Slade’s Update on His Abroad Experience

Slade Baumann ‘14 is an Honors alumnus who is currently enrolled in the Information Technology Master’s Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is studying abroad for six months at HAN University in the Netherlands as part of an exchange program. He currently owns a blog, https://sladesjourneytothenetherlands.wordpress.com, in which he writes about his travels and experiences. At the midway point of the semester, he updates us on his experiences in Europe.

Slade

Going abroad changes you. Honors students: if you ever have the opportunity to study abroad at this crucial point of learning and freedom in your life, don’t hesitate. The experiences you’ll have will not only teach you about the world, but also about yourself.

Before talking about what I have experienced here in the Netherlands, I think my motivations for studying abroad are important to recognize. The Honors Program has given me many opportunities to learn about other cultures and to experience them firsthand. Upon graduation, no experience had impacted me as much as my semester learning about Belize and working with students in San Pedro, Belize as part of the Spring 2014 honors seminar Service-Learning in Belize. This course proved to me that there was so much more world out there, full of unique individuals and culture.

Netherlands

Ever since that pivotal moment in my life, I have had the urge to travel and meet new people. Naturally, when the opportunity to live, study, and work in the Netherlands arose, I focused all my efforts on that chance to experience a different culture firsthand. I was accepted into the exchange program and have been living in the Netherlands since the end of January.

This experience has taught me a lot about culture and about myself. I started here with the driving urge to meet people, see everything, try all of the local food, listen to Dutch music, etc. Being in a new country for the first time is exhilarating. As time went on, I started to realize how truly small I was in such a large world. This may sound like a negative thing to realize and, admittedly, it was hard for me to deal with at first. However, it is one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned in life. This realization only makes me want to travel even more and interact with new people. I’ve already met people from all over Europe, who all have different pasts and experiences. I have started to appreciate how important each person is and the uniqueness that they all possess.

If you are considering studying abroad while at the University, do it. You will learn so much about the world and about what you want in life. It will truly test your independence and your will to succeed. Take advantage of the many opportunities that the Honors Program provides you to grow your cultural competency. One (or many) of them could change the course of your life.

Slade Baumann

Slade with Gold Guy

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Reflecting on UMRHC

By Spencer Sulflow, ’18 (Exercise Science)

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Left to right: Spencer Sulflow, Chad Lease, Stephanie Peterson, Sarah Aldrich, Sajid Sarkar, Olivia Robinson, Lauren Bach

From March 26th-28th, our Honors Program hosted the 2015 Upper Midwest Regional Honors Conference. As a first year student in the program it was very exciting to be a part of the planning for the conference. Our class, Exploring Leadership in the Context of Conference Development  helped with the planning and the work of putting together the conference. I was part of the Marketing Committee. We utilized social media to advertise and communicate with conference attendees. Being on the planning side of my first conference was interesting. I had to pay attention to how a conference should look from an attendant’s point of view and also learn the behind the scenes work needed to put it on. It was surprising to see all of the details that go into planning such an event. This was a quality learning experience for not only me but everyone in the class.

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As the conference approached, I was excited to attend and be a part of my first honors conference, see our planning put into action, and hear student and faculty presentations. Once the conference started, I became very busy for the weekend. Between facilitating rooms, directing people throughout campus, running social events, and attending to various needs there were jobs for everyone. Many honors students outside of our class attended and helped during the conference. It was exciting to see so many MSU Honors Students working together to benefit others.

There was a variety of presentations ranging from students discussing their own honors programs to professors highlighting what they’ve done with a certain discipline at their college. The social events also went well, my favorite being ice skating at All Seasons Arena. It was fun to watch many people learn to ice skate for the first time.

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I enjoyed utilizing social media to promote and engage people during the conference. As a part of the Marketing Committee, I was able to use Twitter on my phone throughout the conference. Many attendees took the time to tweet about the conference and showed their excitement through pictures both of their presentations and the social events.

Overall the conference was a great experience for the class as a whole and for me as a first year honors student. I was able to be a part of a planning team, work at an important event, and see other honors students present research in a similar setting to that of what I will be doing in the future. I am very glad I was able to be a part of planning the conference and look forward to other events such as this in the future.

More information on the conference will be published in our Spring 2015 issue of the Honors Beacon newsletter being released next week.