My name is Angela Arnold and I am a junior International Business major here at Millikin. Due to the pandemic, I have spent this academic year at home taking virtual courses. This was the year that I was supposed to study abroad but Millikin sadly had to prohibit in-person travel. Still wanting to make the most out of my junior year, I enrolled myself as an exchange student at the Universidad de los Andes (UANDES) last semester, and this semester I have also signed up for classes with two other partner universities. In February, I will begin classes with Artevelde University of Applied Sciences in Ghent, Belgium and then in March classes will start at Universidad Finis Terrae (UFT) in Santiago, Chile.
I am truly looking forward to my virtual study abroad experience this semester. Last semester, I went in completely blind as I had no idea of what to expect. Things did not start out that well because three of my four classes were cancelled. My one remaining class, Latin American Business & Development, turned out to be one of the most pivotal classes of my higher education experience thus far. I have never had a teacher quite like Professor Nagel, and he made me realize the vast differences between higher education in America compared to the rest of the world. Something that I really valued and took away from the class was the attitude towards higher education and what it means to be a student. I am excited to compare these attitudes and values with my upcoming experience in the Belgian higher education system.
The first school that I will be attending is Artevelde University in Belgium. It is located in Ghent, which is the largest student city in all of Belgium. It is also one of the largest universities in Flanders, and the city plans to be carbon neutral by the year 2050. Originally, Artevelde was never on my list of possible study abroad universities because I was determined to study abroad in France since I am a French minor. But last semester I realized that none of our partner institutes in France were promoting a virtual exchange program, so I knew that I needed to look elsewhere. A representative from Artevelde came to a virtual study abroad panel last semester and I was very impressed by their program. I initiated contact several months later enquiring into the exchange process, and everything ended up working out perfectly! I will be taking People Management and European Business with them, and I’ve also joined in on the virtual meetings for the Artevelde International Club! I’m interested in seeing how this experience compares to the Chilean universities.
I’ve also enrolled at UFT in Chile, and I am interested to see the differences and similarities of their university compared to UANDES. UFT is a private religious university that has over 9,000 students. In terms of my courses, I am taking a Current Affairs course along with a Beginning Spanish language class. I’ve been trying to take a Spanish class for years now but it has never worked out in my schedule, and now I finally get to take one! Even though this semester definitely is not what I expected or hoped for, I am glad these universities are being so accommodating and considerate of international students who are not allowed to travel in-person for the semester. I am excited to see how this semester goes!