In October 2019 I was accepted into the Croatia Study Abroad 2020 Program and I could not have been more excited. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 I was unable to travel with the Summer 2020 program or the Summer 2021 program despite being accepted. Although I was very disappointed, I was given the opportunity to participate in a directed study led by Jessi. Not only did HONS 490 account for my study abroad credit, it also was counted as a honors class which was super exciting. This study provided us with the unique experience of working with Dutch students to create a social innovation in response to the global pandemic. We were scheduled to meet three times but my group met once a week until the deadline of the assignment which allowed us to really interact with each other. My partners, Natalia and Justine, were easy to work with and quickly became friends of mine. As a group, we came up with a wellness app that was created to combat the mental health issues many people were struggling with during the pandemic. Additionally, we recorded a 15-minute podcast where we compared the effects of COVID in the United States to COVID in the Netherlands. Through this directed study I was truly exposed to the effects of COVID outside of the United States and learned how differently other countries were handling the pandemic. It was such an eye-opening experience! Despite the fact I didn’t get to travel anywhere, this class really exposed me to the Dutch culture and introduced me to so many things I wouldn’t have been able to understand if I had traveled there. This unplanned class that randomly became apart of my Spring 2021 course load ended up being my favorite class of the semester and one I will always remember.
Below I have attached an in-depth reflection of the class that discussed that project more in detail! This paper was submitted as part of the final requirements of the class. I decided to include this artifact because I believe it really overviewed the entire project and experience well.