Alumni Spotlight: Maggie-Winchester

Maggie is originally from Vermont, and is now a senior at the University of New England, planning to graduate in May. She is majoring in Marine Science, and her interests lie in shark research.

Why did you pick this program?

Morocco Study Abroad

When I was initially looking for colleges, a study abroad program was very important to me. The University of New England offers 3 semester programs where all scholarships and financial aid transfer to the semester abroad, and the Spain program initially sparked my interest. After talking to different people and discussing with the director of the global education program, I decided Morocco was a better decision for me. Being a fairly shy person, the idea of living on a UNE campus was very appealing to me, and I knew I would be able to make a lot of friends.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

DO IT. There are so many reasons to go abroad... It's fun, you don't fall behind with your coursework, and you don't pay anything extra. You learn so much about the world and about yourself, and you make life long friends. Why wouldn't you?

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Get out and do things! One of the fallbacks of having a UNE campus is that students sometimes get too comfortable in their dorms. Just like in any new place, you won't have any fun if you don't get out, explore, make mistakes, get lost, and bond with your study abroad friends. If you have a few extra hours, go out and get some mint tea and people-watch. If you have a free afternoon, go explore the shopping center and see what new things you can find. This also combats homesickness!

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

I don't have a specific story, but my favorite thing to do in Morocco was people watch. I would go out with friends into the medina (shopping area) and get some mint tea or fresh squeezed juice, then sit for sometimes 4-5 hours and just chat and watch people. People in Morocco are extremely friendly, so many would come over and talk as well. It was a great way to take in the culture, while bonding with friends and getting a yummy snack.

How has studying abroad impacted you since you returned?

I feel like studying abroad is so important in that it breaks down stereotypes and allows you to see other countries through personal experience. I definitely feel more open and understanding of other cultures, which is especially important as the "hate-culture" seems to grow in different parts of the world.

In addition to opening my eyes to new cultures, studying abroad made me realize how much I love to travel! Since my semester abroad, I feel more comfortable in new places, and now have a job lined up for 6 months abroad.