My name is Alicia Peppard and I am a fourth year pre-med Genetics and Genomics major. In summer 2017, I participated in the study abroad program, “Genetics—the Global Language of Biology.” In the program, we stayed in Austria and England and Sweden and we studied BIS 101 Genes and Gene Expression. I’ve always loved to travel and knew I wanted to study abroad, so the two requirements I had when choosing a trip were (1) I wanted to choose a subject related to my major and (2) I wanted to go to places I hadn’t been before.
Although my favorite location was Cambridge, I greatly enjoyed being able to explore these three different locations in between classes and in between trips to research institutions. One of the best parts of this trip was getting to see how far-reaching the study of genetics is. We got to inject fly embryos with DNA at a Drosophila lab and were able to read some of Darwin’s notes and samples from his expedition on the Beagle. Although I am planning on going into the health professions, not research, these experiences have helped me in my upper-division genetics courses. I have found that I remember material better when I have a fun experience to go alongside it, rather than just reading a textbook. These experiences wouldn’t have been possible without studying abroad and I’m so thankful that I participated in a program related to my major.
Traveling around Europe in and of itself was an incredible experience, but the best part was getting to know the people I traveled with. I made so many long-lasting friendships on my trip and am planning on traveling with them in the future. From sprinting to catch the London train back to Cambridge to swimming in the Danube together to learning each other’s quirks and pet peeves, my group made a lasting bond and I am forever grateful for the time I spent with them. The friends I made were definitely the best part of my study abroad experience; they impacted my college experience in a way I didn’t know was possible.
I enjoyed my study abroad experience so much that I am studying abroad on the “Community Health and Native Healing in Hawaii” internship program during summer 2018. I am excited to pursue global health in a new location and learn about how culture affects healthcare. I recommend studying abroad to everyone I meet and can’t wait to help them (and you) find the perfect program.