International Connections

Morgan Kirby

; Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

Year: Sophomore
Hometown, State: Ottumwa, IA

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Field Study
Experience: Exploring Craftsmanship and Hospitality in Western Europe
Experience website:
Destination: Germany

Overall experience..
We traveled to Frankfurt Germany, Paris, France, Bruges, Belgium, and Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was so cool to be able to visit that many places in such a short amount of time, and it honestly is the experience of a lifetime!

I learned...
I was emailed information about the trip from my college.

An impact to my life...
I have found out that Paris is my absolute favorite city I have visited so far. The workshops we did while abroad (lacemaking, dyeing, and felting) were really eye opening and gave me an appreciation for the crafts. Simply being abroad and learning about everything will help me in my career.

My most valuable learning experience...
Again, the workshops were my favorite educational aspect of the trip. We did lacemaking, indigo dyeing, and needle felting. Doing things by hand is challenging and rewarding, and it gave me a new appreciation for the professionals that do these crafts by hand on the daily.

I will never forget...
Honestly, the most memorable experience from my time abroad was the people. I was not expecting to make such close friendships in such a short amount of time.

A surprising discovery...
I didn't expect that English was so commonly spoken around Europe. I always knew it was rare to go somewhere and find absolutely nobody that can speak English, but I expected it to be much harder to seek those people out. Almost all of the locals I encountered spoke at least the basics of the language. In my profession and throughout life, it will make me less afraid of language barriers. This is not an excuse to not learn foreign languages because it is an awesome skill and respectful to the culture, but it is comforting to know that I generally have English to fall back on.

Advice for others...
If you're considering going on this trip at all, just do it! I promise you will not regret your decision.

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