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Study Abroad

Madison May

Hometown: Prairie Village, KS

Where I studied abroad: Semester at Sea

Major:  Political Science & International Studies

Favorite Foreign Food:  Naan (India)

Favorite city/site visited while abroad: Kyoto, Japan was one of my favorite stops. Japan in general is a clean, safe, beautiful country with incredibly nice people and amazing food, but Kyoto in particular was such a cool experience. The city is sprinkled with ancient pagodas and some people still wear the traditional kimono.

My next trip is going to be to:  I’d love to do a semester in Istanbul, Turkey. I also hope to backpack all through South America.


My study abroad experience was not quite the traditional exchange most students have. I lived on a ship for four months and quite literally sailed around the world. What was so unexpected and remarkable, though, was the people I met on the ship. I have never felt like I belonged to a community of people so fervently before. My network of close friends now spans the globe, from Argentina to Switzerland, from Egypt to China, and I have learned that these are friends that I will keep for a lifetime because we have so much in common. We hiked the Great Wall of China in the excruciating cold, saw heart-wrenching images of the war memorial in Vietnam, sang Karaoke in Tokyo, explored an abandoned Burmese kingdom from a hot air balloon, witnessed the majesty of the Taj Mahal, ran through waterfalls in Mauritius, bungee jumped in South Africa, rolled down the sand dunes of Namibia, camel trekked through the Moroccan Sahara, sat beneath the Eiffel Tower at sunset, paraglided through the Swiss Alps, and the list goes on. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime, but I know that for me, this was just the beginning. 




Riding a camel in the Sahara Desert (Morocco)



Sitting at the peak of Lion’s Head in Cape Town, South Africa



Getting blessed by a Buddhist monk in Siem Reap, Cambodia



Paragliding in the Swiss Alps (Switzerland)



Visiting the Hong Kong night market with my host family



Advice for future study abroad students: You will never find the perfect timing. It won’t happen, so you have to decide what’s more important and then just go. No looking back at what you might miss at home.