Jessie Bartels ’21 reflects on her abroad experience in Australia.
In 41 days, economics major and entrepreneurial studies minor Jessie Bartels ’21 says she created memories that will last a lifetime in Australia. While taking four classes at Curtin University, she learned to snorkel and sandboard, and visited such sites as Rottnest Island and The Pinnacles Desert before her semester abroad was cut short due to COVID-19.
“The laidback calm Australian lifestyle is something I have always wanted to immerse myself in,” says Bartels. “Every time I hear an Australian accent a smile spreads across my face because it takes me back to those incredible 41 days.”
A significant reason that Bartels chose to study abroad at Curtin University in Perth was the program’s relevance to her major. “Study abroad helped contribute to my academic study at HWS by exposing me to different types of teaching and learning settings as well as building a deeper knowledge of economics internationally,” she says. “My studies at HWS specifically prepared me for my abroad classes by providing me with the diversity of thought to value the importance of a global perspective in my studies.”
Bartels took “Applied Economics,” “Communication, Culture & Indigenous Perspectives In Business,” “Australian Studies” and “Strategic Career Design.”
“My favorite course was probably ‘Communication, Culture & Indigenous Perspectives In Business.’ I met people from all over the world in this class and loved how we all brought different perspectives to the table when we were talking about current issues and events,” she says.
At HWS, Bartels says many classes have influenced her greatly such as a sociology class with a service-learning component. “I helped out at the local soup kitchen downtown. This component helped me integrate into the Geneva community and helped me to understand how I can help out this new community that I now belonged to,” she says. Outside of the classroom, she is the treasurer of the DreamCatchers club, where students work to fulfill the last wishes of people receiving hospice care.
After graduating with her economics and entrepreneurial studies degree as well as her LEADS certificate in May, Bartels will return in the fall to student teach full-time in the Canandaigua City School District, completing her final elementary school teaching degree requirement. “HWS gave me the unique opportunity to explore and study both of my passions simultaneously, business and elementary school teaching,” says Bartels.
Bartels credits her advisor, Associate Professor of Economics H. Evren Damar, as a great support to her during her undergraduate career. “Professor Damar has been extremely helpful in advising me in how best to pursue my interest in business and economics. He has gone out of his way to build a relationship with me and help me figure out how all my varied interests can meld together in a cohesive way,” she says.
Bartels is especially grateful that she took advantage of the time she had while abroad by exploring some of the most exciting adventures Perth had to offer. “One experience abroad that really stood out was when I went snorkeling at an underwater shipwreck, called the Omeo Wreck Dive Trail. It was breathtaking and felt like I was in a movie. The water was the prettiest light blueish green. Other experiences that stood out were when I got up close and personal with kangaroos and koalas, when I visited Rottnest Island and The Pinnacles Desert” says Bartels. “Sandboarding was also unbelievable. As far as the eye could see there were these huge sand dunes, it felt like I was on top of the world.”