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John Swinea

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Pre-Business and Environmental Studies- Sustainability Track (Both Majors)
Program: Coral Reef Ecology and Management
Location: Cinnamon Bay, St. John, USVI
Term: Maymester/Summer 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose this study abroad as my major being Environmental Studies, and I wanted to expand my learning outside of the classroom and have also always been interested in Marine Sciences. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine my interests into a course, while also being able to go somewhere beautiful for a shorter amount of time, allowing the rest of my summer to be free.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that not only can I be resilient and go with the flow during travel, but traveling with a group of strangers taught me new social skills I had never had to think about before, allowing me to make an entire new group of friends.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories would have to be siting around the campsite talking. It does not seem very exciting but it was time during the program to get to know each other and have meaningful conversation.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Try to embrace every moment, even if it feels stressful. Whenever travel or being in an unfamiliar place feels overwhelming, take a chance to ground yourself and understand that being abroad cannot always involve being on the move, but incorporating self care is crucial when you are in an unfamiliar place.


How do you identify?


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Luckily, I did not face any issues with my identity as a gay man, and it was not usually discussed during my program.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
I think its important to research how your identity is received in your host city/country, to ensure your safety!


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
I would have absolutely felt comfortable approaching my professor or any of the other students on the trip, everyone has good intentions when studying abroad!