A few months ago, Business Scholar Liz Milaicki capped off her sophomore year with a summer semester abroad, studying in both Dublin and London and setting off at every opportunity to explore the European continent. Her overseas coursework earned her credit toward her minor in entrepreneurship, and her travels broadened her worldview and bolstered her personal independence.
Her studies abroad began in Dublin, where she ended up rooming with other Americans. "It worked out well," says Milaicki,"some of us were studying entrepreneurship together at the Dublin Arcadia Center," which contributed to a sense of community among students far from home. Milaicki’s course ran for four weeks in Dublin, where she found plenty to do in her downtime. "The Euro Cup was going on while I was there, so as you can imagine the football fandom was in high pitch (no pun intended). But I also picked up some less familiar Gaelic games like hurling, handball, and Gaelic football." Milaicki did a lot of exploring with her roommates, too. "Just within Dublin, we went to a lot of pubs and dance performances together, but we also made trips to Galway, Kilkenny, and even Madrid. It was a fun group, a mix of business students and literature students, and of course we spent lots of time together being nervous about driving on the opposite side of the road."
After studying entrepreneurship in Dublin, Milaicki moved on to London for elective study in photography, which ended up being a great way to explore the city. "Our classroom was really just the London gallery scene itself. It seemed like almost everyday we were trekking to some exhibit, at the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum, yes, but also places like the Photographer’s Gallery, where I saw Terence Donovan’s work, the Beetles+Huxley Gallery, the Getty Images Gallery, the Michael Hoppen Gallery, and too many others to name." Milaicki got around the city on her own, too. "I stayed near Russell Square, and spent a lot of time in the city’s parks and green spaces for my photography work, but also got to wander around Camden Market (which I loved!) and even went to Wimbledon, a cool experience. Beyond London, we traveled to Brighton and Dover on the south coast."
Milaicki packed her larger adventures into the time she had between classes. "In Madrid, I visited the Reina Sofia Museum, the Palacio Real de Madrid, and El Tigre for the classic tapas experience. In Amsterdam, it was the Anne Frank House and the Rijkmuseum campus, along with boat rides in the canals. We took a last-minute trip to Wales, too, and got to check out Cardiff Bay Beach. My longest excursion was to Porto, where a high school friend was visiting family. We were there for the Festa de São João do Porto, a huge centuries-old festival in the city. People celebrate until the sun comes up–I was so glad to be a part of it!"
"I learned a lot about independence,” Milaicki says, "which was really why I wanted to study abroad in the first place. It was my first time in Europe, and I was forced to be responsible for myself." It’s an experience she recommends to all her undergraduate peers, and one she thinks every student should have before entering the workforce. "The key is to plan ahead," she says. "Talk to your advisor, they can help you figure out which classes to take. And get help planning the costs. UIC wants the experience to be within reach for everyone."