Olivia Keltz of Bradford, a senior triple majoring in marketing, business management and human resources management, and Olivia Wissinger of Renfrew, a senior majoring in secondary education mathematics with a minor in physics, recently traveled to Poland for the PASSHE Summer Study Abroad Honors Program.
They stayed primarily in Krakow, Poland, attending Jagiellonian University and visiting other countries including Hungary, Czech Republic and Germany.
This was Keltz's second study abroad experience. Last summer, she traveled to Portugal with Clarion's College of Business Administration and Information Sciences.
"Poland surprised me," Keltz said. "I thought everything would be very old fashioned. Krakow was much more modernized than I expected."
She enjoys learning firsthand about other cultures.
"You get to truly live like the natives," she said. "I learned more in three weeks about European history and architecture than I had in my whole life."
Wissinger liked learning about other cultures through the eyes of the people.
"The experience of traveling to different sites, such as Auschwitz, helped me to better empathize with people from different cultures, backgrounds and heritages," she said.
It was Wissinger's first time traveling outside of the United States, an experience she believes will be beneficial when she becomes a teacher.
"I inevitably will work with children from different backgrounds, and being able to understand them and empathize with them will be quite beneficial," Wissinger said. "In addition, making connections with other PASSHE students, my professors and people from varying countries has given me a network of resources for my education and career."
Keltz hopes that apprehension won't keep others from traveling abroad.
"Don't be afraid of going abroad for reasons such as you don't know the language. I never thought I could communicate with anyone who didn't speak English, but it's possible," she said. "People are so understanding and helpful."
Through the competitive PASSHE Summer Honors Study Abroad Program, each student receives a full scholarship covering the cost of tuition, room and board, travel and required field trips to the selected destination. A participant must be an undergraduate student at a PASSHE university and a member in good standing of the nominating institution's Honors Program.