A Global Education

By Sarah Fling (history major, French and theatre arts minors, West European Studies Certificate, Transatlantic Studies Certificate, related concentration in European and Eurasian Studies)

Studying abroad has been the most formative and memorable part of my undergraduate experience in the Dietrich School.

Through the museum studies program, I spent seven weeks traveling to Paris, Madrid, and Italy. We visited the most famous museums in Europe like the Louvre, the Vatican Museums, and the Prado, and learned about conservation, cultural patrimony, and more! 

I have studied abroad twice in Brussels, Belgium through the European Studies Center. One was a one-week tour of the city, where we visited EU institutions and witnessed the Brexit vote! The second was a five-week intensive program focused on EU politics and policy at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

And, I participated in the London Field Studies program, which was my first exerience with such a large research project. My project analyzed the death of Queen Victoria, 19th century grief culture in Britain, and the legacy which was created as a result of society’s deep mourning. I conducted this research in the British Library, Kensington Palace, and through Victoria’s journal archives which are available online only in the UK. 

The most impactful part of my research was learning how to independently find materials and analyze them, while also thrown into a new city abroad. While researching in some of the most famous places in the world, I also had to figure out how to use the currency and public transportation!

Also, I learned a lot about how NOT to do research. There were so many bumps in the road, and I had to learn to be flexible and reroute myself in ways I had never done before. Sometimes it could be daunting, but it led me to so many new, more interesting paths within my project!

Research has deepened my skills as a scholar and allowed me to dive ever-deeper into my passions. There is no end to what you can discover as a researcher—it’s something that all students should pursue! 

Research and study abroad have allowed me to hone my language skills, become more confident in my independence, and experience new cultures. I feel so well-versed in the world now, and my education is global in a way that I could never have imagined.