Students Study Abroad

UCM Goes International With Learning


Photo by Libb

Students who attended the 2022 study abroad tour in Spain tour the Cathedral of León. The cathedral is a historical structure in the heart of the city.

Written by Nadia Watkins, Staff Reporter

After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, in March 2022 the University of Central Missouri’s Study Abroad Program brought students out of the United States to Austria and the Czech Republic. This summer, students were able to learn new cultures, languages and experience new ways of learning by immersing themselves in another culture for a period of time through the study abroad program.

“It’s important for people to experience other cultures and customs, it makes the world a much smaller place and a better place for everyone,” Music and Spanish major Alia Peoples said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I am capable of more than I’ve ever thought possible.”

Students ventured to León, Spain where they took classes at the University of León. The trip consisted of 11 students and lasted for 25 days. During those days the students were not only educated based on their placement tests, but they were able to explore the surrounding cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

The program allowed the students to fully engage in the community and an atmosphere completely different from the one they might have in the States. Two university modern language professors chaperoned on this trip, one of which being program coordinator and Spanish Professor Julie Stephens DeJonge.

“I hope it broadens their perspectives and creates more empathy for people in general,” DeJonge said. “They made meaningful connections with other students, professors and their host family. I also think they become more confident in their ability to do wide range of things, beyond just becoming better at speaking and understanding Spanish.”

DeJonge said students were able to participate in many different activities that would help reshape their formal way of learning and living in the U.S.

A second study abroad program in July took students on a divided city trip where they went to Kansas City, Berlin, and Jerusalem. The group observed how past views of politics, religions and race continue to affect cities today.

Accompanying the students on this trip was German Professor Kristy Boney.

“Students come back with a different perspective of the world, having seen things and discussing things that transcend the traditional classroom,” Boney said. “For example, seeing Gustav Klimt’s famous kiss painting on a powerpoint slide or any numbers of posters, isn’t the same as seeing it hanging in a castle residence in the heart of Vienna or learning about the Berlin wall and persons fleeing oppression, isn’t the same until one actually descends into tunnels built under the streets of Berlin and walk paths and hear stories about actual individuals during the time.”