Jessica Vork Receives International Study Abroad Award

Student profile

Jessica Vork, a Senior majoring in Biology, spent a semester immersed in the culture and language of Denmark. She received the Platinum Award Certificate for Intercultural Leadership from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.

I chose to take risks, knowing they may very well be out of my comfort zone, accepting that I would be known as “the American.” To this day, I have yet to regret any of my choices. –Jessica Vork

Jessica Vork writes:

Upon my arrival in Denmark, I chose to strongly channel Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous words “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” While I should apply this mantra to my life as a whole, I saw the DIS study abroad program as an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will never get a chance to redo and I refuse to have moments where I will wonder “what if” or “I should have.”

Fortunately, my study abroad experience was quite the opposite of being filled with terrifying moments. However, I do believe I have confronted fear in the face in a different sense. I consider myself to have a fairly passive personality and can be considered one who avoids confrontation. While I do still believe I possess some of those characteristics, I believe being in Denmark has made me a stronger, more courageous and confident women. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

I chose to take risks, knowing they may very well be out of my comfort zone, accepting that I would be known as ‘the American.’ To this day, I have yet to regret any of my choices. Each experience, whether it be living with a host family, volunteering at various events, or attending seminars I normally wouldn’t, has molded me into a person I have always wanted to become. I feel fearless, confident in my own skin and more active in pursuing my dreams whether it is to find my way to the nearest Lagkagehuset, to do better on my exam, or to take in every bit of Danish culture that time allows. It would have been much easier to take part in activities I was already accustomed to and comfortable with, while simultaneously immersing myself in the Danish culture. For example, at my home institution of Chaminade University, I was the captain of my soccer team before I chose to study in Denmark. Instead of relying on activities I was already extremely familiar with, I chose to immerse myself in those completely out of my realm, such as the Creative Painting Workshop with Anna Birk. I found these types of decisions to be very important in initiating my own cultural immersion.

Find out about Study Abroad opportunities at Chaminade.

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