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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Halle Gerash

Lakewood, CO

Major in Gender and Women's Studies, Minor in Social Service

Halle travelled and studied in four different European countries during her four-month study abroad program.

Halle Gerash on the river near Old Town Square in Prague.

Describe your study abroad program.

I went on the Carleton-Antioch Comparative Women's and Gender Studies in Europe program. We studied in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland over the course of the fall semester. We had seminars about women's issues with our program director and lectures from experts and other people who lived and worked in these particular countries. We had a tour of each city we visited, and we had multiple site visits over the course of the program, including a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau. A major component of the trip was to develop and work on an independent research project, and while we were abroad, each of us conducted interviews for our research.

How did Knox prepare you for study abroad?

Knox inspired me to study abroad. Being at Knox allowed me to gain confidence in myself and allowed me to develop a passion for my classes. When I heard about this program, I immediately wanted to go because it worked perfectly as my Gender and Women's Studies major capstone project. Taking classes in Gender and Women's Studies, and learning how to navigate my way through my work and be independent were the most important ways in which Knox prepared me for study abroad.

How do you see your experience abroad having an impact on your future?

After I graduate from Knox, I want to go to graduate school to get a master's degree in social work, so I believe that having the experience of being abroad and having to navigate foreign spaces and customs while abroad will have the greatest impact on me moving forward. I am definitely happy I was able to go abroad, because I had insightful lectures and was able to learn material I would not be able to on campus. I got practice in researching, which will prove to be important for the rest of my time at Knox.

What was a highlight while your were abroad?

One of my favorite people we met and talked to was Jirina Siklova, who is hailed as the "Mother of Czech Feminism." We went over to her apartment, and she talked to us about her experience as a political dissident during the socialist era.

What surprised you about study abroad?

I was surprised about how much independence I had and how easy it was for me to adapt to a routine in each country. We were moving around a lot on my program, so there was not much time to get used to one place. I was surprised about how easy it was to navigate public transportation, especially in Berlin. I was expecting to have a hard time finding my way around, but it ended up being part of the adventure to be so independent and be riding public transportation.

Why do you think study abroad is so important?

It gets you out of your comfort zone and allows you to travel to places you might never get to go to otherwise. For me, study abroad gave me more confidence, and allowed me to gain new perspectives about what I learned in the classroom and about how I navigate my life back home in the United States.

Photo Above: Halle's first day in Prague, on the river near Old Town Square.

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Printed on Thursday, April 25, 2024