Emory swimming and diving student-athletes Carter Hardy, Cooper Tollen, and Emma Watson put summer time to good use by studying abroad.
"Studying abroad has always been an important factor in my college experience because I knew it would greatly benefit my on-campus classes for the International Studies major," said Watson, a rising sophomore who is studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "Because of practice and meets, studying abroad for a semester was not an option for me so doing a summer study abroad program was the perfect solution because it allowed me to gain the international experience that I wanted without conflicting with my commitment to diving for Emory."
Hardy, also a rising sophomore, studied for six weeks in Spain, two in Seville and four in Salamanca. Tollen, a rising junior who earned three All-America honors at the 2016 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, studied in Spain for three weeks before traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland and Berlin, Germany.
L: Carter Hardy and Cooper Tollen in Madrid; R: Emma Watson in Buenos Aries.
"I studied the language as well as the history and culture of Spain," Hardy said. "The program was very well organized and I felt like none of my time was wasted. It was an opportunity to continue my studies in Spanish and have the opportunity to go to Europe."
Tollen, a political science major concentrating in comparative politics, took three classes during the program, the final of which could not have come at a more opportune time with the recent Brexit vote in England, entitled "EU and how economic policy affects political decisions." In fact, he is also taking the opportunity to go to the United Kingdom and visit with a family he stayed with on a previous trip there.
"I chose to study abroad in Europe because I've always been interested in how the countries interact with one another," Tollen said. "Every time I travel to places I learn new things and gain insight into what issues are salient for different people."
Watson, who is double majoring in International Studies and Spanish, went to Argentina on the Human Rights track of the intensive language immersion program. She attends two classes with other students three days a week and then travels to different museums, cultural centers, and famous sites of Buenos Aires in the afternoons as part of cultural exploration classes. Mondays feature a guest lecturer from various universities in Buenos Aires and Fridays are for day trips, which have included Colonia, Uruguay, an estancia in farmlands, and Tigre Delta.
"Going forward, this study abroad has solidified for me that I want to gain more international experience in the future, possibly even by moving and working abroad after college," Watson remarked. "I also think that this experience has given me a better understanding of how to adapt to, and learn to, appreciate other people's perspectives and cultures different from my own."
Hardy also sees the practical benefits of his experience abroad. "Being able to communicate with the almost 50 million Americans who speak Spanish is a huge benefit and the experience adapting to a new culture will make future travel much more enriching," he commented. " I had an incredible experience and hope to encourage others to study abroad as well."
"I think the only real way to truly connect with other people and cultures is to understand what is important to them," Tollen stated. "Traveling is a great way to do that and it also allows you to create new friendships and connections that can last a lifetime."
Cooper Tollen in Berlin