Becoming global citizens

Exonians gain new perspectives and unforgettable memories through immersive programs in Germany, Italy and Spain.

Debbie Kane
April 4, 2019
Exonians in Rome.

Exonians on Tiber Island where a temple to Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, once stood.

Touring Rome’s famed Scuderie del Quirinale. Eating gelato alongside the Guadalquivir River on the Iberian Peninsula. Skiing in the Austrian Alps. Cooking Chinese dumplings with a German host family. Exonians attending term abroad programs make memories while expanding their intellectual and cultural horizons.

This winter Exonians traveled to three European cities for immersion experiences. They lived with host families, took classes in local schools, toured historic sites and museums, and explored the area, gaining new cultural perspectives.

“Some of the most rewarding aspects of the program come from the reactions and interconnections between our students and the host families,” says Classical Languages Instructor Sally Morris, who has led Exeter’s winter term in Rome since 2013. “There’s also the value of being a more informed global citizen, from learning to keep your socks on inside the house and saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good evening’ with gusto and a kiss on each cheek … to understanding more about migration, immigration, flight and exile.”

Here are observations from Exonians who studied abroad this winter:

Alayna D’Amico ‘19
Madrid, Spain

The term in Madrid was a chance to improve my Spanish, make new friends with other Exonians, and experience the rich culture of a beautiful country.

Memorable moments: My most memorable experience was visiting Sevilla. During that trip, we (the Exeter students) started to become friends. I remember sitting along the Guadalquivir River with other girls on the trip, eating gelato, laughing and talking for what felt like hours. We also had a cooking lesson at our school, Colegio Santa Maria la Blanca, where we learned how to make traditional Spanish dishes like paella and tortilla. During our last weekend in Spain, we went to an amusement park, which not only tested our Spanish, but was a fun way to say goodbye to our Spanish friends.

Takeaway: Separating from my comfortable routine at Exeter to face new things and changes in a foreign country certainly was challenging, but as I head into my last term, I think this lesson could not have come at a better time.

Exonians in Spain.

Janeva Dimen ‘19
Rome, Italy

Rome was my second study abroad experience at Exeter (as a lower, I went to Bibracte, France for Classical Studies). I’ve loved the classics since my first Latin class in 7th grade, but during the France trip, I discovered classical archaeology. I chose the Italy program because I wanted to learn topography in a Classical context, in Rome itself.

Memorable moments: I really connected with the Ovidio exhibit in Scuderie del Quirinale. It featured works of art, dated from classical antiquity to today, inspired by Ovid's poems. I was inspired by a room of neon wall lights featuring Ovid quotes with translations.

Another favorite memory was eating fried artichokes at dinner in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto. Later I also tried fried lamb brains. I don't think I'll be eating them again, but it was a fun experience.

Takeaway: Now, when I translate Ovid during spring term, I’ll have so much more context to not only understand, but relate to what I’m reading. Translations are more than text. They’re filled with choice words, governed by personal experiences. Ultimately, this sense of ownership of translation and personal connection to text is what I took back with me to Exeter. 
Exonians in Spain.

Alexia Netcu ‘19
Madrid, Spain

I’ve been studying Spanish for four years and wanted to fully immerse myself in the language.

Memorable moments: Our trip to Pais Vasco (Basque Country) stands out because it has a completely different culture and language! Weekends in Andalucía and Barcelona were also memorable because we bonded as a group.

Takeaway: Aside from cultural and linguistic knowledge, the two months in Madrid showed me how to embrace the complexities of a new place without being scared to ask for help (like when my vocabulary fell short).

Jeremy Xu ‘19
Göttingen, Germany

I studied in Germany because, even though I’ve been there before, I wanted to experience the country as much as possible.  

Memorable moments. We traveled to Berlin and Hamburg and I traveled to Hannover and Wolfsburg with other Exonians and German friends. We also went skiing in Saalbach, Austria.

My homestay family was incredible. I had two host brothers, who, like their mother, have incredible senses of humor and were easy to talk to. We often talked about German and American stereotypes as they were just as curious to learn about my life as I was to learn about theirs. German teens are not so different from us!

A favorite memory was celebrating Chinese New Year at another host family's home by making dumplings. The host mother was ecstatic that we shared this tradition with them.

Takeaway: It’s a stereotype that Germans are emotionless, cold and perfection-obsessed; my experience was the complete opposite. The Germans were simply so chill. They live in the moment.

Exonians in Rome.

Ji Yoon Ahn ‘19
Rome, Italy

I chose the Rome program because I wanted to pursue my passion for classics.

Memorable moments: Our week in Naples stands out. After time in Rome with our host families, nine Exeter students and our faculty stayed together at the Villa Vergiliana. Exploring the ruins of Pompeii, playing crazy card games, eating a bit too many fried eggs each morning and dancing in the street were perfect ways to end our trip.

Takeaway: I made memories that I’ll never forget, including jamming to songs about shrimps and trying to communicate with our only-Italian-speaking host dad. You can build so many sweet, special connections within a short time.

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