Students studying abroad reflect on their programs, develop new perspective on Northwestern


Photo courtesy of Ani Feinberg

Communication junior Ani Feinberg visits the Christmas Market in Copenhagen with fellow Northwestern students. Traveling to nearby cities is one of the best parts of being abroad, she said.

Grace Knickrehm, Reporter

As students in Evanston gear up for the holidays, students studying abroad are preparing to return home. 

While Weinberg junior Savir Maskara is excited to see their friends and reconnect with clubs, they say they will miss the slower pace of life in Madrid, where they’re currently studying. 

“People basically take the month of August off,” Maskara said. “Spain has given me the perspective on what it’s like when your friends aren’t busy all the time.” 

But while Spain’s pace of life may be slow, Maskara’s hasn’t been. Intent on immersing themself in Spanish language and culture, they said their goal has been to visit every major city in Spain by the end of their program. 

Travel is a big appeal of study abroad for Communication junior Ani Feinberg, who’s also studying in Madrid. So far, she’s collected eighteen postcards, visiting places like Paris, Vienna and Budapest. 

“There’s just such an energy and an invigoration to explore and to travel,” Feinberg said. “There’s hardly a weekend where I’m not packing my bags or boarding a flight.” 

Although she’s stepped back from the classroom this semester, Feinberg said she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything. To her, exploring the streets of Madrid, visiting museums and trying new foods is an equally important type of learning, and one you don’t get in Evanston. 

The academic portion of Feinberg’s study abroad program has still been significant, though, she said. As an international studies major, she studies a range of topics from economics and political science to Spanish art, architecture and language. 

Two of her non-language classes are taught in Spanish, which she said can be difficult when they’re using economic jargon. 

“(I) might not know (the words) in English, let alone Spanish,” Feinberg said.

One thing that surprised Feinberg, however, is that study abroad didn’t automatically force her into an immersive environment. 

She said learning Spanish requires a certain level of proactivity.

“If I wanted to, I could never speak a lick of Spanish (outside classes) the entire time I’m here and just stay in my own little bubble,” Feinberg said. 

In her free time, Feinberg teaches English at a local elementary school, where she can practice Spanish and connect with the kids. 

While it can seem intimidating to take classes in another country, Communication junior Kate Davis said college is precisely the time to go abroad. 

“You don’t have to figure out any of the hard stuff yourself like getting a residence permit,” Davis said. “It’s really easy to just pack your bags and show up.” 

Davis said her time in Copenhagen so far has been “pure bliss.” Similar to Feinberg and Maskara, Davis said she has focused less on school and more on life. 

While Davis said she’s a little worried about returning to classes in Winter Quarter, right now she’s focused on making the most of being abroad. One of Davis’s fondest memories is in Dublin, which she visited for the Northwestern-Nebraska football game. 

“It was weird to be halfway across the world and see so many Northwestern people,” Davis said. “I was like ‘My worlds are colliding and this is really odd.’”

As fun as their programs have been, however, all three students are looking forward to returning home. Maskara is excited to join the lacrosse team and get involved in theater at NU. Feinberg misses intimate relationships with her professors and being in a closer time zone to her family. Davis is excited to have Diet Coke, which is banned in Denmark. 

Applications for study abroad in fall of 2022 are now open and available on the Global Learning Office website. 

“(The experience will) expand your own perspective and build your ability to empathize with others,” Feinberg said. “I encourage every single person to study abroad.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GraceKnickrehm

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