Hello! My name is Mikaela Miller, and I am a pretty lucky gal to be both a Chancellor’s Scholar and a student going on the CSI trip! I am originally from Arizona, and I plan on packing as much sunshine as I possibly can to bring to the rainy and cool Scandinavia. I am a senior at TCU, majoring in Biology with minors in Mathematics and Chemistry. My summer is absolutely perfect as it is packed with applications to medical school and travel. My journeys not only include Scandinavia but also a month of backpacking around most of Europe with another CSI traveler (who happens to bear the same fantastic last name as I, and no, we are not related).
I believe it was my sophomore year of college when I attended a sort of “town hall” meeting with the Chancellor’s Scholars to discuss our likes, dislikes, and ideas. TCU has been moving towards making the Chancellor’s Scholarship about more than just the money. They want it to be a whole program with many other benefits, and they hoped to reach out to us to hear what we wanted out of being a part of this prestigious cohort. Out of this town hall meeting arose the idea of a study abroad trip exclusively for us. Thus, CSI: Scandinavia was born. It is pretty darn cool that I go to a school that wanted to hear my ideas, made those ideas come to life, and now I get to benefit from this wonderful opportunity. It makes this trip so special and exciting for me, and it is one of the many reasons why I am so honored and thankful to be a horned frog.
My expectations are very high, as I know multiple people who were on the trip last year, and they all loved it! I was also very lucky to be able to go on one of the honor’s study abroad trips (Cultural Pilgrimages) after my freshman year, and I had the time of my life. The best part of that trip was traveling with other like-minded, highly intellectual, and passionate students, which will be similar to the dynamic on CSI! Everyone on the trip was committed to engaging with the cities, broadening their perspective, and participating in the culture. It made the experience so fruitful for me, so I have high expectations that I will get to explore Scandinavia with the same high level of engagement that I experienced before.
My specific interests for this trip are as follows:
One of the great things about travel is getting to come into contact with the unfamiliar. It reminds me that there is not one simple way of doing life and what I may believe to be “right” is only one miniscule piece of the puzzle. Currently, a very controversial topic in American politics is healthcare and whether it should be privatized or socialized or a mixture of both.
Scandinavia uses socialized healthcare systems, which is much different than what we are familiar with in the U.S.. Due to my interests in health and medicine, I am curious to see how the system works for individuals in the countries that we are visiting. What are the pros and cons? What does a socialized healthcare system mean for their countries as a whole?
I am a big fan of the outdoors! This summer alone I have already had the privilege of backpacking the trans-Catalina trail on Catalina Island and the Narrows in Zion. I love being active, and I love taking advantage of my health and allowing my own two legs to take me to places that are not seen by everyone. It is so fascinating to me how much the outdoors is a way of life to people in Scandinavia, especially in Norway. I am excited to “trek the trails” and experience their culture in this way.
I fully believe that one of the best activities you can do in another country is to eat! It is such a cultural experience from learning what the norms are to tasting the local favorites to sitting around a table with good company and simply learning from their perspective. I cannot wait for good food with insightful friends in delightful countries.