Global Learning

University Honors Student Study Abroad Profiles

The following five students were among a larger group of University Honors students who received University Honors Study Abroad Travel Grants to study overseas in 2012.

Sarah Lynn Stuebing

Sarah Lynn Stuebing – Argentina

Sarah is a native of Kassel, Germany. Her family came to DeKalb, Illinois when she was two years old. She is a junior majoring in both Biological Sciences and Chemistry with a minor in Spanish. She will graduate in May 2014. She would like to study at a veterinarian school.

With the support of her University Honors Study Abroad Travel Grant, Sarah participated in a six-week program in La Cumbre and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unlike many students, Sarah’s study abroad experience was not an NIU faculty-directed program. Given Sarah’s specialized interests, she had to conduct research on where to study. After an extensive search across many different program and countries, she determined Argentina would offer her the most interesting and valuable learning experience.

While in Argentina, Sarah completed two courses: Spanish conversation and South American Culture. However, the highlight of her five-week experience was working in a zoo with abused monkeys. In all, there were approximately 75 monkeys. Seeing the animals become stronger and more independent was a very rewarding experience. Sarah also formed relationships with some  of the animals. She recalls fondly how a baby monkey recognized her when she came to work one day and ran to her.

In response to being asked what she would tell other University Honors students about study abroad, Sarah advises, “Give it a try. Do not be afraid to ask questions. There is nothing to lose. There are many resources available to help you make the best decision as to where study.”


Kasey Twine

Kasey Twine – Brazil

Kasey is a native of  Bellwood, Illinois. She is a senior majoring in Communicative Disorders with an Emphasis in Audiology. Before she chose her current major, she explored two other majors: Engineering and Elementary Education. With her passion to educate and help people, she chose Communicative Disorders with emphasis on Audiology. She will graduate in May 2013.

With the support of her University Honors Study Abroad Travel Grant, Kasey traveled to Brazil to participate in a two-week study abroad program in Sao Paulo. NIU administered her study abroad experience, “Heart of Hearing: Audiology in Brazil.” Specifically, her study abroad group encompassed three graduate students and a faculty member. Kasey did not have  specific course work to complete. Instead, it was humanitarian research program in which she helped provide audiology services to approximately 500 youths between the ages of 11 and 18 and roughly 100 elderly patients. Kasey found interacting and helping clients to be the most enjoyable part of her time in Brazil.

Before the trip, Kasey was not certain she had chosen the right career path. However, her two-week experience confirmed her passion for audiology. She truly liked and valued the direct contact with the many people her research group tested. Kasey believes it was a real benefit to gain extensive, hands-on experience before graduating from NIU.  She also enjoyed the opportunity she had to visit hearing aid factories and a range of medical facilities.

In response to being asked what she would tell other University Honors students about study abroad, Kasey said, “The earlier you decide to go, and act upon your decision, the more time you will have to plan and make sure you get the most out of your experience.” She also encourages students to seek out help and support. “There are many different types of resources available for students interested in studying overseas.”


Caitlin Marie Lucia Cavannaugh

Caitlin Marie Lucia Cavannaugh – Russia

Caitlin was born in Willow Springs, Illinois. She is a junior Acting major in the School of Theatre and Dance. She plans to graduate in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

With the support of her University Honors Study Abroad Travel Grant, Caitlin studied in Moscow, Russia for three months during the fall 2012 semester. Her NIU faculty-led program, “Theatre & Performance at the Moscow Art Theatre,” encompassed 12 other Acting majors and faculty members. Caitlin’s days were filled with course work and visiting world class museums. The course work included: Acting, Movement, Fencing, Stage Combat, Singing, Russian Language, Russian Theatre History, History of Russian Cinema, and Design. Caitlin recalls, “My days were very busy and full of learning, but that’s what I like.”

During her time in Russia, Caitlin had many opportunities to observe and explore Russian culture, which she describes as “honest.” She also enjoyed the Russian theatre’s emphasis on movement, which is different from the American theatre. She notes, “It was awesome being in the place where theatre originated. The history there is incredible.”

In response to being asked what she would tell other University Honors students about study abroad, Caitlin says, “Do it. It does seem scary, but it is an eye opening and life changing experience…I can’t wait to share my experience with my peers at NIU.”


Chris Adam JacksonChris Adam Jackson – United Kingdom

Chris is a native of Naperville, Illinois. He is a sophomore majoring in Political Science with a minor in Business. His professional goal is to become a lawyer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

With the support of his University Honors Study Abroad Travel Grant, Chris participated in the NIU at Oxford study abroad experience during summer 2012. The five-week program took place at Oxford University’s Oriel College in the united Kingdom. Chris first became interested in the program after hearing a short presentation in one his classes.

During his study abroad experience, Chris completed two courses related to political parties and elections under the direction of Professor Scot Schraufnagel. In one course, Chris learned how to conduct an independent research project as a sophomore.

Not only did Chris experience England during his time in the United Kingdom, he visited Wales. A good portion of his time was spent in London; and he learned a great deal by visiting the Houses of Parliament. He also enjoyed the beauty of various castles and the world famous Kew Gardens. During his time overseas, Chris had the opportunity to travel to France and was in Paris for Bastilles Day. Chris recalls, “The entire trip was a highlight.”

In response to being asked what he would tell other University Honors students about study abroad, Chris notes, “You will see amazing sites and have a great time. You will have experiences that you never could have imagined, and you will definitely consider a study abroad time and money well spent.” Chris is very thankful for the opportunity that he had in the United Kingdom and for the financial support that he received from the University Honors Study Abroad Grant program.


Edona AjvaziEdona Ajvazi – United Kingdom

Edona is a native of Albania. Her family came to Oregon, Illinois when she was in elementary school. She is a senior majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Law. She will graduate in May 2013 and attend Saint Louis University School of Law.

With the support of her University Honors Study Abroad Travel Grant, Edona participated in the NIU at Oxford study abroad experience during summer 2012. The five-week program took place at Oxford University’s Oriel College in the United Kingdom. She took classes on weekdays and traveled on the weekends. Edona completed two political science courses, earning University Honors credit in both classes. In addition to seeing many important sites in England, Edona took short trips to Wales and France.

During her time overseas, Edona enjoyed the relationships that she built with both her professors as well as her fellow students. She especially valued the many opportunities to discuss current issues with a bright group of people who shared her interests in political science and law.

In response to being asked what she would tell other University Honors students about study abroad, Edona remarks, “Studying abroad is a great opportunity to strengthen your maturity and  independence...It also provides an invaluable learning experience that you will be able to utilize in any given situation…I highly recommend participating in a study abroad program. I will cherish every moment of my study abroad experience.”