Study Abroad Alumni Interview: Cassandra Harmon

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Cassandra Harmon, Psychology, '19

Central Europe: Themes of Psychology in Culture, Heroes, and Food

Summer 2018

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience? 

I think one of the highlights was the Taste of Prague Food Tour! It was really interesting to try different traditional foods from Prague, and to relate them back to food from WWII. My favorite food was the Goulash! 

Share a completely unexpected experience you had while abroad. What did you learn from it? 

When I went abroad, I had intentions to make close relationships with my peers in my cohort. However, I did not expect to also become friends with other people outside of our program! Staying in a hostel is a really cool experience. We met people from all over the world, even some from California. I managed to stay in contact with all of them, even though we're now back in the states. It's always fun to text back and forth with them to see what they're up to. 

Describe the food! What did you survive on? 

Describing the food from Europe is really hard, because it actually is out of this world. Back here in the states, I'm very picky about food. I avoid eating beef and pork, dairy products, and stay away from different kinds of vegetables. But the food in Europe is so fresh, and has such high quality that I was actually able to eat literally everything without having an upset stomach. Something I think I survived off of was definitely their coffee (it's really light and refreshing in Europe!) and anything that had cheese in it. Their cheese is amazing. 

How did studying abroad affect your personal, professional, or academic life? 

Ever since coming back home, I have seen a change in my personality. Studying abroad opened up my eyes a lot to how there is so much to learn about the world, and in order to learn about the world you kind of just have to get up and go do it. I've noticed that I have that mindset since I've come home. If I want something, I get up and create goals to do it. I also think that it has helped me connect with students who have studied abroad in the past or students who want to study abroad in the future. 

What do you miss most about your study abroad program or locations? 

I definitely miss seeing my friends every day and spending time with them. Even though we all see each other often back home, we're a lot more busy so it can be challenging to match our schedules up. The locations I miss the most are Prague, Czech Republic and Berlin, Germany. Prague still has a lot of its Gothic design buildings in place and it feels like a whole different world - I love it there. Berlin is very fast paced and the locals there are amazing people. We met most of our new friends in Germany and it was overall just a very fun place to be. 

How did you fund your study abroad program? 

In order to fund going abroad, I actually applied for and received the Office of Global Affairs Study Abroad Scholarship which helped me cover some of the costs. My mom and dad were extremely supportive of me following my study abroad dream and did everything they could to make sure I could afford to go. They helped me a lot with funding, and I'm really thankful for them! On top of that, I worked extra hours to have spending money while I was gone. Studying Abroad takes a lot of planning, especially when it comes to finances. I planned out things such as traveling costs, spending costs, and health costs, months before I actually left. 

Overall, Study Abroad changed my life and I would do anything to be able to do it again! 

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Written: 
December 5, 2018