There are many opportunities available for chemistry majors who wish to study abroad. For some examples, read here about the experiences of three of our recent graduates who studied abroad while at St. Thomas.
Deciding to become a chemistry major at the University of Saint Thomas was a big step in pursuing my academic goals. With this huge decision on my major field, I felt that my intentions to study abroad were shattered. I had never heard of any chemistry students going abroad, it just simply would not fit into the busy four years of curriculum! However, studying abroad through the chemistry department is just as easy and exciting as it would be for any other major.
I went abroad to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in Spring semester of my junior year. Financially, the cost taking courses abroad in Scotland and here at UST were similar. Also, with chemistry majors being an under-represented major field for studying abroad, I received a Thomas Scholarship to help with tuition. While I was studying in Edinburgh, I took an environmental chemistry course that is currently not offered at UST, as well as a biological chemistry course. The environmental class was taught as a series of different lecture topics ranging from atmospheric chemistry, toxicology and green chemistry, with each topic taught by a professor skilled in that field. For each course, the lecture was accompanied by laboratory course, just as it is here. Both classes abroad adequately fulfilled requirements for my major at UST.
Learning science, specifically chemistry, taught in a different country and in a different way was challenging, but the experiences and the knowledge I gained from studying abroad are priceless.
Studying abroad as an undergraduate was never a difficult decision for me to make. I entered college knowing that I would pursue this venture even before I had determined my major. Not for one moment did I let my choice of becoming a chemistry major influence my decision to experience what the rest of the world had to offer.
So in Spring semester 2006 I headed off to the National University of Ireland, Galway, to experience the Irish traditions and travel Europe, while having the time of my life! I decided to take the semester off from science courses, however, this did not affect my graduation plans. Even though the course load for any chemistry major is very difficult, it is still possible to graduate in four years with a B.S. in chemistry, along with studying abroad for an entire semester. Going abroad is a top recommendation that I could offer for any college student. The experiences and friendships gained from doing this will last a lifetime and far exceed the stress levels of becoming a great scientist.
My decision to spend a semester in China was really on a whim. While filling out the application I decided that instead of going to Austria as I had planned, I would take a leap and head for the unknown. What a fantastic decision that proved to be. Studying abroad was one of the most experience-rich parts of my education at St. Thomas, and I was still able to complete a BS in chemistry in four years. I would recommend it to any Chemistry major, as it gives a lot of good life lessons and perspective to balance out those endless hours in the lab.
My first semester in China I spent three of the four months in Chongqing, a city in southwestern China on the Yangtze River. There I took courses in language, culture, history, and Chinese martial arts. There were very few foreigners in that part of China so I was greeted with a keen interest and warm welcome. In a larger group of about twenty I travelled extensively throughout China. Highlights included the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the Terra Cotta Soldiers in Xi'an, the panda reserve in Chengdu, the monumental Three Gorges Dam project down-river from Chongqing, and scenery reminiscent of a Dr. Suess book in Guilin. I also travelled with several friends to Thailand, Hong Kong, and Macau.