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Claire’s #VolsAbroad Experience: UTK Glorious Gardens of England and France

Claire Pouncey | May Mini-term 2023

I traveled to England and France during the 2023 May mini-term with 2 faculty advisors and 14 other students. We flew into London and traveled through England seeing sites such as Stonehenge, Roman baths, and Sissinghurst Castle Garden before heading to Dover. We crossed the English Channel by ferry to Dunkirk. In France, we visited numerous gardens including Les Jardins d’Etretat, Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet, and Chateau de Versailles before entering Paris. We spent several days exploring Paris before we flew back home.

What does the Volunteer Experience mean to you and how has your experience abroad contributed to it?

To me the Volunteer Experience means having the courage to act and put others before yourself. While abroad, everyone in the group was experiencing new places and cultures. In unfamiliar territory, it can be hard to be the one who steps forward and acts. I was able to take initiative in navigating the public transportation and communicating with the French. This has made me more confident in my ability to lead at home because I was able to lead abroad.

What skills or experiences have you had in your time abroad to prepare you for life beyond UT?

I have navigated unfamiliar public transportation. I have communicated with people who do not speak the same language as me.

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