MacKenzie Wantje

Briefly describe your applied learning experience

I got the chance to travel to Ireland and experience a wonderful new culture. In the process, I also got to travel to multiple other European countries and gain hands on knowledge about life and people. In addition to travel, I took four classes pertaining to my majors: behavioral ecology, physical chemistry, and two psychology courses. Behavioral ecology has not been offered at our university in several years, so I was ecstatic about this opportunity. In addition, learning about these topics in another country gave me a different view as well as different information that I would have not received otherwise. For example, we spoke a lot about papers and relevant European research in my psychology courses, whereas in the US we usually talk about concepts and things related to us. 

How did you get involved in this applied learning experience and what did you hope to gain from it?

I had always wanted to study abroad, so i purposely sought a school that seemed to have a good office for that. Going abroad, I wanted to gain more independence and more knowledge about the world, which I did in spades. In addition, I stayed involved by becoming an ambassador when I came back to campus.

What did you gain from this experience? What was challenging? What did you learn?

I learned a lot about myself. I am stronger than I thought I was, for example. I also learned I love travel and have now made that a focus in my life. There was no big challenge for me, but that is because I chose to do things that made me happy instead of trying to plan with other people. I think trying to combine many people's inerests and desires would have been difficult, but I was more on a journey for myself at that point in time.

In what way will this experience make you a more viable candidate when you are seeking a job or applying for graduate study?

I can connect with a lot more people more easily, I have more experience with diverse groups, and I can work in novel situations. I also know a lot about myself in general. I will also be studying abroad again, where I will work on gaining new friendships and work on communication skills to help with job seeking and graduate schools.