by | Hannah Rehak ’15

The sequential nature of some science courses can make it challenging for science majors to study abroad, but faculty members are eager to work with students to make it happen. With advising from the International Center, and a strong desire to try something new, many students find studying away to be not only rewarding, but eminently doable.

Andrew Banman ’15 (Beaverton, Ore.), a math and physics double major, enrolled directly at the University of Edinburgh last spring. While there he took two courses in math and one in physics, all of which transferred back to Macalester. Adjusting to a different institution with larger lectures, a smaller daily workload, and more heavily weighted final exams was challenging, says Banman, but forced him to be more independent and to develop better study habits.

Chemistry major Ruth Pardini ’15 (Solon, Iowa) chose Mac’s exchange program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Although she never expected to live in Southeast Asia, says Pardini, when she sought a university where language wouldn’t be a problem and her credits could transfer, NTU stood out as the best choice.

Pardini took a history class, two chemistry classes, and a chemistry lab, making for a schedule more flexible than she typically has at Mac. In her free time she walked the city, getting to know the ins and outs of the small island nation. During the semester’s second half, Pardini lived with a student from China; she spent spring break traveling to Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand with new friends from all over the world.

Collin Barry ’15 (Lakeville, Minn.) is a biology major who studied at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) in Copenhagen. Barry took classes and worked with a Danish graduate student in a bioorganic chemistry lab at the University of Copenhagen. His classes took a hands-on approach—he was even taught to draw blood and got to try his hand at putting in an IV (a skill he practiced in class on fellow DIS and Mac classmate Spencer Weckwerth ’15). Barry also managed to find time to visit 10 major European cities during his term abroad.

The time away allowed Banman, Pardini, and Barry to explore new cities, faces, and elements of their respective disciplines, but the three agree that it’s also good to be back in their home departments. “The bar is set high at Mac,” says Barry, “and that’s a good thing.”

December 1 2014

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