Honors Study Abroad News from Ireland

[Editor’s note: Nola Grace is a recipient of an Honors study abroad scholarship.]

On June 19, I was greeted in Dublin, Ireland by two staff members from Academic Programs International (API) and 17 other American students who were preparing for internships as well!  All of the American interns and I settled into our student apartments in the heart of Dublin, and after a weekend of touring and getting acquainted with Irish culture, we dispersed throughout the city to begin our internship placements.


Nola Grace Brown, second from left, attends a Welcome Lunch in Ireland with other student interns.


Nola Grace poses for a photo after a full week of interning at the Irish Wheelchair Association.

My placement, hand-picked for me by the wonderful API staff, is at the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) in Clontarf, Ireland––a beautiful small town on the coast of Dublin.  IWA is Ireland’s leading representative organization and service provider for people with physical disabilities. On-site at their campus, they provide group exercise classes, personal one-on-one training, occupational therapy, physical therapy, wheelchair services, corporate training, outreach services, enhanced home-care services with specialized on-campus apartments, a driving school with specialized hand-controls, and sporting events with levels ranging from recreational to elite paralympic!


Nola Grace stands at the James Joyce Bridge in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, on her first traveling day.

At the time of my writing this, I have just completed my first of eight weeks of working at this amazing facility! Each day has been very unique and has come with its own challenges and adventures! So far, I have learned so much and been able to apply a great deal of what Meredith has taught me! Thanks to my fantastic Exercise and Sports Science classes at Meredith, I have felt so capable in the tasks I have been asked to take on! Additionally, thanks to the incredible preparation provided by Meredith’s amazing Office of International Programs, I have felt so confident in my traveling abilities, whether it be in my commute to my internship each day or to explore various Irish towns and countrysides on the weekends!


Honors Study Abroad Update: Costa Rica

[Ed. note: The author, Briana Petrusa, is an Honors student and athlete.]
In my month of Spanish study in Costa Rica, I had the best time ever. I learned so much Spanish and so much about the culture of Costa Rica. The people there were kind and welcoming, especially my host family. We had class almost every day of the week at a beautiful institute in the center of town. We were given fresh fruit and coffee each day at the institute.

Honors student and athlete Brianna Petrusa stands with members of her host family while studying abroad in Costa Rica this summer.

Some things we did outside the classroom included trying local food and visiting the beach. We also went to the rain-forest, to an amusement park, and even to a movie theater where we watched a movie in Spanish. Costa Rica also has the coolest malls. I went to mass with my family three times and visited a volcano with them, too.


Petrusa, pictured at right, visits a beach in Costa Rica.

My favorite part of my stay was our side-trip to La Paz. We saw beautiful waterfalls there, and so many types of animals. We also ate a lot of food. My favorite aspect of Costa Rica was the people’s laid-back mentality and an overall sense of calmness. I loved spending time with my Meredith College classmates and exploring Costa Rica with them. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and I plan to return back to Costa Rica soon. I already miss it so much! I learned so much about myself and gained a whole new family, too.

Honors student reflects on Italian culture

[Editor’s note: The author, Hannah Jones, is a recipient of a 2019 Honors study abroad scholarship. She studied in Sansepolcro, Italy, in May 2019. Below, Jones discusses her experiences, and how she hopes to implement her knowledge into her future classroom.]

Before I even stepped foot on Italian soil, my study abroad group spent a whole semester learning about the country’s culture, history, and customs. I was amazed to discover that so much of how I structure my day is dependent on where I was born geographically. Italians, unlike most Americans, have crafted and cultivated the art of appreciation, especially when it comes to time. Each morning we would drink a cappuccino and eat a pastry at Caffe Gerasmo. Then we were ready to take on a full day.


Because we were primarily studying the educational practices of Italy, we typically headed to a different school each morning to observe and ask questions. Each school was so gracious in sharing with us just what they were learning and how proud they were of their students. In Italy, it is common practice to complete your school day by 1pm, then to head home for a family lunch and an afternoon of homework or other responsibilities. Lunch is the largest meal of the day, typically several courses long and not rushed. Instead, it is the centerpiece for a culture built on family and food, which I am thankful to have caught a glimpse of through our lunches in the Palazzo Alberti. [Editor’s note: at left, students eat lunch in the Palazzo.]

After experiencing Italian culture, I am certain that I want to cultivate a lifestyle and future classroom that value quality work and integrate an attitude of appreciation for each moment that I experience and each person that I encounter. 


A group of Meredith students pose with their Onyx. Hannah Jones is pictured second from left.


5 Tips for Finishing the Spring Semester Strong

As Honors students begin to see the first flowers bloom and bright rays of sunshine that signal the start of warm weather, this time of year is also one that can be chaotic and hectic– exam season! Exams are just around the corner and will be upon us in the next few weeks. Whether you are feeling stressed or excited to take on this challenge, read on to find some tips to help you finish the semester strong!

1. Plan out your exam week schedule ahead of time– and stick to it. Sitting down and writing when all of your exams take place will help you stay in a much calmer mindset throughout, and ensure that you won’t forget any tests or assignments. Using a planner or calendar is also a huge help–this will help you make certain that you can give 100% of your time and effort to these deadlines.

2. Take breaks, and take care of yourself. This tip is a game changer. Studying and putting a lot of effort into finals is important; however, it is still crucial to find time to eat well, hydrate, sleep properly, and exercise. This combined with taking mental breaks will help you put your best foot forward during exam week.

3. Manage your time well, and don’t wait until the last minute to start studying. Set aside a period of time every day to study chunks of material rather than cramming the night before your finals start. Not only will this decrease stress and prevent your brain from being overloaded with information, but there are also countless studies that prove this is the most effective way to study for exams. This is definitely a win-win situation: there is a better chance that you receive a good grade and you are more likely to feel prepared for your exams, thereby setting you up for success.

4. Study with peers and classmates. Reviewing lessons and concepts with those who have been in your classes all semester may give you a new perspective on the material. In addition, teaching the material to others and studying in a group setting can help you retain more information.

5. Contact professors if you come across any questions regarding content and class materials. Asking these last minute questions will give you all the avenues necessary to tackle your exams head-on!


Honors students, hang on these last few weeks of the spring semester! Good luck to all on your final exams, and the Honors Program hopes you will have a fun and restful summer break!

5 Ways to Practice Self-Care over Spring Break

College is a busy time, and a journey filled with ups and downs. Although we wouldn’t trade these experiences and memories for the world, let’s face it: it can be hard to find time to relax, rest, and take time to focus on ourselves. Extended breaks and holidays are perfect opportunities to practice self-care. Below are five simple ways to help Honors students relax over spring break.

  1. Sleep! This is definitely the most important on this list. Sleep is a necessity and often sacrificed in order for Honors students to fulfill other commitments and obligations. Take advantage of this time to regain energy, and your body and mind will thank you.
  2. Spend some time outside. Whether it be taking your dog for a walk or going for a jog in the park, find time to be active. This will clear your mind and will help you come back to Meredith feeling refreshed and motivated to finish the second half of the semester.
  3. Catch up with people you don’t see as much during the chaos of college. This may be your best friends from home, your parents, or your favorite teacher from high school. Hanging out with loved ones and others who support your endeavors will provide encouragement, which in turn will keep you in a positive mindset.
  4. Schedule time away from the screen. People are spending more time than ever on social media, and technology is becoming a crucial part of day-to-day life. Although technology is fabulous, too much time on these platforms can, sadly, bring us down. It is essential to put away electronic devices in order for us to recharge and remind ourselves of our potential.
  5. Explore the world around you! Projects, tests, and assignments can make it difficult for spontaneous travel to occur. Utilize spring break to travel near or far. Try out the new coffee shop in your hometown, spend a day at the beach, or drive across the country to adventure. Whatever the expedition may be, make the most of it by soaking in every second, and taking lots of pictures!

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Happy Spring Break, Honors Angels! Enjoy your time off with friends and family, and congratulate yourself on all of your achievements so far this year!

Students prepare for Scholars’ Weekend

The spring semester is in full swing here at Meredith. February is upon us, and with that comes a fun part of being an Honors student- participating in Scholars’ Weekend! Scholars’ Weekend will be held this coming weekend, Sunday, Feb. 17- Monday, Feb. 18. This is a time in which rising college students who are qualified and interested in the Meredith Honors Program, Teaching Fellows, and other scholarships interview and get a taste of what being a Meredith student is like. The co-chairs this year are freshman Barbara Barrier and sophomore Kim Schuh. Current Honors students are helping in a variety of ways, from hosting a student in their dorm overnight, to walking groups of students around to interviews and other events held throughout the weekend.

“Students can volunteer to be Group Leaders which lead groups of prospective students around according to their group’s schedule for the day.  Another option is an Interview Leader Escort, in which the student will take certain students to their interview room location. What is most important every year is the need for students to be Overnight Hosts!  Hosts will house one or two students overnight after the stressful yet exciting day of interviews for the prospective students is over.”

-Kim Schuh, Class of 2021

Many Honors students are excited about getting to welcome and meet some prospective new Honors sisters. Students remember when they interviewed at Scholars’ Weekend and may look back fondly on the experience.

“When I pulled through the front gate for Scholars’ weekend, I was the most excited, nervous, and anxious I’d even been. I had no idea what was waiting for me. Looking back, I remember it like it was yesterday. Everyone I met was so kind and spoke highly of Meredith. After being here for a year, I understand why they loved it so much. Being surrounded by so many smart and strong women for that weekend made me so excited to start my experience here.”

-Aly Henneberry, Class of 2022


Aly Henneberry, pictured at right, poses for the photo booth during Scholars’ Weekend 2018.

Students may also remember the day that they received their acceptance to the Honors program.

“That weekend I got a taste of just how special the people of Meredith College really are! I met a few fellow Class of 2021 members, but most of all, I discovered that Meredith is where I wanted to be. I was elated to receive my admission into the Honors Program, and my parents and I celebrated the achievement with a trip to the Meredith bookstore!”

-Ashleigh Murr, Class of 2021

Current students are excited to see what this year’s Scholars’ Weekend will bring, and are grateful to the Honors program for all of the opportunities this program has provided for them thus far!

Honors Students Reflect on Holiday Break

As Honors students return to campus and adjust back to the hustle and bustle of college, many students are excited about what the new semester will bring, but also thankful for the time they were able to spend with friends, family, and loved ones. Below are excerpts from a few Honors students in which they discuss how they spent the holiday season.

“My holiday break was fun and relaxing! I went home to my family in Chapel Hill. We actually just moved, so it was the first time everyone was in the new house! Right before Christmas, we visited my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all live in South Carolina. I enjoyed delicious food, fun games, and movies with hot cocoa. I even got to spend time with my friends and my cat, Moses!”

-Kristen Viera, Class of 2021


Kristen Viera, middle, is pictured with two of her relatives.

“I was at home in Willow Springs, NC for most of the holiday break.  My mom’s family is local (they live in Buies Creek and Raleigh), so we spent time with them on Christmas and on my grandmother’s birthday.  We also visited my dad’s family in South Carolina for a few days. Probably my favorite part of break was staying with my best friend at her house in Charlotte and meeting her adorable puppy, Avery.  All in all, it was a fun and relaxing break.”

-Jane Kelley, Class of 2019


Jane Kelley, standing second from right, poses for a photo with her family.

“Over the holiday break, I made sure to cherish every last moment of 2018 with my family and friends because soon I will be embarking on a 22 hour trip to study abroad for a semester in Sydney, Australia! Holiday break consisted of lots of laughter, cookies, and good times. Spending time with loved ones is truly what makes life magical!”

-Fareena Qamar, Class of 2020

Students: Keep Going Strong!! Happy New Year, and best of luck in all of your endeavors this semester!