By Katy TerBerg
If you had the chance, would you rather travel abroad in France, Italy or Switzerland? What about Spain—or England? Thanks to the 2009 Grand Tour of Europe, a WMU study abroad program, making that choice was a cinch.
Ashley Fitzgerald, CAS alum (B.A. Public Relations ’10), and past participant in the program, is enthusiastic about the opportunities available for students to study abroad.
“I took part in the Grand Tour of Europe a couple of summers ago and it was the most amazing, beneficial thing I’ve ever done for myself,” said Fitzgerald.
“I was able to see the world and learn about various cultures all at the same time,” said Fitzgerald. The pace of the trip may be quick, but students are able to experience many sides of Europe.”
Fitzgerald is currently the communications/web coordinator for Career and Student Employment Services at WMU. Previously, Fitzgerald served as an intern for the Comstock Community Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kalamazoo, and WMU’s Parent and Family Programs Department.
To date there are 25 summer semester, short-term, study abroad programs offered through Western Michigan University’s Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Fitzgerald, who graduated from WMU in 2010 with dual degrees in public relations and fashion merchandising, had a taste for cultural communication as well as the high fashions of the European scene. From Hoorn, Amsterdam and Paris to Rome and Vienna, the trip offered a real taste of European art and culture.
Fitzgerald is passionate about utilizing creativity, closing communication gaps, and building relationships. The study abroad program has enabled her to do just that, she said. By becoming exposed to several different countries, Fitzgerald was able to observe the differing styles but common links of communication.
On the whole, Fitzgerald lauds the experience as rewarding and life-changing. “Participating in any study abroad is definitely recommended!” she said.