Alumni Reflections

Read the reflections of some of Luther's recent graduates about their study away courses and experiences abroad:

“My first trip was retracing Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation and my second was Green Germany and Norway where we learned about sustainability and renewable energy. The opportunities we had on these trips were once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

Denise Richter '13

Erin spent one J-term in the United Kingdom and another in Hawaii. “It was amazing to take a month-long course to learn about the cultures at both locations. I also studied abroad for my Spanish major in Cuenca, Ecuador. I lived with a Spanish-speaking family, immersed myself within the culture, volunteered at a school, and explored the Amazon Rainforest.”

Erin Spanczak '12

Kelsey traveled with the Concert Band to Japan in 2010 for an international tour. “I can’t say I would have chosen to go to Japan on my own, but it was an incredible opportunity to experience a culture very different from my own. I recall being very nervous as an American to visit Hiroshima, but learned very quickly that it’s a place of peace and remembrance, not of blame or hatred. I’ll never forget that experience.”

Kelsey Wauters '11

“Studying away during college had a major impact on my desire to see more of the world and learn about other places and cultures.”

Ashley (Matthys) Gibson '12

Thomas feels that one of the most meaningful experiences he had at Luther was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “During my time there, I developed fluency in Spanish, immersed myself in a new culture, lived in an amazing city, and made lifelong friends. Most importantly, my experience abroad established the foundation for my current career, which focuses on financing infrastructure projects in Latin America and requires me to speak Spanish much of the day.”

Thomas Sines '08

“My job today is completely dependent upon forming strong relationships with youth from a wide variety of backgrounds. My time in Tanzania helped guide and prepare me to be successful in the field of youth development.”

Kim Horner ‘11

His visit to Brazil during January Term was also transformative. “We studied the connection between religion and economics in that developing country. It was humbling to learn how the church had once been such a negative force in that part of the world but also how the modern churches of Brazil are working for economic justice for all people.”

Reverend Nathaniel Anderson ‘07

“During my junior year, I traveled to Ghana for the course Christianity and Slavery. We explored how Christianity shaped the slave trade and its lasting impact both in West Africa and the United States. This course greatly deepened my understanding of history, our society, and my place within it.”

Nick Andresen ‘13

“My study-away experiences in Washington, D.C., and Western Europe (Germany, in particular) had the greatest impact on me. I knew I wanted to major in history, and much of the work in my major focused on sixteenth-century Europe. So, participating in a J-Term to study the Reformation in the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands and spending a semester in Münster, Germany, gave me the chance to do some original research for what would become my senior project.”

 —Rachel Barclay ‘11

“As a junior I participated in the Nottingham study abroad program and it was the most impactful of all my college experiences. It was where I took my first classes in international development and Mandarin Chinese, both of which guided later education and career decisions. I was also exposed to the excitement of life abroad, interacting with students from every corner of the globe and facing routine challenges to my assumptions and beliefs.”

Mike Byrd ‘10

January Terms and study abroad opportunities were some of the most memorable times at Luther for Katie. “They gave me the chance to immerse myself in a different culture, political environment, religion, and language. I went to China and Japan with one course and Turkey and Jordan for the other. Studying abroad truly impacts how you interact with people and see the larger world.”

Katie Carnes ‘12

“One of the Luther experiences that had the greatest impact on me was the Vienna residency J-Term trip I took with the Symphony Orchestra. The cultural experiences in the music capital of the world along with the community within the ensemble made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Madeline Davidson ‘14

 “Studying abroad made me fall in love with other places and cultures and encouraged me to be a more globally-minded citizen.”

Laura Harney ‘13

“My study abroad trip to Ghana really helped broaden my perspective about other cultures. I also went with other students who didn’t have the same major as me. It was nice to get to know them better, too, and learn from their backgrounds and experiences.”

Melissa Hunter '08

“We went on a tour of Japan and it seemed like the friendships I had already established with the group became even stronger. We still stay in touch.”

Sarah Luloff ‘10

What stands out most to Delaney about her time at Luther was her J-Term trip to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan her senior year. “It was just incredible and something I never would have experienced if I hadn’t gone to Luther. We did everything from spending time and having meals with local families to riding camels and snorkeling in the Red Sea!”

Delaney McMullan '14

“To be immersed in a new culture with curious, like-minded people was in and of itself a great experience. But to be able to see, do, and learn new things while surrounded by the interesting context provided by a professor was just so cool to me. I would go back to Luther all over again to do more study abroad trips.”

Bailey Miller ‘09

“I think my study-abroad experience helped me become a better nurse. I went to Norway and Russia, where we looked at cultural ties and World War II. I think that experience translates well to nursing since I work with people from so many different backgrounds.”

Kelsey (Vaaler) Vaith '11

“I studied off-campus by taking a J-Term trip to Silicon Valley. We went to California and visited companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Pixar, and a whole bunch of other start-ups. It was very eye-opening to experience the culture of these companies.”

Jake Vaith ‘10

“My two January Term study abroad trips to Jamaica and Tanzania helped shape me to be the person I am today. I have always had a deep desire to travel the world, experience different cultures, and simply learn.”

Benell Weatherspoon ’12