By Melanie Morgan
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Skis strapped in. The chairlift is pulling your body up to the top. The fluffy virgin snow holds no touch in the early morning. Gliding smoothly off the lifted seat, you see the hill at hand. Cool air glides across your face, turning your cheeks red. You can't wait for the warm cocoa waiting at the lodge. Gripping your ski poles, you set yourself in the right position. Seeming like all time was frozen, your hot breath lingers out of your mouth. You push from the ground and your heart jumps with anticipation as the skis bring you down the winter snow top. Adrenaline courses through your veins and a smile never leaves your face.
This is how Ashley Fox, a 2018 graduate of Niagara University's College of Tourism Management, feels when hitting the slopes for the first time. She started skiing at the age of 5 and tries to find a new mountain to ski at every year.
"One of my dreams was to ski in the Swiss Alps. I never thought achieving this dream would become a reality and especially at such a young age. There's something about a snowy ski town and staying in a cozy hostel that made me feel like I was at home."
Fox took the opportunity to study abroad in her senior year and final semester at Niagara University. She studied from January to May 2018, moving from Paris to Rome then to Ireland in the span of 4 months, with 6 weeks in each location.
Fox explains why she wanted to study abroad in the first place. "In the classroom, we learned a lot about how there are so many different countries and cultures in the world. Being able to experience them was something that really interested me, which is why I wanted to study abroad so bad.
"One main reason many choose to study abroad it to get a chance to see the world in a whole new light, which is exactly what Kyra Hendricks said in her article "7 Decisive Reasons to Study Abroad- Why You Won't Regret It" Read it HERE
However, Fox didn't just study abroad to explore her passion, she also went to fulfill a childhood dream and she didn't do it alone.
Lydia Mack and Melissa Morgan were witnesses to this dream coming true. Mack is a 2018 graduate of Niagara University's College of Tourism Destination Management, while Morgan will be a 2019 graduate of Niagara University's College of Tourism and Event Planning Management.
Pictured, from left: Ashley Fox, Lydia Mack and Melissa Morgan at The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.(©Photo by Ashley Fox, used with permission)
Switzerland didn't just hold an importance to Fox, but for Mack, as well.
"I wanted to become more self-aware and more confident in myself, which I can say I now am thank to my travels." Mack explains how her pushed her boundaries and tried something she'd never done before.
Goal-chasers and dream-catchers seem to jump straight for an opportunity to study abroad when the get the first chance at it.
"It has always been a goal to study abroad," says Amanda Cullinan-Spinelli, a senior in Niagara University's College of Tourism Management-Event Meeting Management who studied abroad her sophomore year in 2017.
Cullinan-Spinelli chose to study abroad in Europe. She and two other girls traveled to Rome, Seville, and Paris for 6 weeks. It has always been a goal to study abroad for her since her older siblings did it as well, intriguing her from their great experiences. Choosing to also study during the months of January to May, Cullinan-Spinelli made it her goal to set out on her own venture. "My favorite thing was going on a trip by myself. I went to Austria all alone without any plans except for my transportation to Austria and back.
Amanda Cullian-Spinelli in Salzburg, Austria, with the view of the Alps Mountains. (©Photo by Amanda Cullian-Spinelli, used with permission)
"I did have post abroad depression for at least two months when I got back," Cullinan-Spinelli admitted. "So, for anyone who is looking to study abroad, it is the best experience of your life. Also, hide money in a variety of places, purchase a travel wallet, and keep a journal and write down everything you did while you study abroad. Also never keep anything in your pockets ... gypsies are real!"
Along with Cullinan-Spinelli, the other girls agree that "just going for it" is the best plan you could ever have. Planning ahead is never a bad idea since you never know what to expect. Everything will just fell into place for these four girls. They did their research and had common sense about their journey's ahead.
"However, nothing will prepare you for the sites you will see. No pictures you look at or blogs you watch. The memories you make, the experiences you have, will stay with you forever." Fox concluded. Choosing to study abroad can be one of the most enriching, fulfilling, interesting and academically inspiring experiences of your entire life.
If you are interested in studying abroad, connect with your universities or college's international studies today. At Niagara University, there are many programs offered to students that are beneficial to all, regardless of your academic major.
"Studying abroad is not just for the rich or privileged, it is not just for those fluent in a foreign language, it is not simply a vacation. The Study Abroad program is for everyone who wants to grow personally, understand academic topics from an international perspective and prepare themselves for a meaningful career." Niagara University states on their website.
Many programs are held in both the spring and fall semesters, and also programs in the summer. If you have an idea of where you want to study abroad, whether it's in Australia or Ireland or anywhere for that matter, start looking at your opportunities in those locations today. Always plan ahead in case of a sudden change or your program isn't held when you would prefer it.
Niagara Frontier Publications works with the Niagara University Communication Studies Department to publish the capstone work of students in CMS 120A-B.
These articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of NFP, NU or the communication studies department.
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