UVA Students Share Their Summer Experiences, Abroad and at Home

The Class of 2018’s walk down the Lawn for Final Exercises in May marked the end of the academic year at the University of Virginia, and Grounds suddenly became a little quieter. (More than 1,000 students, however, remained in Charlottesville to take summer courses.)

But while many students left Charlottesville, they are still learning. Some secured internships, while others are traveling out of the country to gain new experiences while studying abroad.

This summer, 400 UVA students are studying all over the globe, according to UVA’s International Studies Office. From learning about architecture in Italy to marine biology in the Bahamas, students have the opportunity to choose from a variety of programs and to explore various fields of study.

One of these programs is the UVA in Valencia program, where rising fourth-year student Grant Frazier has been attending both summer sessions in Spain. The program, which the University has overseen since 1983, offers courses in Spanish language, literature, culture and business. For Frazier, getting out of his comfort zone was crucial to his experience abroad.

“Some of the coolest and most unforgettable moments I’ve experienced here in Spain and in Europe were things I was unsure of or afraid to do at first,” he said. “That’s what I want to take back to UVA and use in my daily life.”

Stateside, students are taking the opportunity to work at various companies and institutions as interns. According the UVA Career Center, more than 4,000 UVA students headed to a career-related internship or other employment during the summer.

Rising third-year nursing student Natasha Coleman landed a summer internship with the Richmond City Health District, where she is shadowing nurses and nurse practitioners in clinics located in public housing communities throughout Richmond.

She said she found herself on the opposite side of a community she knew personally.   

“I grew up in a low-income household, with similar experiences as the clients the clinics serve, but I’m on the other side because I’ve ‘made it out’ of that community and am getting a degree to further help people who look like me and have lived lives similar to mine,” Coleman said.

Coleman found working with patients made her internship experience meaningful. She heard patients’ stories and was able to “offer my perspective as someone who truly understands their situations. It’s comforting for them and myself as I go back to Grounds in August to start my third year.”

These are just a few examples of how UVA students are spending their summer. Here’s how other ’Hoos are keeping busy working at internships and studying abroad:

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