Living in Europe as a UWL student


Image provided by Casey Christ.

Jenasea Hameister, General Assignment Reporter

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students Casey Christ and Brieanna Heard spoke about their study-abroad experiences. Casey Christ studied abroad in Paris, France, and Brieanna Heard studied abroad in Milan, Italy. Both students said that UWL was helpful during their process of studying abroad.

Christ said that she found out about the study abroad program in her junior year in one of her communications (CST) classes. She continued to say that UWL was offering a faculty-led month-long program in Paris, France and that she had to apply for the experience. This initial program was canceled due to low enrollment. Christ said that because of this she looked for other programs and found a similar one in Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA). Christ said that she has always wanted to study abroad but needed to find a program that fit her specific needs and wants since she is in the Army National Guard and has very strict obligations.

Heard said that she found out about studying abroad through her cousin who studied abroad a few years ago. The conversation with her cousin sparked her interest, so she immediately began looking at UWL’s study-abroad programs. Heard continued to say that she wanted to study abroad to experience new cultures and become more independent. It has also been a dream of hers to travel the world, so studying abroad was an easy catalyst for achieving that goal. Of the four months Heard was in Italy, she traveled to 11 different countries.

Christ’s experience at her university in Paris, France was “really, really good.” She continued to say, “I had really cool professors who took us all around the city during class time and I learned a lot about French culture and history. The classrooms were located in the heart of Paris which made commuting to class every day really fun.” Christ said that the best part of her study abroad experience was living in the heart of Paris which to her knowledge, is not common. Additionally, she said she met lifelong friends and made irreplaceable memories.

Heard attended the University of Cattolica and said that “the campus was beautiful, and all of the professors were very welcoming and helped me navigate through the changes of living in a new country.” She continued by saying that the best part of her study abroad experience was “meeting a bunch of people from other countries. A cool part of Cattolica’s classes is that there are people from all over the world. So, I met people from the Netherlands, Japan, France, and Italy.” Heard also said that the university provided her with a buddy who is a local student at Cattolica. Her buddy, Giada, was “one of the nicest people [she has] ever met. [Giada] made [her] experience so great.”

Christ said the hardest part about studying abroad in Paris was the language barrier. She said that prior to studying in Paris that she knew no French, other than what she learned on Duolingo. Christ continued to say, “I wanted to really immerse myself and not force people to speak my language in their own country.” For Heard, the hardest part of studying abroad in Milan, Italy was becoming homesick. She said that she experienced this feeling about halfway through her study abroad experience. She continued to say, “What made it even harder was the fact that there was a seven-hour time change. So, this made it way more difficult to communicate with everyone back home.”

While managing school, a social life, and travel, Christ said that it was overall manageable and that her priority while in Paris was her experience. She said, “I would get up early, get a coffee and a pastry, jump on the metro to class, and then meet my friends for lunch after class, explore, get dinner, finish homework then go to sleep. We used the weekends to travel the rest of France and surrounding countries!”

Both Christ and Heard recommend studying abroad to their peers. Heard said, “It is such an amazing experience because you get to meet so many new people, see many parts of Europe, and take new types of classes. Studying abroad made me realize how truly beautiful the world really is, and how much I can’t wait to see even more of it.” Christ said, “The experience is so priceless, and it changed my life in so many ways.” She continued by saying, “There’s nothing like being able to explore a new country through your own lens especially while learning and making friends.”

Other articles on the study abroad experience:
Viewpoint: Studying Abroad is a Meaningful College Experience
Traveling Abroad in College

To learn more about the study abroad program at UWL visit: