Students share experiences in adjusting from studying abroad


Study abroad students visit places steeped in history and tradition. Photo courtesy of


By JoJo Young
Contributing Writer

Studying abroad is a special opportunity that is available to Sewanee students, but the thought of being away from our Mountain for an entire semester could have both negative and positive aspects. Since Sewanee has such a strong sense of community, the transition back to the Domain after being abroad has its challenges.  

Luna Goodale (C’19) finds the transition “pretty easy, and honestly, I haven’t had a lot of trouble getting back into the swing of things here. It doesn’t really feel like I left. When I was abroad, we were traveling so much, and you get really tired.”

When someone is away for a semester, they inevitably miss out on classic traditions, whether it’s hitting the roof of your car as you pass through the Gates, or Shake Day, there’s bound to be something about Sewanee that you miss while abroad.

Anne Shea (C’19) spent her time abroad on the European Studies trip. She explains, “I actually missed Clurg the most. I spent so much money on food.”

Many found it strange to be unfamiliar with an entire class of students. Fortunately for Shea, going abroad gave her “more confidence to talk to new people. It’s what abroad is supposed to do. My trip was a program between Rhodes and Sewanee, so we did meet a lot of new people. I’m excited to get to know some freshmen; it is overwhelming, but in a good way.”

Both Shea and Goodale agreed that one of the best parts of going abroad was the change in culture. “Sevia was amazing. The lifestyle there is so different. They work to live. They just want to be spending time with their families and friends,” says Goodale. “There are live performances all the time. Every day I would pass a bass string quartet, other days you could find a break-dancing group or some flamenco dancers. It was crazy.”

Living in a new country for a while can be difficult. “Sewanee is so opposite from traveling because the Mountain is so comfortable and homey. I missed the Sewanee family. Before I went on the trip, I had this vision of myself wandering the streets alone,” Shea reflected.

She added, “You get a bit too comfortable with your group in a sense, where you don’t really want to be alone. And at the end of the day you’re so tired from touring museums that you want to just lay down. But you feel guilty and don’t want to do that.”

Studying abroad is highly recommended by both Shea and Goodale. They stress that the transition from Sewanee to these different countries is manageable while still pushing some comfort levels.