Wandering the country side with her camera in hand, Junior Hannah Reysen discovers beautiful places. But, what is more significant might be what she discovers inside during her study abroad semester in Italy.
Reysen, a business management and marketing major from Adell, Wis., grew up listening to her mother's stories about a trip to Brazil she took as a high school student. Those stories fostered an interest in Reysen that could not be quelled. There were moments of doubt over the years, but in the end, a few visits with Rae French, learning abroad coordinator, sealed the deal and opened up the possibilities.
Where she would travel was not really clear to Reysen until one night after looking at a variety of places she could go, it became clear to her that her destination would be Florence. "Rae re-inspired my desire to travel, and Florence spoke to my heart," Reysen says.
Her trip was filled with history, culture, art, and the Italian people. "I think I was meant to go there," Reysen smiles. "I grew very close to some of the people I met, and I am even planning to go back over spring break to see them. They have become very near and dear to me.
"You hear that trips like this can be life changing, but I didn't really believe it," she continues. "But, my life has been forever changed by my semester abroad."
She traveled during her stay, but remained in Italy exploring Rome, Cinque Terre, Siena, the Chanti region, and more. She was awed by the Vatican, and found herself putting her camera away and soaking up the experience. When time allowed, Reysen would wander with her camera. "I would walk the streets and country side and found myself enjoying the time alone," she reflects. "I feel like I know myself better and my travel abroad enriched this opportunity I had to discover who I am!"
Reysen took classes in Italian, three in business, and a class on digital photography. Her
goals in life have always included making a difference. "I hope to someday work for a non-profit and give back," she explains. "I want to do something to bring out the best in people and inspire others to grow."
She is not sure how it will all play out exactly. For now, Reysen is back on campus, but she believes her study abroad experience has changed how she views everything.
"The world has opened up to me, and I want to share what I have learned with others," she says. "If you have a chance to study abroad, take it. You won't believe it, but it's truly a life changer!"
Contact: Rae French, coordinator, study abroad, 218-281-8339 (firstname.lastname@example.org); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (email@example.com)