The Office of Alumnae Relations recently held two Zoom events highlighting the advantages of study abroad from Meredith Brown, ʼ20, and the travel experiences of Betty Webb, ʼ67.
On May 7, Meredith Brown, ʼ20, presented her experience studying abroad in the United Kingdom and Italy as well as completing an internship with Habitat for Humanity in Sydney, Australia. The summer study abroad experience was her first time traveling abroad and her first time on a plane was the month prior to her departure.
As an introvert in high school, Brown’s study abroad experience instilled confidence. She is now comfortable traveling with a group and independently. Brown highlighted some of the benefits of studying abroad, including: experiences can be customized to meet specific needs and goals, students gain invaluable skills and strengths such as adaptability and flexibility, a study abroad experience stands out to employers, and it is a worthwhile investment in yourself.
Brown acknowledged the impact donor support had on her ability to study abroad. “I honestly would not have been able to study abroad without the help of scholarships and all the resources on campus. Donors like you are providing a once in a lifetime opportunity for students. It only makes me want to give back because I want to be able to inspire students to study abroad as well.”
Denise Parker, associate director of alumnae relations, was pleased to have Brown share her travel experiences as well as highlight some of the other study abroad opportunities offered by the Office of International Programs. “Meredith did a wonderful job sharing her study abroad experiences during this unusual time when we are unable to physically travel. Alumnae and friends always enjoy hearing from our students.”
On May 12, alumnae had the opportunity to ask anything of Professor Emerita Betty Webb via a Zoom event. Moderated by Webb’s husband, John Rose, the event provided an hour of enjoyment as Webb answered questions submitted by alumnae prior to the event. Alumnae were interested in her many years as an English professor and director of study abroad as well as the multitude of travel experiences she and Rose have experienced with and without students.
Webb shared her journey to Meredith as a student and her early dream of being a journalist. In the end, she student taught at Apex High and fell in love with teaching. After earning her master’s degree in English from NC State she went back to Apex High and eventually joined the English Department at Meredith.
Soon after returning to Meredith, Roger Crook asked Webb to direct the study abroad program in 1977. She has many fascinating and funny stories but when asked about one of her fondest memories, she recalled watching a student with European ancestors connect with her family while studying in Italy.
“I consider my principal achievement with study abroad to be how collaborative it is throughout the College. Brooke Shurer and Liz Yaros and the whole team in the Study Abroad Office have done an amazing job.”
Highlights of the event included Webb’s most astonishing travel story, favorite travel mementos, how travel has changed, where she would live, favorite dishes to eat, and what to pack when you travel.
Webb has visited over 60 countries, but if only given the chance to visit three countries in Europe, she would recommend England, France, and Italy. Her recommendation for three other places in the world are Switzerland, Nepal, and Africa because of the cultural variety.
The virtual event was very popular with alumnae and friends. More than 125 people participated in the Zoom event, some even residing in Italy and the United Kingdom.
“We asked, and alumnae answered! We requested questions for the event and the alumnae responded in vast numbers. Dr. Webb and John Rose have touched many alumnae either by way of an English class, study abroad, or alumnae travel. This was a chance for us to hear and see them again during these unusual times”, said Parker.
Throughout the global pandemic, the Office of Alumnae Relations has continued to connect alumnae with one another as well as with the College. In addition to these two virtual events, the office has coordinated over 20 virtual events for alumnae, students, and friends of the College.