“Travel is still the most intense mode of learning.” – Author, Kevin Kelly
Leaving the comfort of your hometown for an unknown international experience can be overwhelming and even nerve-wracking. But it can also be a thrilling opportunity, a chance to meet new people from around the world, and a way to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture. That’s exactly what Aaron Willis and Max Baltzersen wanted. The two, seniors at Mount St. Joseph University, knew they wanted a learning experience that would take them abroad, something that would shake the foundation of their normative life-routines, and shape their minds into newly cultivated perspectives.
Aaron and Max are childhood friends that grew up on the westside of Cincinnati together. They both came to the Mount to pursue a degree in business administration and they equally shared a desire to travel and explore beyond the boundaries of their hometown. It was through this desire that they made the decision to study abroad and dorm together in London, England. Through the Mount’s partnership with Richmond, The American International University, they spent the 2015/2016 fall semester taking courses towards their business majors with other international students from around the world.
“Over here I have gotten to meet people from all over the world. In any one of my given classes there are kids from Brazil, Morocco, China, and all over Europe. It has been great to see the diversification of the world and learn from other cultures and people,” says Max “Studying at a school in another country has helped me understand other perspectives that people have on America, especially my classes concerning human rights and foreign trade policy.”
When Aaron and Max weren’t taking classes during the week they had the opportunity to traipse all across Europe, venturing across countries like Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and across England. They were chosen by the mayor of Munich to be a part of the ceremonial Oktoberfest celebration, they attended Chelsea (soccer) games in London, gawked at architecture through a boat tour in Budapest, saw the iconic Eiffel tower, Mona Lisa and catacombs in Paris, witnessed the emotionally powerful Auschwitz concentration camp, and took part in other invaluable educational experiences.
“If I take away anything from this experience it will definitely be a better understanding of international culture and also the realization of global issues such as the devastating Paris attacks and the Syrian refugees struggling to find their place in Europe,” says Max.
“I recommend studying abroad to anyone who wants to experience different cultures, get great life experience, and make new friends from all over the world,” says Aaron.
(Photo- Left: Max Baltzersen, Right: Aaron Willis)