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Bruins Abroad -- Scandinavia & Central Europe

Sarah Brackin
Sarah Brackin

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 This summer, a number of Belmont student-athletes spent some time overseas taking part in Belmont's Study Abroad Program.   

Throughout the summer, Belmont Athletics will highlight the experiences of our student-athletes as they encounter and engage with new landscapes, cultures, and peoples.

Our next reflection is by Sarah Brackin, a junior women's tennis player from College Grove, Tennessee.  During the months of May and June, she participated in two Belmont Study Abroad trips… first to Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) and then later to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. 


Where did you study abroad this summer?

I studied in France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (Europe/Scandinavia)


What classes did you take?

I took German Film, Third Year Writing, and Intercultural Communication


What was your favorite memory?

I have two favorite memories. The first was in France when after a full day of sightseeing, a few people from my group and I went to get one last crepe at 11pm. We had the best waiter who joked around with us the whole time we were there, even taking selfies on our phones leaving us laughing the entire night.

My second favorite memory was in Sweden when we had a picnic in the park and enjoyed the unusually warm weather. It was a perfect end to a long day and we got to meet and interact with locals in the park, which made it even more memorable.


Is there a specific place that you would go back and visit? If so, where and why?

I would love to go back and visit Austria and Sweden. Those were two of my favorite countries I visited and there were many cities that I would like to go back and explore.


What was the thing that surprised you the most about the culture and surroundings?

What surprised me the most was how almost everyone I met spoke English and were very friendly. I was expecting to run into more language barriers, but was surprised to have no trouble at all. It was also interesting to see the differences between people and how they interacted in each country. In Sweden, the people were very friendly but tended to keep to themselves more and found it rude to talk too loud.


How was the food? What was your favorite meal?

I liked the food everywhere I went. I am not a very picky eater so food is never really an issue for me. My favorite meal was my first group meal in Paris. We went to the oldest restaurant in Paris and split into three tables in a private room. It was a three course meal in which I had french onion soup, salmon, and chocolate cake. The food was not only amazing, especially after my last meal being airplane food, but it was where I met a lot of my good friends I would continue to spend time with throughout the trip. Great food and great memories from this first group meal.


After being overseas for this period of time, what did you miss most about "home" (U.S.)?

I missed the small comforts of home and the familiarity of it, but I found myself not wanting to leave Europe/Scandinavia either. I loved every moment I spent abroad and I was not quite ready to get home and back in a routine rather than exploring the world and experiencing new cultures as I had been doing.


Would you recommend other Belmont student-athletes (or students) go on this trip?

I would recommend that any student, especially student-athletes to go on any Maymester. I would recommend student-athletes go because it is the perfect amount of time in the summer to take a break from their sport to have the opportunity to study abroad since we cannot do it throughout the school year. I think it's important to travel, study, and experience new cultures.