Hannah Young '13

  • Major: Government and Legal Studies
  • Minor: Economics
  • Study Abroad Program: IES, European Union

Hannah YoungWhy did you decide to study abroad and why did you decide to spend your semester in Germany specifically?

I have always knew I wanted to study abroad because I really believe that traveling and experiencing different ways of life are integral in shaping an informed and open-minded world view. When deciding where to go I looked for programs that would meaningfully relate to my studies and that would allow me to travel as much as possible. I chose the IES EU program because I wanted to broaden my studies of multilateral organizations and European politics, the EU was a particularly salient region during my junior year, and the program had a lot of study based travel incorporated in its semester schedule.

Tell us about your study abroad experience in and outside of the classroom. 

My abroad courses were incredibly valuable because they gave me an incredibly comprehensive and deep understanding of the EU and European politics, which I was then able to closely follow and understand in the news outside of class as well.The academics were a little unusual, however, because our course material was frequently compounded into intensive chunks to work around our study trips, which were incredibly informative and allowed us to visit EU institutions, speak with EU politicians in person, and experience many different cities. Outside the classroom I got to enjoy the sunny university city of Freiburg, which was an idyllic location for studying abroad. Freiburg, apart from being known as "the sunniest city in Germany," was always full of student discounts, young and interesting people, entertainment, and wonderful public transportation and was nestled in the Black Forest, which I got to hike around a lot. I was always happy to return to Freiburg, but also immensely enjoyed traveling to an array of European capitals and exploring what many different European countries offered. 

How did you connect your off-campus study with your Bowdoin academics and extracurriculars, both before leaving and upon your return?

I ultimately ended up completing an Honors Project under the guidance of Professor Laura Henry on a topic I began studying while abroad. I also was lucky enough to receive a grant from Bowdoin to travel to the Claremont EU Center of Excellence to present, and ultimately publish, a portion of my Honors Project at an EU-focused conference. From this conference, I also got to participate in an EU Centers of Excellence sponsored study tour to Brussels immediately following graduation, where I got to visit many EU institutions and think tanks. 

What do you believe was the value of study abroad for you academically and personally? 

Studying abroad unquestionably impacted my academic experience at Bowdoin and really let me explore my interest in EU politics. Being abroad also has made me so much more independent and fearless as a person, there are fewer things more satisfying than successfully integrating into a different culture and creating your own experience in an unfamiliar place. 

Does international work or travel figure into any of your future plans?

I was lucky enough to just return from a study tour to Brussels and start a job at a consulting firm in Portland, ME that has about 50% international clients. I look forward to learning more about international markets and hopefully working and traveling abroad in the future.