I found my first study abroad opportunity by searching the web for a semester-long study abroad program. Since Towson University and the University of Baltimore had a partnership at the time, it was easy to transition to the Towson study abroad program. After some paperwork, I was ready to go to Aix-en-Provence, France.
I spent five days a week in classes. The typical school day started around 9 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m., with an hour-long lunch around noon. I had two week-long breaks and some days off in between.
As jurisprudence major at the time of the trip, all my classes were right in line with my major: A dose of art history, a dash of history with a class about the political effects of the Cold War, and a class about the history and political effects of places trading in Middle Eastern countries, with an added side of French language.
The biggest lesson I learned in Aix-en-Provence was that communication is paramount. Shying away from a conversation for lack of knowledge or lack of French language skills meant losing the opportunity to learn something new and make good friends.
The subsequent study abroad programs in Aberdeen, Scotland (summer 2017) and Willemstad, Curaçao (winter 2018), were advertised at the University of Baltimore School of law on posters and via the University of Baltimore website. After going to the information sessions, I knew I wanted to go on these trips as well.
While I was in Aberdeen, I took two comparatives law classes: Comparative Health Law and Comparative Criminal Law. The trip to the island of Willemstad, Curaçao, lasted for three weeks, and was a fast-paced crash course in two courses: Compared Sales Law and Transnational Crimes.
In Scotland, I learned that a different viewpoint doesn't mean a wrong viewpoint. What works for one place doesn't necessarily mean it will work for another. Everyone has something to learn from each other. In Curaçao I learned that not packing enough preventative medications and vitamins can be disastrous. Staying healthy while traveling is the key to an enjoyable traveling experience.
My favorite memories from each trip have to do with nature and exploring. From my trip to Rome, to exploring castles in Scotland to riding ATVs in Curaçao, I was able to do things I never thought I would do and literally go to heights I never thought I could climb. With each trip I found that international relations shape how we live and what resources we are able to receive.
McClelland is a third-year student at the University of Baltimore School of Law.