Jack Holmen

Jack is an Ambassador who studied abroad in South Africa
Major: Economics



Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I chose to study abroad in South Africa because I felt it would be an adventure that was out of my comfort zone. I figured I would one day eventually travel to Europe. I also knew that I wanted to spend my fall on campus, because I enjoyed the season. I liked that South Africa had a volunteer position. I went into the program thinking I was going to make a difference in someone's life.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

I was given the opportunity to work in an elementary school as a teacher's assistant. My first day there was a cultural experience in itself. The school lacked many of the basic resources an average elementary school had in the United States. The only electronic item in the room were the lights. Every student was not given pencils or basic writing materials. This first hand experience demonstrated I was in for a semester of struggle and hopefully reward.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

I had a great experience in South Africa. I truly enjoyed learning about the diverse culture and the many opportunities the nation had to offer. There history and the struggle many of there people made was very apparent in the culture.

Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad?

When it comes to studying abroad I think there are many benefits. I have become a lot more open minded when it comes to meeting new people. I am more comfortable trying new things, because when I was abroad I was forced to go outside of my comfort zone. I think when it comes time for me to enter the professional development, I will be ready to tackle situations that require more maturity and patience.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Go with your gut instinct when it comes to choosing a program. Choose a program that you think will benefit you the most. It should not matter that you are going on a program that all of your friends are choosing to go on.

Do you have questions about studying abroad in South Africa? Email Jack at jhholmen@csbsju.edu