Students plot study abroad experiences on new map

Rachel Thompson

A colorful world map covered with pins placed by Longhorns on cities in which they have studied abroad was mounted in the map room of the Perry-Castañeda Library earlier this week and was unveiled Monday.

The map has been an ongoing project of the Study Abroad Office, the University Libraries and the Student Senate Academic Enrichment Committee.

Psychology senior Anne Marie Norman was co-chair of the project and said the idea was to coordinate with the libraries to create a map that showed the variety of destinations students to which students choose to travel.

“We’ve covered every continent,” Norman said. “The funniest part was we got Antarctica before Australia.”

Norman said the map can be marked by anyone who has studied abroad and by international students, who can mark their home countries with pins amongst the destinations of other students.

Katherine Strickland, spokeswoman for PCL Reference Services’ Maps Unit, said the project is ongoing, and students who return home from studying abroad are encouraged to come to the map room and leave their pins.

“I’m excited that it’s interactive and that it will continue to grow,” Strickland said.

The map was carried and displayed around campus as part of “Map Mondays” during September and October. Students passing by were asked to place a pin on their study abroad destination and share their individual experiences.

“It’s really interesting to see where people go,” said ancient history and classical civilization and Latin sophomore Andrew Zigler, co-chair of the project. “It’s even more interesting to see where students haven’t gone. We hope to see it grow. It’s like this seed that we’ve planted, and we want to see it get better.”

Study abroad is an opportunity to take courses of interest in a new setting and gain insight as to what another part of the world is really like, said youth and community studies senior and Study Abroad peer adviser Alejandra Santillanes.

“I was more focused on the courses than the location,” Santillanes said. “It was an interesting way for me to learn about sports abroad. It definitely allows for an open mind.”

The project has been nearly two years in the making, and Norman said it has been a rewarding experience to take part in.

“The best part was talking to students and hearing their experiences,” she said. “We’re collecting pins and stories.”

Printed on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as: Study abroad cities pinpointed on map