SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Bali, Indonesia

By Sarah Woodruff

Last summer (2013) I decided to do something out of my comfort zone and out of the United States. I went and studied in Bali, Indonesia for three weeks with 12 other students. I had an experience of a lifetime and ended up catching the travel bug, which ended in me to wanting to study abroad again. So this summer (2014) I studied abroad again, but this time in South Africa. I received 6 credit hours in just four weeks while having the time of my life.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.09.59 PMThe trip started out with two 12-hour flights, a 12-hour layover in London, and at least 6 movies; however, once we reached Durban, South Africa the only thing on my mind was to get out and explore. We spent the first three weeks of the trip exploring Durban, going on a Safari, and meeting friends…all of course while still studying for class. ☺ One of the classes was a musical theatre course. We spent three weeks in SA working with world-renowned director and dancer, Roger Riggle, and SMU professor Barbara Hill-Moore, to join forces with the students from the University of Kwazulu-Natal to produce CAROUSEL. It was really neat to have both students from SMU and students from UKZN joining together to produce a musical. In addition to the musical theatre course, all of the SMU students also took a Women & Minorities in the media course with Professor Karen Thomas.  It was really neat to compare how different minorities are portrayed in the media in the US versus in South Africa. We also had a day where we studied Beyoncé and feminism, which was really neat because a lot of the UKZN students were fascinated with Beyoncé. I was even able to pick up on a few important phrases in Xhosa and Afrikaans from the UKZN students!

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.09.44 PMSome major highlights from our first few weeks in Durban:

  1. Coming within a few feet of at least 15 elephants
  2. Losing hope that I wouldn’t see a zebra on the safari and then turning a corner and seeing 5 cross the road in front of our jeep
  3. Having a monkey trying and take my banana at lunch
  4. Riding to the top of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium

After three weeks of studying and working hard, while still having a ton of fun and going on a Safari, we flew to Cape Town for a week of relaxation. In Cape Town we got to do normal touristy things like learn about Nelson Mandela, visit District Six and Robben Island, and ride to the top of Table Mountain. Our four short weeks came to a close and we spent another 36 hours of flying back to the USA, but it was all worth it. I will always have the wonderful memories and friends that I made in SA and am really looking forward to the day that I can go back and visit!

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: The Oxford Experience

By Caroline Gurley

This past summer I had the opportunity to study abroad in Oxford, England.  This was one of my greatest memories of college thus far.  I studied in Oxford with around eighty other SMU students and we had a fantastic time.  I took two classes completely outside of my major while I was there.  I am an Electrical Engineer and I took two classes that focused on antiquity.  I know more about Greek and Roman culture than I ever thought I would!  An SMU professor taught one of these classes while an Oxford tutor taught the other.  This allowed all of the students to see the difference between higher education in England and higher education in the U.S. carolinePersonally, I had a great experience with both professors, but I developed a relationship with my SMU professor that I hope will continue throughout my time at SMU.

(Picture of Caroline taken at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom)

Of course I learned an enormous amount academically, but I learned even more about myself.  I found a new confidence in myself that I never would have gotten in the U.S.  After my luggage got lost and credit card got compromised, I thought I was going to get on the next plane to the U.S.  I stuck it out, handling both problems with limited communication with my parents, and learned that I can handle a lot more than I thought.

Studying abroad was the best decision that I have made at SMU.  I learned just as much about myself as I did about the subjects that I was studying and the culture I was absorbing.

SMU Abroad

Pick a County…Any Country!

p1  By Taylor Corrigan

Studying abroad was always part of my college plans, but once I became a mustang, there was no way I could fathom leaving this amazing school for a whole semester! So instead, I found a way to do both and I studied abroad in the summer. I am a junior this year, and I have already studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy and in London, England! Not only did I get take classes in other countries, but I got to see the most amazing things, travel, make the best memories, and meet tons of wonderful people.

The summer after my first year at SMU I went on the SMU Italy Arts and Culture program where I took a drawing class and an art history class. My drawing class was outside everyday and for most of our art history classes we took field trips to see the p2different things we were learning about! We took field trips to see the David, the Colosseum, we took a gondola ride, saw ancient ruins, had our own private tour in the Sistine Chapel, and that’s just to name a couple. In addition to all of the wonderful things I experienced during our class time, we also traveled on the weekends and did all kinds of exploring in the afternoons. Some of my favorite things we did were taking a cooking class, swimming in the Mediterranean, and roaming the streets of Venice.

After having the most amazing experience in Italy, I decided I wanted to travel again last summer and this time I chose to go to London through the Cox Business School for a business internship program. I took a month of class learning about business and the economy of London, and the second month I worked as an intern at Modus, a fashion and beauty PR firm in the heart of London. As a marketing major, this opportunity to study and work abroad was perfect because Ip5 was able to take classes towards my business degree, as well as work in the fashion industry and see what marketing and public relations is all about! Just like in Italy, I had the opportunity to travel and went to Dublin, Paris, and to different parts of England. I went to a soccer game, the Royal Regatta, I had high tea in a fancy hotel, saw the Queen’s birthday parade, and did so much more! The timing for us to be there was so much fun because not only was every one so excited for the birth of the royal baby, but Wimbledon was also going on. Getting to spend two months in London this past year might have made it my best summer yet!

Studying abroad has given me the opportunity to learn and see so many new things, and I have come away both times with the best memories and it has broadened my horizons in so many ways. No matter what your major or your schedule is, studying abroad for a summer or a semester is a must at SMU—just pick a country!

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: South Africa

By Shannon Conboy

If there is one thing I could recommend that you absolutely must do in your four years here at SMU, it is to study abroad. This summer, I had the opportunity to be able to spend the month of June in South Africa with a group of eleven awesome SMU students, and I can easily say it has been one of my most rewarding experiences so far.


Not only was I learning all about the rich history and culture of South Africa from the SMU Professor on the trip, but I was also completely submerged in it. The local students I was surrounded with could verify what I was learning about their culture and history and it was incredible to be able to talk to them about their experiences and to hear their stories. On the last day of our SMU course, our Professor even invited the South African students to come join in our class, and there was quite some interesting discussions having all these different perspectives present to share.

This program was ideal for me as a vocal major, because it offered the chance to perform the musical South Pacific right there in the country, allowing for collaboration between the students from


SMU and the students of the University of KwaZulu- Natal. Aside from exploring the country, going on a safari, and even visiting a wonder of the world in Cape Town, I spent a great deal of time in a South African opera school, giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity and different perspective on a world in which I am pursuing a career.

While the experience of the land and culture as a whole is one I will never be able to forget, I must say that even more valuable to me are the relationships I formed with the students there as well as with my fellow SMU colleagues. I left inspired by the people I met and with a newfound love for music and all it means. I became close with the SMU students I shared the experience with and now, being back to school for the first week, I love seeing all of them as I walk around campus. In fact, we’re already planning a reunion so that we can remember and reminisce on the great experience we shared this summer through the SMU study abroad program.

SMU Abroad

Bonjour from Paris

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 2.54.59 PMBy Melody Davis

Who wouldn’t want to study under the Eiffel Tower every night? Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that way, but it was pretty close. This summer I was lucky enough to study for 5 weeks in Paris. Granted, my two SMU classes were still challenging, but what a beautiful city to embrace for the journey. And taking notes is so much better on a field trip. My favorite field trip on the program was our class study at Château de Chenonceau (pictured below). We took a trip outside of Paris to the Loire Valley and tied in the studies of multiple French chateaus into our coursework on French history. The view alone was absolutely stunning!

SMU has just about anything and everything you are looking for when it comes to abroad programs, as this was my second summer experience abroad! For all of you in the incoming class, your turn to possibly study abroad is just around the corner. I hope that you will be able to experience an incredible adventure abroad as well!

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: The Oxford Experience

By Katelyn Hall

Cheerio from Oxford! This summer I am studying abroad at SMU-in-Oxford! I’ve spent five weeks here in beautiful England, and I am sad to be going home in only a few days. While here, I took two political science classes– one about European diplomacy and the other about great empires. Both classes were really interesting because they were taught from the European perspective. My favorite part about the Oxford program is the High Table lecture series. Once a week, an expert comes in to give a talk on something pertaining to England or our experience. Last week, an Oxford professor gave a lecture on Margaret Thatcher. After we stimulate our minds a bit, we sit down to a feast in the Great Hall, which looks like the dining hall in Harry Potter. Speaking of Harry Potter, we got to meet the actor who plays Ron Weasley at a classical concert last weekend! So Oxford really is Hogwarts.

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Working in London

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 8.28.28 AMBy Adam Melson

I just touched down in Texas after a breathtaking two months studying abroad in London, England. Through SMU’s abroad office, thirty students and myself, lived studied and interned for a range of business institutions in the United Kingdom. Looking back on those two months I can undoubtedly say they were the best two months of my life. After classes, friends and I would spend our afternoons touring the Tower of London, enjoying High Tea, or watching English soccer at Wembley Stadium. The weekends free gave us time to travel across Europe. My favorite trip from London was to Dublin, Ireland for a weekend, and other students went to destinations such as Barcelona or Paris!

During the internship time, I got to experience my first Accounting internship and actually played a crucial role in the company. We all worked Monday through Friday and gained the feel for life after graduation which was exciting! The times I had in London actually got me excited to go back to school in August and gave me a chance to look past American culture in order to enjoy what European culture had to offer.

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Embracing London

Blog 1 photoBy Carissa Laughlin

This summer has been absolutely incredible! All thanks to SMU Abroad combined with the Cox School of Business, I have had the opportunity to live, study, and work abroad this summer in London, England. The first four weeks, I spent taking a class about British culture, government, politics, sports, and anything else you can imagine. It was a huge eye opener about not only the differences, but also the similarities between England and America. The second four weeks consisted of an internship at Modus Publicity, a fashion public relations firm in the heart of London. I had an irreplaceable experience where I not only developed my business and leadership skills, but had the chance to meet other interns from around the world. My friends at Modus were from South Africa, Germany, Holland, and Scotland, in addition to England. It was amazing to get to hear about their life experiences, and very funny to receive stereotypical American questions. In addition to school and work, I had the opportunity to travel a bit. I traveled to Dublin and Paris in addition to more local trips to Brighton and Oxford. It was very sad to come home, but I am overwhelmingly excited to start my third year at SMU. I cannot believe how the first two years have flown by, but am even more excited to see what is ahead!

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Murray at Wimbledon


Ky Kelsey Buttrell

I just recently returned to the beautiful U.S.A. from my trip with the SMU-in-London program! On this trip, I visited Scotland, Paris, Whales, Salisbury, and more! I took two college classes that expanded my knowledge and experience immensely while also becoming a world traveler! One of the best experiences, while I was there was going to Wimbledon! I have been a tennis nut since I was born, and my dream came true when I got to see a match from centre court! While I was there I saw four matches, which included the winning Andy Murray! An experience of a lifetime to say the least! I am so grateful for the memories and experiences that this abroad program gave me! Forever grateful! Now, I am just working and getting everything ready for next semester! Can’t wait to see you guys on campus! Best of Luck, and Pony UP!

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Greetings from London!

By Laura Spitler

One of the absolute best things you can do during your four years of college is study abroad.  SMU offers a plethora of abroad options from four weeks to a whole year, from Bali to Copenhagen – no matter what your major is there is a program for you. As a marketing major, the right program for me was SMU’s London Business Internship – it runs eight weeks and combines a class with an internship abroad, earning 6 credits.

London SMU blogFor someone who had never been to Europe before, living in London has been such an exciting and eye-opening opportunity. There are 90 of us from various colleges in the States that took a class on “How Britain Works,” taught by three professors from Oxford and Cambridge. Our class covered politics, economics, and social policies, meeting three hours a day for a month. This structure left us plenty of time to explore our new home!

(pictured: SMU Ambassadors Laura Spitler [far left] and Ryan Herrscher [far right] along with other SMU students studying and working in London)

I’ve seen the changing of the guards at the Palace, ridden the London Eye, and even attended worship service in Westminster Abbey. Beyond the touristy things, I have been shopping for my own food at the grocery store, learning the lingo (a “savory biscuit” is really just a cracker), reading in Hyde Park (just a short walk from our residence), and riding the tube like a pro (and by that I mean not making eye contact and remaining silent).

I am so thankful for the invaluable opportunity to intern abroad after only two years of college.  I have been placed with a small, but successful, company in the global travel industry. One of the perks of working for a company this size is that I am almost playing the role of Marketing Director for them. In just my first week I have already made lasting contributions to their company.

A huge advantage of living in London is the ease of travel to other European countries.  Just last weekend I was in Zurich, Switzerland and Milan, Italy!

Living and working in England and travel around Europe has shifted the way I see other countries; I used to view them as utterly foreign, but now all I see is the common humanity.

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Learning in London

By Claire Piepenburg

Studying abroad is one of the best experiences I’ve had as a student at SMU.  I spent the fall semester of my junior year attending King’s College, an academically notable university located right in the heart of London. I had a wonderful time, met some new friends and visited some amazing places. My faculty advisor and the staff in the SMU Study Abroad office helped me design my own program at a partner school, King’s, and worked with me to make sure all the credits would transfer for my History and Anthropology majors. I took phenomenal classes on ancient Greece, the life and times of Augustus Caesar, and early European history.  I lived in a flat with five other UK students who showed me where the best place to buy groceries was, how to figure out my bus routes and when to avoid the Tube. They came from different places across the country and shared with me their traditions, phrases, food, politics and culture. And in return, I did the same.

  In my spare time, I explored London and its wealth of museums and sights – from the world famous British Museum to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery and more – you could spend years sightseeing in the city alone! I also had the opportunity to travel with other students studying abroad from various U.S. colleges, which was a fun way to meet American students. I made some great friends that I still keep in contact with now, a year later. We traveled to Paris, Dover, Kent, Bath, Oxford and several other UK sites and did everything from sightseeing tours to hiking, canoeing, beer tasting and yes, shopping!

Even though I missed a lot of things about SMU while I was away – the friendly community, the beautiful tree-lined campus and of course, Mustang football – I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to travel abroad. Whenever anyone asks me about my experience, the first thing I do is recommend that they travel abroad – whether for the summer, a semester or a whole year. It’s a wonderful learning experience. Even now, it’s hard to fully imagine all of the history, culture and beauty that exists in virtually every single corner in Europe. Be careful – if you spend time abroad, you will want to go back!

SMU Abroad

SMU Abroad: Europe as a Classroom

By Liz O’Neill

I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad for the fall semester of my junior year at SMU in Copenhagen, Denmark with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.  Studying abroad was probably my most amazing experience at SMU thus far.  I learned so much about myself while living abroad, it was a completely new and different experience.  SMU has so many amazing options for studying abroad, and students can build their own program to fit their degree needs.  I chose to study in Copenhagen because DIS offers science classes, which are difficult to find in study abroad programs, especially for chemistry majors like me.  I traveled with my classes all over Denmark and Europe, and I really used Europe as my classroom.  I studied the various health care systems in Denmark, Austria, and Hungary, and I learned so much about European health care and hospital systems in both Western Europe and post-Communism central/eastern Europe while in Hungary.  Going abroad facilitated my wanting to attend medical school, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having gone abroad, and SMU’s amazing study abroad advisors made that dream come true!