibly thankful to experience...The world was opened for me on this program... I’ve become empowered beyond than who I thought I was capable of being. Something inside me has been awakened, a spirit from long ago. In a way it’s that child like wonder and amazement that’s been reborn."
"Life is about ambiguity and the unexpected and over these past 3 months, I have welcomed those things with open arms in a way that I have seen positive benefits to my mental and emotional health. I no longer feel the need to control everything around me, and I know that being spontaneous and embracing ambiguity are what I always needed."
Kathleen, Fall 2018
Allie, Spring 2020
"I have gained more confidence than I ever could have hoped for. I lacked confidence before our trip, but throughout my experiences, I felt myself blossom…I felt like I took back the reigns of my life….Studying abroad has shaped me into someone I am proud to be, and I will be eternally grateful for that."
Kathleen, Fall 2018
"This program, I am certain, will provide me with numerous career advantages and opportunities. It provided me with communication applying to foreign language improvement, as well as general communication skills for networking and teamwork. Another important skill that I gained was cultural awareness and becoming familiar with these differences. I developed self-awareness skills examining and reflecting on my own beliefs and values throughout the trip.As discussed earlier, adaptability is another beneficial skill I gained, and I further developed it when encountering new challenges. I was able to apply my concepts from my studies to real jobs and experiences across various cultures. This can positively impact me in future career paths that align with employers’ skills and goals." - Taylor, Spring 2020
Through post reflection essay’s students report gaining skills in:
Organization and time management
Adaptability and resilience
Students also often find clarity or inspiration in what they would like to pursue after graduation.
Kelly, Spring 2019
"I learned during my time in Ethiopia to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. No matter what career path I choose, I know I will be faced with situations I have never experienced before. Traveling to a new state for a conference, working on a daunting project, and trying to communicate with people with a language barrier are a few examples. I am no longer afraid to be feel uncomfortable because I know the payoff is often greater than familiar situations."
"I have learned to think clearly and strategically in stressful situations and ask for help when needed...I learned how to work with a group to create innovative solutions towards world problems…. I now understand how it is beneficial to look at what the problem is stemming from and how it is influenced. This practice has really changed the way I think about complex problems and I believe will help me in the future as well."
Emma, Spring 2020
Erica, Spring 2013
"Going into my junior year of college I was thinking about switching from marketing and pursuing a teaching career and after teaching the children in Rwanda I felt more in place with my decision and that I would be happier that way. I really enjoy helping people and this trip made me so appreciative that I was given the chance to help others in both school and in the field."
"The story media may portray about a country or region is only one story and can’t be used to formulate an accurate opinion or view on the area. Many people tend to view Africa as one place, almost as a single country rather than a continent, even though it is made up of over 50 nations all with unique cultures, successes and hardships. Included in this mainstream view of Africa is the image of a helpless, miserable, poor, and starving people in dire need of assistance from other nations. After my trip to Adigrat, it’s been made clear that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The people of Adigrat were extremely happy, self sufficient, generous, and giving. While it is obviously a developing nation, which lacks certain resources it is far from helpless. On top of this there was an immense level of pride and happiness among the people of Adigrat for their nation and region that was made evident by anyone I held a conversation with." - Trent, Spring 2019
Our students are the sustainable component of our program:
They experience life changing moments in different cultures around the world that show them that these countries and people are much more than what we see in movies or read in the newspaper.
They become advocates and ambassadors for these people, places, and causes.
They are more socially aware of the world around them and are inspired to do good and make a difference in the world.
Sarah, Spring 2013
"After visiting Africa, I realized that I have the ability, in some small way, to help change or influence someone’s life for the better. I also discovered how much I could learn from being exposed to cultures other than my own. I realized that I want to give back to society more than I take from it."
"My perceptions have been expanded because I have seen so much with my own eyes. For example, while I was in Rwanda, I now have the ability to go back and tell people what it is actually like there instead of judging based on what we hear through second hand accounts or stereotypes. I have the opportunity to share my experiences and broaden other’s horizons."
David, Fall 2018
Lauren, Spring 2013
"Every culture is different – different in their customs, values, and ideas. But one thing I’ve taken from being in Africa and abroad is that even though they are different, it doesn’t make one better than another. They all work for the people of that culture and should be respected for their differences."
"The past few months were the best months of my life. I lived with sixty of my best friends in the most beautiful city I have been to... I was given time to see the world around me without a worry. This travel experience will stay with me forever and I am so thankful that I could participate." - Laura
Students experience more in three months than most people do in a lifetime. By the end of the trip they realize that it doesn’t matter where you are, but who you are with that truly makes a moment special. These lifelong memories and friendships fuel a fearless passion for adventure and life.
James, Fall 2014
"I will always have stories to tell, experiences to guide me, memories to think of, friends to talk to, and knowledge to share because of this program."
Meg, Spring 2020
“I could not be more grateful for an experience that brought me so much new knowledge and ignited my inner passion for travel and the unknown”
Dena, Spring 2020
"I will be forever grateful for the experiences I had in Lugano. I loved it all. The places, the people, and most of all the feeling of home I found in Lugano."