Southern Utah University Blog

First Generation Student First From SUU to Study Abroad in Estonia

Posted: June 18, 2019 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

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Recent Southern Utah University graduate Abby Stephens was both the first in her family to graduate from college, and the first SUU student to study abroad in Estonia. Stephens studied at the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) in Tallinn, Estonia for the fall 2018 semester.

Stephens, a Syracuse, Utah native, earned her bachelor's degree in economics and political science this past May. Her fascination with travel began at age 17 when she moved to Leipzig, Germany to be an International Youth Ambassador with Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange.

“I lived in a monastery, diligently studied German, and met countless German Parliament members,” Stephens said. “That experience threw me into the world of International Politics. I haven’t looked back since.”

Stephens is the first student from SUU to study in Estonia, a Baltic country that borders Russia and Latvia. Stephens knew she wanted to study somewhere different and off the beaten path. Estonia became the perfect choice after Dr. Kurt Harris, director of the Office of Learning Abroad, told her about the country.

While abroad, Stephens amiably represented SUU by working in the EducationUSA Office and to co-teaching an English course on campus.

“My study abroad experience has greatly influenced my academic career. Tallinn has been a great place to study and has offered me a plethora of new friends and wonderful memories,” Stephens said.

While attending SUU, Stephens was heavily involved with International Affairs working as an international student ambassador (ISA), a resident’s assistant for international students, and a student worker in the International Affairs office. With ISA, she has served as Secretary, Vice President of Involvement, and Vice President of Large Events.

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“ISA set me on a path for the rest of my college career,” Stephens said. “It is absolutely certain that I would not have had these experiences at a university other than SUU.”

While attending SUU, Stephens also served as secretary for SUU Legal Scholars in addition to being a member of the Honors Program and a sister in the Alpha Phi Sorority. She also participated in both the Women in Science and Engineering club and Philosophy club.

“She is a wonderful ambassador for the University and for the U.S.A.,” said Dr. Harris.

Stephens dreams of becoming an English teacher with the Peace Corp before attending law school to become an international lawyer and/or adjunct professor. She wants to ultimately help women all over the world, but especially in developing countries. SUU has set her up for success in her chosen fields.

“As a first generation college student, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first came to SUU. My professors have had a tremendous impact on not only my education, but also on my character,” Stephens said. “My hope for the future is to have a happy family that travels the world and goes to SUU football games in their spare time!”

Learn more about Stephen’s study abroad by visiting her blog, Adventuring With Abby.

See how you can study abroad with SUU by visiting the Office of Learning Abroad website.

Tags: Student College of Humanities and Social Sciences Study Abroad School of Business Political Science Economics

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