University of Wisconsin–Madison

Melanie Rogers

“Study abroad has allowed me to broaden my perspective.”

Program: UW Conflict and Culture, Summer

Student’s Majors: Computer Engineering, Computer Science

Melanie at Plitvice Lakes National Park, where there are stunning waterfalls.

Academic Life: Our professor, UW’s Toma Longinovic, wanted to provide an immersive experience into the culture, so coursework was very manageable. A good portion of the course involved field trips to surrounding towns where we talked with local business owners and actually saw the influences of the history we were learning about. My most memorable moments came out of this. We met local restaurant owners, painters, a beekeeper, wine and oil makers, other travelers, and many others who talked about their heritage, lives, and interests.

Benefits of Study Abroad: As a STEM major, I don’t have the capacity in my curriculum to take many history and anthropology courses, so this study abroad program allowed me to add a more unique experience than I’ve seen in my courses so far.

Housing: We lived in an apartment building in the residential area of Rovinj, which felt more immerse than if we lived in the Old Town/tourist area.

New Perspectives: It seemed that people lived much more slowly in Croatia. There was no such thing as a coffee to go. For example, on our excursion to Plitvice Lakes, a beautiful waterfall park, we took three breaks that were at least a half hour each for coffee, food and rest. In America, I would imagine buses getting to the park as fast as possible with only a few 10-minute stops where you grab a cup of coffee for the ride.

Finding Comforts: I especially noticed how quickly we all settled into a routine. I could find my way around without a map, found my favorite snacks at the convenient store, and began to recognize some of the local people. Someday I hope to return and share my experiences with my friends and family.