In Review: Summer 2012 Study Abroad
Global Institute of Comparative Studies

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Though it may have seemed like eight weeks would be long arduous journey, for the students in the Summer 2012 Study Abroad Program eight weeks came and went far too quickly. The two-month trip was packed with educational and cultural opportunities including a month in Berlin, three weeks in Strasbourg and wrap-up in Paris before returning to the U.S.

Spending a semester abroad allowed students from Chancellor University to challenge themselves and return home with new ideas and perspectives about the world around them. While immersed in the language, culture, and people of the host countries, the students got to experience life as a resident, not as a mere tourist.

The best part for students? Experiencing all these things was done while earning credit towards their current degree.

Dr. Darius Navran, Program Chair, Dean, College of Professional Studies and Associate Provost at Chancellor University, served as Faculty Lead for the group of 16 students.

Highlights of the trip included academic seminars and visits to such places as the Berlin Wall, the German Parliament, and Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin; Cathedral Notre Dame, the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, the European Parliament and the U.S. Consulate General in Strasbourg; and The Louvre, Moulin Rouge, Exxon-Mobil France, and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

As student ambassadors, students were encouraged to blog ( about their experiences along the way, providing many thoughtful insights to not only what they were learning and seeing, but also to the close-knit community of peers they had become.

Study Abroad Student Insights

"Everyone is so nice, considerate, intelligent, opinionated and unique. Right away we all felt so comfortable with one another. I feel as if fate has brought us together because the way we complement each other is extraordinary. We constantly talk to one another, not one person is ever left out and conversation never gets boring." - Diana Polyak, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

Taking in the sights at the Berlin Wall

"It is difficult for me to compare the experiences that I have enjoyed while in the World Capitals program to any other academic endeavor I have been exposed to in the past. I have been immersed in the culture of Berlin as a student and as a musician. The first week I was able to meet musicians from all over the world and perform on different stages in the city." - Diego Manrique, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

"I love class with Dr. Navran because we have great discussion going in depth about so many topics involving Globalization." - Edith Campos, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

"I never expected to get so much out of a study abroad in such an amount of time. Our group already visited so many well-known historical sites and even some local ‘hidden gems’ or just nifty little places to eat and hang out together." –Curtis Hayden, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

"Our visit to the German Parliament was very informative and enlightening, I enjoyed learning about how Germany’s political system differs from our system in the US. This is truly the experience of a lifetime!" –Jan Flores, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

Sightseeing in Berlin. "Hope you’re having as much fun as we are!"

"Before I decided to study abroad, I had no idea how the European culture would be. I am longing for more knowledge about world history in general. I am so glad that I have this opportunity to be here." -Lian Xue, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

"Grüße aus der Bundestag! Olivia and I are taking a tour of the Reichstag and Bundestag building in Berlin with the rest of our group. We had the chance to see the seats of the parliament and learn how the German Government functions." -Enrique Zapata, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Ambassador

"One of the things that grabbed my attention last week was the nationalism of Germans. I had heard they were by nature very patriotic and extremely proud of their nation but I saw it during the Euro Cup when the German team played. We quickly learned; 'when in Rome, do as romans do!'" -Olivia Mugenga, GICS Study Abroad Student & Global Amabssador

“While I only just met our wonderful group of students, it feels like I have known them for a lifetime. They are all so eager to learn more about European culture. The bond between the students and I has grown strong and feels like we are all members of a big family. We learn together, eat together, walk together, shop together and console each other when needed. Being their instructor during this time is something that I will never forget.” -Dr. Darius Navran, GICS Faculty Lead

Student Reflections

Once back home from a wondrous and educational journey, Dr. Navran was surprised and thrilled to receive a number of unsolicited emails from his GICS student group with reflections on their Study Abroad experiences.

  • I have learned so much about the world, life, and about myself as well. I have grown from a careful young woman to a world traveler. This experience has truly been a blessing. I plan to take this new knowledge to better myself as a future accountant and as a person. The value of this experience will never be properly measured in words. I would like to thank everyone who helped make this dream a reality: my parents, CEPA, Chancellor University, and lastly, my study abroad family, who has made this experience one that I will never forget. - Jan Flores

  • From this study abroad program, I have gained so much knowledge about the European culture, found the beauty of languages, and realized the similarity and difference between cultures. I grew up in China and have been living in America; therefore, I have experienced both Asian and Western culture. However, the program brought me to Europe and led me to a new experience. I would never think the other side of world could be so attractive and striking. This trip has made me realize the richness in the world, and I should always explore more. I would love to discover the rest of the world. - Lian Xue

  • This entire experience has been rewarding to me in so many ways. I’ve definitely grown as an individual, and I have gained inspiration and motivation to go back home and keep reaching for my dreams. I have made long life relationships with all the other students and I have experienced cultures that have impacted me in a positive way. I have nothing but wholesome memories, and I am happy to return as an ambassador for this program. So like Miriam Beard expresses, once you have traveled you do change permanently. Our lives are different some way or the other by the ideas we believe and follow. An experience like this is forever compensating and no one or nothing can ever take that away. - Edith Campos

  • This program has been life changing and I believe that my life as an individual has officially begun. I feel that I have expanded my mind and my capacity to succeed in new situations and with challenges. The difficulties and discomforts I have overcome have strengthened my reactions and problem-solving abilities. I have learned a lot about others while also learning just as much about myself. I consider this experience to be the foundation for my desire of having a career in international relations, because I came here hoping to clear any uncertainties for what I wanted to pursue as a career. Without this experience I would not be certain if traveling internationally and living abroad was right for me. I plan to continue my studies abroad and go after opportunities internationally.Thank you Professor Navran for guiding and teaching us! I appreciate all your help and encouragement! I hope to stay in touch with you and implement my knowledge from this program into my future internships and career. - Diana Polyak.

  • I cannot be more grateful for this World Capitals program. I have learned so much and have had the time of my life. My view of the world outside of the United States has definitely broadened and I can consider myself a global well-traveled citizen. From this experience I can take away so much knowledge, culture, and amazing stories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Never did I think that by turning in my little essay that all of this would follow. I put my heart into that paper and I am so glad that I got chosen. I used to have a narrow mind of the world and this has just blown that all away. I am so humbled and cannot say how thankful I am for the World Capitals program! - Curtis Haydon

Chancellor University’s Global Institute of Comparative Studies is proud to offer this defining and life-changing course for our students. Please visit our Upcoming Programs tab ( or call us at 888.316.9377 to learn more.

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