For Sophomore Charli Schocker Studying Abroad is Trip of Discovery
Studying abroad is much more than an opportunity for students to travel. For Charli Schocker, an agricultural education major at the University of Minnesota Crookston from Hines, Minn., a learning abroad trip to New Zealand is proof.
“I had no idea that my opportunity to visit New Zealand would be available during my first year in college,” Schocker says. “When I heard about the trip, I knew the next time the chance came around, I would have graduated, so I knew this was my time to do it.”
As part of the learning abroad experience, the class was asked to keep a journal of the experience. Prior to leaving, Schocker reflected in her writing on a few of her goals for the trip. Those goals included getting out of her comfort zone, trying new things, learning new skills, and becoming more globally aware. Over the course of her journal entries, it becomes apparent Schocker attained those goals and so much more.
“I wanted to have an adventure and to experience all the trip offered,” Schocker says. “I tried things I would have never dared to try before. I think that was partly due to the encouragement of the people I was traveling with and my deep desire not to miss out on anything.
“Traveling brought out a whole new me,” she smiles.
A 12-mile hike on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a challenging ropes course, and braving a zipline, brought Schocker closer to those in the group and allowed her to throw her old ideas out the window and as she says, “you discover who you really are.”
Her favorite spots along the way included cities as well as the country and especially a visit to a rainforest in southern New Zealand. “The scenery was beautiful, the culture was interesting, and the differences in our country and theirs opened my eyes to the world in a new way,” she says.
She credits much of her wonderful experience to the work of Professor John Loegering and Lisa Loegering, who served as advisors for the study abroad trip. “They worked so well together and are a skilled team who provided both guidance and encouragement every step of the way,” Schocker says.
“I came to the U of M Crookston because of my experience on the campus through both FFA and 4-H,” she reflects. “And, the opportunity to study abroad in one of my goal destinations was ideal. I am so grateful for the trip, for the friends I made, and for the chance to learn not only about New Zealand but also about myself.”
One of her most special mementos of the trip is a piece of jewelry, known as koru, made from greenstone commonly used in Maori art. Her pendant is in the shape of a fern and it symbolizes “new beginnings and new life.”
“My study abroad trip was that for me—a new beginning,” she says. “That is exactly what this trip meant for me, and I wish everyone could have a learning abroad experience.”
The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 40 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.