Non-ECU, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Spring 2017

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Ryan Cummins, I am 20 years old from Charlotte, NC. My intended major is Communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in film. I enjoy adventure, being outside, hip hop, and a little risk.

Where did you study abroad?

I Studied at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape of South Africa for 5.5 months. Stellenbosch is an Afrikaans town in the heart of the Cape Winelands surrounded by beautiful mountains while still only being 30 minutes from the beach. I lived in an off campus coed flat that I shared with seven other international students from France, Germany, and Austria. During the semester I took 13 credits that counted towards my elective requirements.

What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?

My favorite memory’s from studying abroad are travelling to Madagascar for two weeks on fall break with two friends I met at my University and my favorite memory from South Africa specifically was going to the Tankwa Karoo National Park for AfrikaBurn 2017.

How has studying abroad helped your personal or professional life?

Studying Abroad has resulted in me becoming a more active and outgoing person, from being in a country all alone initially you are almost forced to step out of your box. Being more isolated from life back home gave me important time to think about what I really want for myself and future. The most valuable thing I gained from study abroad was a stronger perspective on the world and global issues. It is easy to rationalize and normalize your beliefs on things but going to another country, living with people from other cultures, and seeing what else is out there really shakes that up and helps you form stronger and more understanding views on the world.

What advice can you offer to students interested in studying abroad?

My advice to anyone studying abroad is to just go for it and choose somewhere you are passionate about. I decided I would study abroad one semester before I left and it was definitely the most adventurous, meaningful and unforgettable thing I’ve done. Also somewhere with a favorable exchange rate is a plus!

Do you have any future plans or ideas to travel abroad again?

I plan to travel to travel to Asia next semester or summer and am considering working abroad with the Peace Corps or similar organization after I graduate for a few years.

For more information about South Africa or navigating a Non-ECU program email Ryan at cumminsr15@students.ecu.edu.