Student Standpoints: Traveling Testimonial #1

by Jahleel Nelson (in Austria at FH Joannuem)

I was initially nervous about traveling by myself to a country that I knew nothing about. They speak German in Austria, so there was the issue of language barrier. Furthermore, I was nervous about my courses (i.e., difficulty, curriculum, professors, etc.)

In fact, I didn’t actually choose Austria! I am studying Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management. The Hospitality concentration is fairly new to CBU’s School of Business, and CBU has a partner school in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria called FH Joannuem. In order to graduate with the Hospitality concentration, you must attend classes at FH Joannuem for a semester to receive your electives.

Bad Gleichenberg is much smaller than Memphis — maybe 2,000 people in the entire town. They love pork like us, yet they are more health-conscious. Furthermore, since the town is so small, everyone walks! The similarities between Memphis and Bad Gleichenberg are that everyone for the most part is really nice and friendly, the radio stations play American music, and everyone knows Elvis Presley. My favorite experience thus far has been meeting new people everyday. I have hour-long conversations about America, Memphis, and CBU with people who are amazed by what life is like in the U.S.

Study abroad is not just a period where you just go to school in a different country — it’s much more than that! The opportunity to learn about a culture that’s different from your own is one of the greatest things you can experience. Study abroad gives you the chance to find out who you really are as a person. Meeting new people, trying new food, sightseeing, and traveling to other countries are some of the perks as well!

Jahleel Nelson (Business Administration ’16)

Student Standpoints: Traveling Testimonial #2

by Abigail Stovall (in N. Ireland at St. Mary’s University College)

I was a bit nervous to travel abroad. I had been out of the country before, but never for an extended period of time — and especially not by myself. I chose Ireland because my favorite literature teacher in high school, Susan Berry, introduced me to the world of Celtic mythology, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, W. B. Yeats, and many others. The opportunity to be able to see ancient Irish archeological sites like Newgrange and Tara, while having access to the Queens University library and online archives, was not one I could pass up. Additionally, I was excited for the opportunity to take international business courses in Ireland, to learn how European economies emerged out of post-soviet Europe.

My favorite thing thus far has been the Literary and Scientific Society (also called Literific), which is the Queen’s University debating society.  I was able to ask the students in Literific questions about Northern Ireland’s politics and listen as they spoke wisdom.  The last Literific debate was actually held at Stormont, where Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from Northern Ireland’s biggest political parties participated in the evening’s debate. After this, there was a cocktail hour with the MLAs.

This experience was invaluable to me as an aspiring law student, interested in international law and politics. When I think about it, I cannot even believe I have shared in this experience. It is truly an honor to stand with these Queen’s students and converse and debate. I have tremendous respect for the Literific. I look forward to bringing back some of what I have learned and implementing it into CBU’s own fabulous Debate and Law Society.

To any incoming student, I would say to make you sure you read about Northern Ireland’s culture before you come here. To fully engage with these people, you must understand their past. Additionally, put yourself out there. People are extremely friendly; you can’t take yourself too seriously.  My experience has been incredible so far.  It is such a blessing and amazing learning opportunity.

Abigail Stovall (English for Corporate Communication ’16)

Be the Change: The MHIRT Experience

“I had the opportunity to classify specifically what type of Albinism an individual has; therefore, researchers could draw these massive classification scales for people that have Albinism in Brazil, because thus far in Brazil… nothing has ever been done for them.”
Junior Biology major JD Wolfe was one of several students selected to participate in CBU’s Minority Health and International Research Training (MHIRT) Program this past summer. MHIRT provides international research training opportunities to qualified undergraduate, graduate, and medical students from socially or economically disadvantaged groups who have been historically underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research careers.

While offering placements in both Uganda and Brazil, MHIRT stations students for 10 weeks, partnering them with leading scientists and universities within the region.

“MHIRT provides a cohort for you, pairing students in the project that most suits them. This program is unique in the sense of not only their research, but their networking… the contacts that I made while there, thanks to our program directors, were critical to my experience. I tried to meet as many people as I possibly could, because you may never see those people again, underestimating the impact they may have in your life.”

Selected students engage in research related to biomedical science, behavioral science, environmental science, carnivore conservation, and/or public health. Thanks to funding by the Fogarty International Center and the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health, all expenses in relation to the internship program are paid.

Did you know that the Albino population in Brazil is approximately 1 in 17,000? The research JD Wolfe is performing plans to study 10% of this population. His experience is just one example of the numerous strides MHIRT is making around the world.

When asked to give advice to others interested in applying for the program, he stated, “Do whatever you can possibly do to go abroad — without hesitation. Make it a priority. Make it happen.”

MHIRT applications for Summer 2014 are now available. Feel free to browse the MHIRT website for guidelines. Curious about other student testimonials? Check out the MHIRT blog!

Keep this in mind: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Defining Lasallian at World Youth Day

by Andrea Guyton (in Brazil)

Brothers and Lasallians at Copacabana Beach in Brazil

Brothers and Lasallians at Copacabana Beach in Brazil

When I was first asked the question of “What does the term ‘Lasallian’ mean to you?”, it was simple to Google and discover that faith, service, and community are part of the definition of Lasallian. But it was up to me to determine what faith, service, and community really mean.

Before going to Brazil for International Lasallian Youth Meeting (EIJL) and World Youth Day with my fellow classmates and Ms. Margretta Dobbs (Director of Campus Ministry), I was fearful, nervous, and excited all at once. I was fearful because, as a non-Catholic, I wondered if I would be pressured into converting to Catholicism from my Baptist faith. I was nervous because I would be taking my first international flight to a country where I know very few words and phrases. I was excited because I would be embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could change my life forever.

My conversion fears were put aside when I attended Mass and realized that as long as I have belief in God and truly believe that He sent His only begotten son to die for my sins, I am healed, covered, and part of royal lineage no matter what denomination I am. For the first couple of days in Brazil, I felt so alone because I knew so little Portuguese and could barely communicate with people. Once I stepped outside of my shell and reached out to others, I learned that plenty of people spoke broken English and — paired with my broken Portuguese — we could hold a good conversation!

The excitement that I felt lasted the entire trip and turned into great appreciation for a wonderful opportunity. Going to Brazil for EIJL and World Youth Day changed my life, because I feel a renewed relationship with God and discovered what faith, service, and community truly mean to me.

One of the masses was about “Googling God.” You can search the web to find God and look up facts about God, but the reality is that you must discover God for yourself. Bishop Charles of Ghana mentioned that we get richer by opening up and listening to the testimony of others. Through life experiences and sharing of faith with others, you can find your own individual path with God.

Another one of the masses was about commitment: Be committed to love and be committed to the teachings and guidance from Jesus. The Bible tells us that love conquers all and that love is kind, patient, and not self-seeking amongst other beautiful things. In order to grow in God, we have to put aside our individual desires and work with each other to increase God’s army against sin and evildoings. Matthew 28:19 tells us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The purpose of the slogan of EIJL was to encourage youth to stand strong in our belief of God and be committed to spreading the gospel of God to all.

Being amongst so many young believers in a world consumed by peer pressure, hatred, and carelessness was motivation for me to take what I learned and to be that light and hope in someone else’s life that brings them closer to God. Brother Charles of Italy spoke about “Five Ways to be Light and Hope” – mistakes, risks, trust, forgiveness, and mentorship:

  • Sometimes you have to lose yourself in order to find yourself (mistakes) – don’t be afraid to fall down because in getting up, you’re letting others know that God is always there to catch you in bad time.
  • Having faith is a risk because it is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Believing in God and believing that things have already been out in the midst of your trouble is a definite risk but that is part of being a Christian and knowing for yourself that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
  • Trusting in God is the opposite of fear. Fear should not stop us from living because when you have on the armor of God, you are prepared for any battle.
  • Forgiveness starts with inner self. We should forgive others, not because they ask us to (some will not ask or even care to ask), but to have true peace – to understand that carrying on grudges and burdens weighs us down and distances us from God.
  • The fifth way to be the light and hope is through mentorship. Experience, testimonies, and wisdom are what connect us all and by being a mentor and having a mentor, we are able to grow closer to each other and to God.

Faith is what kept me positive throughout the entire trip. I had faith that I would be safe wherever I went because God was with me. I had faith that I’d get to my destinations in a foreign country, and I had faith that no matter what happened, it happened for my good.

Service intensified to an extreme level of relation to me because through prayer, compassion, care, and friendship, we (everybody I met) served one another. When I had my first panic attack because a bridge almost collapsed, others served to make sure I was safe and well taken care of. When we were lost, we helped one another find our way. When we were hungry, we fed one another. I learned that service goes beyond the churches and cathedrals – service is part of life.

Community does not just include the people whom I am familiar with; community includes everybody. Community includes every person, young, old, and in between. For each individual person that took part in the 3.5 million believers at Copacabana Beach, we were a community the Pope Francis was excited to see.

This experience taught me the meaning of Lasallian that Google just could not provide!

 Andrea Guyton (Psychology ’14)

Fiestas and Siestas: Barcelona, Spain 2013

20130428-213640.jpgEver dreamed of a city that not only stops all types of activity from two p.m. to five p.m. in the afternoon, but also parties till six o’clock in the morning? Then you have never been to IMG_0111Barcelona, Spain. “What happens in Barcelona, stays in Barcelona,” J.D. Wolfe states as we return back home from our trip, but Barcelona was much more than a city that knew how to entertain their guests. The city is also filled with some of the most magnificent and stunning artwork, architecture, and an experience one will never forget.

​During spring break 2013 Christian Brothers University took students, family, and friends to visit and study in Barcelona, Spain and Carcassonne, France. Not only were we taken out of our comfort zone, being my first time out of the country, but we were easily adapted due the the group we were with and the outstanding kindness of everyone in the city.

“‘Take the path less traveled’: The cab rides in Barcelona were always eventful. For IMG_0109example, when no one spoke a lick of Spanish except for me and we got dropped off in an alley behind our hotel. We were all thinking our cab driver was going to kill us and he actually led us directly back to where we were suppose to be,” says University of Memphis student, Melody Caldwell. Most of the greatness of the trip should be accredited to the CBU study abroad program. Their tentativeness and particulars to detail made this trip a trip I will never forget. Honestly, my first time out of the country was with the CBU study abroad program, I graduate in May, and I am planning on going abroad with them again in 2014.

​”CBU Study Abroad trips are extraordinary for students of all ages. Our trip to Barcelona last month was an experience not to be forgotten. Seeing the Sagrada Familia and La IMG_0192Pedrera, strolling down La Rambla, dining at tapas bars, ascending Montjuic on the funicular, descending to the Underground City Museum to see excavations of Barcelona 2,000 years ago, enjoying a Flamenco performance, traveling to the Salvador Dali museum and the unbelievable medieval city of Carcassonne, France were all feasts for the senses. Our walking classroom led us to places beyond our expectations, and we were amazed,” says Ms. Barbara Kernan (and put very well I might add). I will always hold that week abroad with CBU near to my heart. You do not just learn about a new culture, you gain a deeper understanding for who you are as a person. For that, I thank CBU for having such a phenomenal itinerary planned for us in which we got to participate and live fully as a part of Barcelona, Spain and Carcassonne, France.” -Taylor Tartera, English ’13

You can view more photos on the Study Abroad’s Facebook page or Spain album.



Madeline Faber – St. Mary’s University College in Belfast

madeline“My semester at St. Mary’s University College in Belfast was a huge experience. Northern Ireland was a great fit for me because I was able to study in a country that has such a rich literary history. The curiculum is ideal for humanities majors, and it was flexible enough to satisfy my degree paradigm. St. Mary’s is small and safe and has a lot of the same characteristics that attract me to Christian Brothers. St. Mary’s makes special efforts to help the international studies integrate, and now I can say that I have friends all over Europe. I used Belfast’s harbor location to easily ferry to England and Scotland, and those trips supplemented valuable insight to my classroom learning. I encouage anyone who is thinking about having an international adventure to make an appointment with the study abroad staff. My four months in Europe continue to affect me, and I’ll always be thankful for Christian Brothers for making that incredible time possible.” - Madeline Faber, Junior English Major

Student Standpoint: Traveling Testimonials



Daryl Stephens – Florence University of the Arts

“I am currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I live in an apartment with four other students and if you were to walk out of my front door to the left, you’d hit the Arno river; to the right, Piazza della Republica and Florence’s famous Duomo. I take classes three days a week, which leaves plenty of time for me to travel and explore Florence (even though the city is extremely small). So far I’ve been all over Italy and also to France, Monaco, the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Greece. I’m headed to Munich in two weeks, and I might even be planning a trip back to Ireland before I come back home! Although I love traveling and seeing new places, it always feels great when my train or bus comes rolling back into Florence on Sunday nights. I fell in love with this city so quickly, and I know it is a place I want my family to see and experience at some point. I’m headed back to the states in less than four weeks, and I know that it is going to be hard adjusting since there is such a big cultural gap. I know it’s cheesy and every one who studies abroad says it, but I really have grown so much and learned so much more about Italy, America, and just people in general. I have made great friends and learned so much about myself and our own society by meeting other American students going through this same experience. It has been a great journey, and I’d give just about anything to comeback and do it again someday!”

- Daryl Stephens, Junior Psychology Major


P. Brennen Reynolds – Fudan University

“From the moment I landed in Beijing, I knew this was going to be a fantastic semester. After a week of touring the Great Wall, Tian’anmen Square and The Forbidden City, I flew to Shanghai to begin classes at Fudan University. It’s amazing from both an academic and social perspective! Ranked third in China, Fudan offers numerous classes taught in English about China’s society and economic development. My favorites are Western Culture from an Eastern Perspective and Financial Development in China. In the first couple of months I have made friends from all over the world and planned a trip to Nha Trang, Vietnam with them for the end of April. Everyone should study abroad. This is my second semester abroad and I can honestly say that it is a priceless experience!”

- Peter Brennen Reynolds, Senior Business Administration Major

Where Have CBU Students Been Studying?

Gina Bui and Patrick Ghant
Gina Bui
(Business Administration ’13) and Patrick Ghant (Business Administration ’14) at FH Joanneum University in the Austrian Alps. Their experieces so far are “beyond awesome.”

Left: Madeline Faber (English ’14) at St. Mary’s Belfast College  at Cave Hill, a high summit overlooking the city of Belfast. “This experience is unparallel to anything in my life…. My time has been so enriching, and school has barely begun.”
Center: Brittney Sails (Business Administration ’13) with the fabulous city of Barcelona in the background. “It’s the experience of a lifetime.”
Right: Peter Brennen Reynolds  (Business Administration ’14) sitting in one of Russia’s seats in a UN conference room. ”My summer in Fribourg, Switzerland was one that I will cherish forever. Sitting in the seats of diplomats from around the world at the United Nations Headquarters while listening to various specialists speak on everything from disarmament to intellectual property rights offers indescribable inspiration. Thanks to the many new friends and globally-influential people that I met in Switzerland, I am looking forward to leaving my mark on the world.”
Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT)
Students in the MHIRT program have the opportunity to participate in research projects in different parts of the world and present their findings at CBU and at various conferences.

Left: Liz Booker (Psychology ’12) performing her first successful dissection of a beetle larva at the biochemistry lab the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil.
Right: Justin King (Biology ’12, right) and Stephen Juel (University of Memphis, left) in the lab at the Universidade de São Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

What Are CBU Students Saying About Study Abroad?

Emily Flechas is a sophomore Psychology major who is originally from Alabama. In order to get to know more about her studies abroad, we asked her a few questions about some of the highlights from her trip.

What was your favorite place to visit in Italy and why? (Assisi, Rome, etc.)
Assisi, it just took my breath away.
What was your favorite site to see?
The underground Roman house.
What food should every one traveling to Italy try?
What did you gain most out of this experience?
A better understanding of a culture different from my own.
What would you tell students who are thinking about studying abroad?
Do it. Somehow, someway, make it work.

Maxime Boisdron (left) and Piruntha Muthukumaru (right) are both senior foreign exchange students from France majoring in Engineering. In order to get to know more about them and their native country, we asked a few questions about their hometown and their stay in America.

What are your favorite things to do in Memphis? France?
While in Memphis, they both enjoy Tiger football games and going to Beale Street. In France, Maxime enjoys eating French food while Piruntha enjoys hanging out with friends.
What is the biggest difference between France and America?
They both agree that the biggest difference is the food. Another difference is the layout of the campus; in France, that have many schools on one campus while CBU is just one university.
What French food would you suggest to Americans traveling to France?
French baguette: bread with a nice cheese and wine to compliment it.
What American food would you suggest to French citizens traveling to America?
Taco Bell.