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Elizabeth Breitmeyer / Gavel Media

Eagles Abroad: Summertime Travels of BC Students

As the Eagles spread their wings and venture to all four corners of the world for the summer, they came back with beautiful accounts of enrichment in terms of culture, friendship, and knowledge. 

Maggie Hynes (2025) spent her summer in Thimphu, Bhutan at the Royal Thimphu College. Hynes interned at the Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super FabLab (JNW Super FabLab), a branch of the FabLab program, a company that cultivates learning and innovation through engineering and design. She is an active member of the Makerspace at BC and discloses how she has been able to apply a lot of her experience in Bhutan. At the Hatchery at BC, Hynes gives training on machinery, leads workshops, and staffs open hours where students can work on their personal projects. She also takes care of the materials and machines she is in charge of. Over the summer, Hynes was tasked with creating materials for a FabLab conference. She, along with the other interns, planned a screen printing workshop, an event she has run at BC. 

Steven Roche (2025) had the opportunity to live in two different international locations this summer. He began this journey abroad by spending three weeks in the Siem Reap Province in Cambodia through a course offered by the Schiller Institute with seven other students. In Cambodia, he worked for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) talking to landmine survivors in order to participate in the development of better farming alternatives. 

Roche explained, “We learned about Cambodia’s plastic waste crisis and thought of ways the situation could be improved.”

Cambodia is struggling with the proper disposal of plastic waste. As of now, they burn, bury, or just leave the plastic on the ground because there are limited ways to recycle it. This creates an endless cycle because of the push to purchase plastic products, but not having the correct means to dispose of it after use. 

He said the experience centered around conversations with locals and staff, as well as sight-seeing. Roche’s second destination was Oxford, England. There, he has been working on a research project on flood predictions in the United Kingdom. This involved using river data with machine-learning methods to try and predict river flow in relation to data on river width, depth, and slope all proved by satellite. 

Maura Egan (2025) has had her own adventure over state and country lines this summer. Her internship in Singapore was with the Esin Group, an accounting and consulting firm. Her internship provided enough flexibility for her to be able to travel and experience the cultures of different Asian countries. 

“I’ve loved being able to experience a different culture, specifically Asian culture since it is so far removed from the US,” said Egan. 

Egan had the chance to explore and travel to Bangkok, Thailand, Malacca, Malaysia, and Bali, Indonesia. This left her with a holistic experience of not just one location, but rather the cultures of multiple communities. 

There is no single way to correctly study abroad. Hynes, Roche, and Egan took different routes to forming the best summer experience for them. For Hynes, this meant discussing the global network of Makerspaces with her own Haterchy boss at the BC. 

Roche found the Cambodia program through a BC program, but ultimately went because he felt it would be a unique experience. 

“I wanted to go somewhere that would expand my knowledge of different cultures,” said Roche. 

To find his program at Oxford, Roche simply looked up summer projects on Oxford’s Mathematical Institute’s website and moved forward from there. 

Egan described a more formal way of forming a study abroad plan. She began by meeting with an outside service to get connected with an international company/internship. 

The common thread between all three of these students’ experiences has been the value of community they have grown to appreciate. 

Hynes observed how “it’s interesting to see everyone’s backgrounds and expertise,” appreciating this element through the freedom she has had in designing and collaborating with other interns. She lovingly described the people she got to work with, and said she had such a great experience with her fellow interns. 

In Cambodia, Roche got to spend time with people in his class, in addition to being shown into the personal lives of the local Cambodians at JRS. He fondly described how one of the staff members brought the group to see a project he had been working on, and it ended up being at the staff member’s house. 

His time in England has been in stark contrast to his Cambodia experience. In Oxford, Roche has been staying in a house for academics and visiting students, where he actively has to go out and form new relationships. He works on the research project almost entirely alone, making it more necessary to engage with the people he is living with. Roche described the necessity of getting breakfast every morning with the students. As a member of the cheer team at BC, Roche found a gymnastics gym nearby where he tries to go once a week to keep up with cheer skills, as well as to interact with an entirely new community. 

Egan did not coordinate with any other BC student, but ended up knowing everyone else who was going to Singapore. The program she is in has 25 different people from all different schools in the US Egan describes it as being “a really great mix of different people here…it’s really great to not just see everything that Asia brings, but my fellow people from the US.” 

In addition to getting to meet new people, Egan expressed her enjoyment of being a tourist and experiencing the personal growth that comes from going out of your comfort zone. 

The opportunity to travel and spend a significant amount of time with a global community provides the fortuity for a better worldview. This experience then has the power to contribute to the formation of a more understanding society, where differences are appreciated and celebrated. Despite traveling to different cities across the globe, all three students showed an admiration for the places they have been studying in and describe their journeys as simply incredible. Studying abroad provides a mix of practical and creative benefits that can do nothing but add to a student’s college experience. 

When we travel away from our home country, we get the opportunity to encounter a brand new culture and way of life. BC fosters a community of students with an eagerness for adventure, reflected by student accounts of their experiences abroad this summer. 

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Philosophy, English, and Hispanic studies major. When I'm not writing for the Gavel, I am reading books written by angry women (obviously) or listening to Karol G or Bad Bunny.

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