BEVERLY, Mass. – From January to June 2017, Endicott crew student-athlete and rising senior Brenna Shanahan (Shelton, Conn.) studied abroad at the University of Birmingham in England. While there, Shanahan was also able to travel to several destinations such as Scotland, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Malta, and compete with the University of Birmingham Boat Club (UBBC), all experiences she will never forget.
Along with those experiences, Shanahan gained a valuable perspective on studying abroad, and a future outlook on life.
"One of the biggest lessons I learned was that it's not where you travel or how many places you can tick off of your bucket list, but rather, it's the people you're with that make the experience(s) memorable," said Shanahan. "Also, even if studying abroad doesn't turn out to be the 'best time of your life' it's an invaluable learning experience and opportunity you most likely won't ever get again."
COMPETING WITH THE UBBC
Besides traveling and working on her studies, Shanahan was afforded the additional opportunity to compete with the UBBC – which is the English equivalent to an American crew team – while studying abroad. Shanahan got to compete on waters such as the Thames River in London with many talented and welcoming teammates. Through this process, she bettered herself for the upcoming fall season and capped her trip with a win in her final race.
"One of my favorite memories was winning the last race I competed in with the UBBC. I was the 2-seat in the women's 8 at the Worcester Spring Regatta on the River Severn. Everyone got to take home a victory 'pot' as well as British Rowing points for future races," said Shanahan.
Other than showcasing what the Endicott crew team is capable of out on the open waters with her new English teammates, Shanahan enjoyed sitting on The Sound of Music tour bus in Salzburg, Austria looking out at the clustered houses and mountain peaks while singing along to the song "My Favorite Things".
Some other experiences included seeing the Shakespeare play Antony and Cleopatra performed in London in conjunction with the Shakespeare course she took on top of her documentary film and editing courses she enrolled into while at the University of Birmingham. Another lasting memory for Shanahan played into her daily routine on campus when she would take her journal to a place called "my clearing" which is tucked in the outskirts of the Vale Village surrounded by overhanging trees. It was a peaceful place to reflect on her time studying abroad.
WHY STUDY ABROAD? – (ENDICOTT STUDY ABROAD WEBSITE)
Following the College's philosophy to "learn by doing" through experiential learning, the study abroad program & its international internships prepare students at Endicott for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, and/or 3-to-15 week internships abroad, students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.
"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study or intern abroad.
Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy.
Making education abroad a part of their college education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand and enables them to recognize — and then dismiss — stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.
Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders."
(Photos Credit - Brenna Shanahan)