STUDY ABROAD MEMORIES
Every year hundreds of University of Exeter students take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad, and plenty more choose to come here for a semester or full year from universities overseas.
Students can choose to spend time in countries all across Europe, the United States and Canada and as far a field as China and Australia.
And Exeter is a popular option for students from these countries looking to explore a different culture as part of their studies.
Below are a few memories from some of the alumni who participated in these exchanges. They share their experiences and how the chance to study abroad impacted their future lives and careers.
Allison and Greg Melich (Study Abroad, 1990-1991)
A true Exeter love story, Allison and Greg Melich met on campus as part of their study abroad programmes and went on to get married and have two children. Not only that but they are still in contact with many of the friends they made in Exeter in the early 1990s.
Allison and Greg came to Exeter from Wittenberg University in Ohio, and the College of William and Mary in Virginia respectively. They both say that as well as the personal impact on their lives, the chance to study abroad had a positive influence on their professional lives. Not least when the opportunity to work in the UK presented itself. Now, after several years in London, Greg is a Senior Managing Director for Evercore ISI in New York.
Allison and Greg have such a connection to Exeter that a relative actually bought them one of the old university signs as a gift - look out for it propped up in the background of this video!
In this video, Allison and Greg share some of their memories of their time at Exeter and how they met.
Beccy Allen (Politics and Spanish, 2006)
Beccy Allen spent a year abroad in Salamanca as part of her degree at Exeter.
She is now Head of Creative Learning at the Half Moon Young People's Theatre in London. She is also a committee member for the Western Sahara Campaign UK and spent time volunteering as an English teacher in the Saharawi Refugee Camps.
In this video, listen to Beccy talk about her experiences in Spain and how they impacted her life after Exeter.
Richard Lyntton (Russian with German, 1989)
Richard spent a year in Moscow in 1987/88, a period that included the Reagan - Gorbachev summit in the city.
He has since written a series of books the first of which, North Korea Deception, is a thriller based on memories of his time in Russia.
After Exeter, Richard served as a Captain and tank commander in the British Army in the first Gulf War; European Community Task Force Humanitarian Liaison in Russia; UNHCR Liaison Officer (when he was abducted by warring factions), and United Nations Military Observer (during heavy shelling and NATO airstrikes) in Sarajevo, Bosnia; and was a United Nations Television producer in former Yugoslavia. He is also a professional film and television actor based in the USA.
Below Richard talks about his experiences studying in Russia as part of his degree, and how it helped him in his subsequent careers.
Poppy Mason-Taylor (French and Arabic, 2013)
"I would recommend it without a doubt!"
Poppy spent a year abroad in Damascus as part of her studies.
She now works as Partners Acquisition Coordinator at Meero in France and volunteers her time for the University of Exeter as a Country Contact ambassador for Paris.
Poppy says the experience of studying abroad and being immersed in another culture has helped her in her career, built self-confidence and made her more culturally aware.
Jakob Akerlund (Study Abroad Politics, 2012)
Jakob Akerlund completed his undergraduate degree at Uppsala University in Sweden, and as part of this came to Exeter for a semester in 2012 to study politics and management.
He says that the experience had a big impact on him and he went on to take a second semester abroad during his Masters, this time to Mannheim in Germany.
He now works as an IT Business Developer for Swedish railway company SJ AB, following several years in IT consultancy.
In this video Jakob shares a few of his memories of Exeter.
Brian Murdoch (German with Russian, 1965)
Brian spent a semester at Göttingen University in Germany during his first year at Exeter.
As well as getting to experience a trip to Berlin during the height of the Cold War, and being in the country for JFK's “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, Brian also met his wife Ursula and they have recently celebrated 54 years of marriage!
Having worked in universities in the UK and USA, Brian is now Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Stirling.
Tim Gay (French, 1974)
Tim spent a year in Brussels as part of his French degree, where he had a considerably different experience from his classmates in France.
Lydia Clark (Spanish and French, 2005)
"I spent the academic year of 2003-4 teaching English in Asturias, Spain. 2004 saw the deadly March bombings in Madrid. They coincided with the general elections, which the conservative Partido Popular expected to win. Within Spain, the attacks were believed to have been perpetrated by the ETA terrorist group. However when I spoke to my parents on the day of the attacks they were very clear that Al-Quaeda was to blame. Over the following days it emerged that El País, Spain’s leading newspaper, had been deliberately misled by the government and named ETA as the culprits, something its editor has since described as the greatest mistake of his career. Witnessing this situation inspired me to study the media coverage of the attacks as part of my commercial Spanish module in final year. When I left Exeter I pursued a career in public relations."