When it comes to studying abroad next fall, Lauren Candemeres, a senior government and world affairs major, has never been more ready for it in her life. Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Candemeres has been dying to get into this particular program for quite some time. In her case, the third time really was the charm.
“I applied two times beforehand, including last spring,” Candemeres said. “Although I didn’t get in twice, I’m glad that I applied again. Everyone, especially my professors, really encouraged me, and now here I am; and I’m super excited.”
In the meantime, Candemeres studied abroad in Rome last fall semester, which really gave her a head start on experiencing what it’s like to live out of the country for six months. While studying abroad (for her GWA major), she also had an internship and stayed with a host family.
“I know it’s cliche to say this, but it was seriously life changing,” Candemeres said. “I learned some of the language from living with the family and still keep in touch with a lot of people that I’ve met along the way.”
During her time in the honors program at Oxford, Candemeres will be focusing on international relations and politics and the media. Her main study will be conflict diplomacy and how different countries react to it. She will also be researching how politics affects the internet.
Candemeres is most excited about interacting with other Oxford students and exploring the area in general. Apart from her studies, she hopes to visit Rome again, as well as Spain and Greece. She also plans on going out to the pubs and attending various beer festivals in London in her spare time.
Candemeres’ only concern regarding the Oxford program is the studying itself. “My biggest worry is not being able to keep up,” Candemeres said. “I think the professors there expect more from you because they are used to working with incredibly intelligent students. I think I can do it though.”
Candemeres is a part of the Model United Nations organization, as well as a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta. In her free time, she enjoys drawing and yoga. After graduation, she plans on getting her PhD at a graduate school and becoming a professor.
She also wants to travel and do more research on conflict resolution and development. However, Candemeres’ biggest goal is to help bring the internet to places that still don’t have it.
Christina Nestor, a junior history major and one of Candemeres’ closest friends at UT, admires her confidence and determination to accomplish any dream that she has. “Lauren is an intelligent free spirit who will travel the world and make a difference,” Nestor said. “I commend her on not giving up on this dream; she’s applied a few times before but never let rejection stop her.”
Although Nestor is sad to see her friend go, she is extremely happy for her.
“She’s getting an opportunity of a lifetime. I wish her the best of luck and can’t wait to hear all the stories she’ll have to share.”
“I’ve had Lauren for four classes now, and she is a smart and hard-working student, as well as a good writer,” said Liv Coleman, one of Candemeres’ professors at UT. “One of her particular strengths is ‘big picture’ thinking about developments in world politics.”
Coleman teaches various classes, such as introduction to government & world affairs. Last spring, Candemeres told her that she had applied to the Oxford program, but had not been accepted. Coleman encouraged her to apply again.
“I was very confident in her abilities to do independent study and research,” Coleman said.”I think this will be a great opportunity for Lauren to pursue her specialized studies in depth at Oxford,” Coleman said.
To Victoria Suslovich, there is nothing more thrilling in the world than traveling. Suslovich is a junior biology major from Boston and has been on an alternative break to Costa Rica for two weeks, but has never studied abroad before. This will be her first time going to Europe, as well.
“I was so happy after finding out I got accepted into the Oxford program,” said Suslovich. “I looked at a lot of other programs, as well, but what’s cool about the honors program is that it’s financially better. Everything just sort of fell into place.”
Suslovich is the president of Beta Beta Beta (the national biological honor society) and a sister of Delta Zeta. She is also a part of PLF (President’s Leadership Fellows) and works as a lab assistant for the biology labs at UT. On her spare time, she likes to run, paint, cook and do yoga.
While abroad, Suslovich will be focusing on agriculture, more specifically, sustainability and public health. She, as well as the other two UT students who got accepted into the program, will be meeting one on one with a professor for their tutorials, rather than sitting in a classroom lecture.
Suslovich is most excited to experience the culture overrall. She plans on learning as much as she can and attending various seminars, as well as joining a student club. “I was looking at a women’s science and engineering club, which I might be interested in joining,” she said.
Besides her studies, she hopes to do a lot of traveling and is excited to show her mom around when she visits. Suslovich is especially looking forward to visiting Bath in England. “It might sound weird, but I took Latin in high school and we learned a lot about it, so I really want to go there,” she said.
Although Suslovich is more anxious than nervous, her only concern is sticking out like a sore thumb. “I think the first few weeks will be hard, like figuring out how to use the transit system,” said Suslovich. “I just don’t want to be seen as this goofy, stereotypical American girl.”
Annie Dickey, a freshman biology (premed) major and Suslovich’s little (in her sorority), describes her big as the girl who can light up any situation and admires her for her love for science.
“Having biology as a major will knock you down, stand you up, and knock you down again,” said Dickey. “The fact that Tori has gotten almost straight A’s in this major is amazing. Her persistence and consistency drives me to want to be as good of a student as she is.”
Dickey says she can’t think of anyone else who deserves this more. “I am so proud of her,” she said. “It makes me so happy to see all of her hard work finally paying off. All of the late nights in the library, missed social outings with friends, and confusing long biology words later and she now finally gets to live her dreams.”
Although Suslovich is still searching for her soul and dream job, she is most interested in working with the environment. She would also like to teach abroad someday.
Madison Irwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org