Some juniors who recently returned from abroad say that they are adjusting to their structured schedule, but miss the exciting aspects of being away from home. Juniors Emily Van Saun and Madeline Burbank studied abroad last semester in Vienna, Austria.

"Sometimes it was nice to take advantage of not having a schedule abroad," Burbank said. "But it is nice coming back and getting back into the swing of things."

Junior Meredith Hawkins studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. She misses the mystery of not knowing what each day will hold, she said.

"I learned so many things from going abroad," Hawkins said. "I had to always be prepared for anything."

Hawkins lived with four different families in Cape Town before settling in an apartment for her last month in the city, she said. The faculty in the study abroad office helped her to feel prepared for her program, she said.

The Office of International Education had both Van Saun and Burbank participate in a three-week intensive program in which they learned about German culture and language, and they took trips around the city, Van Saun said. "It forced us to do things we wouldn't have done or known about on our own," she said.

Junior Ethan Wolf studied abroad in Brisbane, Australia, with 12 other Richmond students, he said. "We traveled to a lot of different cities and we didn't have much schoolwork," Wolf said.

Though all four students said they had thoroughly enjoyed their semester abroad, there were things they missed about home and Richmond. "It was difficult to not be able to communicate with most people," Hawkins said. "I like having my Richmond community to fall back on."

At larger schools in foreign countries, Wolf, Burbank and Van Saun said they had missed seeing familiar faces while they walked around campus. "If you saw someone you knew on a campus with 40,000 students, it was a huge deal," Wolf said.

All four students said they would absolutely recommend studying abroad, especially in the cities where they lived.

"Abroad taught me that you don't really need as many things as you think you do," Hawkins said. "But a headlamp and a roll of toilet paper are good things to carry in South Africa."

Contact reporter Molly McGrath at