Meet Ashley! An alumni’s perspective on study abroad!

Ashley Gaumer. University of Montana Alumni.
1.Where did you study abroad?

I studied in both Cork, Ireland and Kodiakanal, Tamil Nadu, India.

2.When did you study abroad?

2010, my sophomore year and 2013, my senior year.

3.What made you decide to study abroad?

When I was growing up my Dad traveled all the time. I was lucky enough to travel with him throughout the United States but I was always intrigued by his international adventures. He always came home with trinkets for us kids but even better stories. On time he ran over my necklace as he left for the airport to go to Ireland and when he returned he had brought me an Irish necklace to replace it. I still have the necklace today and I think that is what ultimately sparked my interest in Ireland (well that and P.S. I Love You).

4.How has studying abroad helped you in your job/career today?

I am a teacher. Just the other day my Freshman class randomly fired off questions to me about India. They were so interested in my experiences there. What I loved most about it is how excited they were about telling me their dreams of one day studying abroad too. I think that if you study abroad to help you in your career that’s great, but I think you’ll find that it is so much more valuable than that. You truly can’t put a price on experiences, finding yourself, and learning how to connect with people. And I think finding confidence in yourself and loving people is what life is all about, even if you do have a desk job.

5.Has studying abroad helped you get a job?

I studied abroad in India to complete my student teaching. I think it is really hard to find diversity when  leaving the University of Montana’s teaching program. I chose do something that clearly set me apart from  the other applicants at my current job. I also gained so much experience teaching in a foreign country that I  had really unique things to talk about in my interview. I never would have studied abroad in India if I hadn’t  studied abroad in Ireland.

6.Do you use what you learned from studying abroad in your life/work today?

Every day. Life has a way of pushing your comfort zone every day. There’s no tangible way I can say that learned from studying abroad. I found confidence in myself, in others, I found joy in even the smallest of situations. I think that studying abroad taught me to find myself and that’s what makes me love life.

7.Do employers like to see that you have studied abroad?

I think employers love to see that you took a risk in your college career; especially in Montana. Like I said before, it’s hard to find that diversity when every person in your major took the same classes, completed the same practicum hours, etc. Studying abroad gives you a way to set yourself apart on paper so that you score the interview later.

8.Would you recommend studying abroad to other students at UM and why?

If there is one thing I think everyone should do, it’s study abroad. There is truly no other experience like it. It’s not vacation (although it is about as fun) which isn’t reality. It is real, it’s your life. I don’t think you can learn the things about the world, others, and yourself like you can when you immerse yourself in a completely new culture. If you are considering studying abroad, just go! I promise you won’t regret it.


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Claire Chandler

Adventure is merely inconvenience rightly considered.


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