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RISE Annual Newsletter 2023

RISE Participants Share Their Winter Study Abroad Experiences

Winter Session Study Abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece
Hannah Armstrong

Hannah Armstrong

Junior, Biomedical Engineering

Winter Session Study Abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece

Last winter Hanna Armstrong had the opportunity to complete her first study abroad experience at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. Thanks to funding from RISE and the Louis Strokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), she completed two courses required for her degree: Materials Science (MSEG 201-071) and European History (HIST 339-071). When asked about her experience, Armstrong he is often left dumbfounded because she doesn’t know where to begin. She said that while she wasn’t sure what to expect from the trip other than the fact that she would have a good time, she had an incredible amount of fun and so much more.

When I asked about the Materials Science course and how it was structured, she said that the class was in a lecture format with 3 exams. Since there was so much travel on the weekends, Hanna and the other students would work throughout the week with strict discipline to ensure that they were prepared for their exams. Armstrong said that what was unique about the teaching style of her professor, Dr. Ismat Shah, was his ability to talk about micro-level concepts all the while connecting them to global issues. As a result of his enlightening teaching style, she felt that she had learned more than ever before.

Hanna was shocked to realize her lack of knowledge about the history of the region. She knew a little bit about the empires that had ruled the region and, of course, its mythology, but she didn’t realize how much that history transcended into Greek modern culture. This is one of the reasons she fully enjoyed the European History course taught by two professors from Aristotle University. Although she said that the work was a bit heavy at times, with three exams and two written papers, she grew to appreciate it because she was able to learn about the influence of previous empires which is something that is lacking in her current undergraduate curriculum.

When reflecting on her experience, Armstrong said that she is most grateful for the relationship she formed with the other University of Delaware students and the amazing people she met in the varying countries. She says that the trip’s success is measured by the number of pictures taken with smiles found within them. With this extraordinary introduction to world travel under her belt, Armstrong is confident that she will continue enriching her life with travel and making friends all over the world.

– Hanna Armstrong

Group photo of study-abroad experience in St. Croix, USVI
Chisom Ndubisi

Chisom Ndubisis

Senior, Civil Engineering

Winter Session Study Abroad in St. Croix, USVI

Chisom Ndubisi had an incredible study-abroad experience in St. Croix, USVI during the winter of 2023. She participated in a program focused on sustainability, history, and the culture of the island. Chisom participated in two classes during her time in St. Croix: Global Sustainable Engineering and Honors Inter-college Seminar on the History and Culture of the USVI.
In the engineering course, Ndubisi’s team examined the sustainability of the island’s infrastructure systems, with a specific focus on the issue of walkability, as they took into account the island’s heavy reliance on cars. This project allowed them to gain practical knowledge and insights on how to apply sustainable engineering practices.

The History class provided a deep dive into St. Croix’s past, including the presence of seven flags over the territory in recent centuries and its pre-colonial history. The students learned about the island’s complex cultural heritage and its influence on the present community and society.

The study abroad program lasted from January 3-25, and Ndubisi was fortunate enough to have most of her funding covered by scholarships, including funding from RISE and LSAMP. She had the opportunity to explore the local environment and culture through excursions, botanical gardens, beaches, museums, art galleries, and ecological attractions. Outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling were also part of the experience. Interactions with island residents and guest speakers further enriched her understanding of the island’s culture and history.

Overall, the study abroad experience left a lasting impact on Ndubisi. Not only did it deepen her knowledge of sustainable engineering and island culture but she also formed lifelong friendships and memories to be cherished forever. She highly recommends seizing a study abroad opportunity because of the invaluable experience it produces and added that being in a new and exciting environment will certainly stimulate learning and personal growth.

– Hanna Armstrong