Being able to pinpoint how a study abroad experience impacted and enriched your life is important. Students who study abroad walk away from their international educational experiences having gained something different and unique – whether it’s a new outlook or opinion of the world or a powerful life lesson in independence or self-confidence. In this post, Chapman University students share how studying for a semester in a foreign country offered them a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for personal growth.

Hannah Malus (Class of 2016)
studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in the Spring of 2014.

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Hannah Malus in South Africa

“Studying abroad in South Africa while majoring in peace studies/political science and minoring in sociology helped take my studies to a new level of understanding and practice. It is one thing to read about historic political and social conflicts (like Apartheid South Africa) – it is an entirely different thing to visit the area of a current or past conflict and actually observe daily life and talk to people who have experienced and survived incredible hardships in the past. I was fortunate to be in Cape Town at the time of a major national election, and I found that many South Africans passionately held diverse opinions as to how their newly democratized countries should be shaped. It was exciting to experience such an important event in another nation’s history.”

“Studying abroad made me more adventurous and independent. Knowing that I would only be Cape Town
for a limited amount of time, I challenged myself to try as many new things as possible. Whether it was visiting local markets, going on hikes, taking the train to one of South Africa’s beautiful beaches, trying various local cuisines, or visiting art galleries and music festivals, I could always find something new to do! I’ve tried to take this sense of adventure-seeking back with me to California, and I think my experience abroad has made me more appreciative of the opportunities I can find at home as well.”

Ari Berman (Class of 2016)
toured throughout Italy in the Spring of 2014.


Ari Berman in Italy

“I’m happy I studied abroad because I learned a lot about myself, both as an individual and as someone that is part of a small group of like-minded and worldly people. I was lucky enough to choose a program where I was completely out of my comfort zone, in terms of not knowing anyone, and I was able to pick and choose what kind of friends, experiences, and lifelong memories I wanted. I was able to be both selfish and selfless by learning about other people that I would have never known otherwise and by teaching them about myself, California, and my love for traveling. It was the perfect amount of time to leave this little comfortable Chapman bubble we have here. I explored on my own, traveled to places I’d never even heard of, and was able to truly give the experience my all. I love Chapman and I feel so lucky that I attend school here, but it was nice to get out for a little while and see what the rest of the world has to offer for someone like me.”

“I really grew up and had to take care of myself, without parents or close friends watching my every move. When I wanted to book a trip and travel, I booked it. When I wanted to go into random museums and take selfies with all of the statues, I went. It was completely liberating and made me realize how much I could rely solely on myself, if I was ever in a situation like that again. I truly loved the independence and life skills I gained from my semester abroad.”



For more information on study abroad programs, please contact the
Center for Global Education
 or 714-997-6830.