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8 nations in 5 months, plus Vatican for Easter: Study abroad was ‘awesome’

Andalusia High School alumna Katrine Christensen continued a family tradition when she traveled to eight countries in five months as part of a study abroad program through the University of Dallas.

Christensen is the fourth in her family to participate in the program. She followed the footsteps of her mother, Anne Christensen; her oldest sister, Christina Christensen; and her older sister Elizabeth Christensen, all of whom graduated or are currently enrolled in the University of Dallas.

“It is super cool,” Christensen said. “By going to the university that all my family has gone to, the professors already have a knowledge of who I am and who my family is.”

Christensen traveled to Greece, Italy, Denmark, France, Belgium, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

“I would have to say that Greece was my favorite country,” Christensen said. “I grew up reading the Percy Jackson books so it was amazing to see how everything was actually there. Like, the Parthenon was in the Percy Jackson books and it was amazing to actually stand there and say, ‘I’m really here looking at the Parthenon.’”

While Christensen was abroad, she took several different classes that will count as college credits including Italian, western civilization, western theological tradition, literary tradition, human person, art and architecture.

“Italian was definitely my favorite class,” Christensen said. “My professor was someone who was born and reared in Italy so she made sure that we practiced the language around town. We weren’t allowed to speak English unless we absolutely needed to.”

Christensen is Catholic, and the University of Dallas is a Catholic University. While in Rome, she and others participating in the study abroad program had the opportunity to visit the Vatican, and they attended an Easter Sunday service with the pope.

“There are no other words to describe it than amazing,” Christensen said. “The University of Dallas was able to get us tickets to the Easter Mass with the Pope and it was unbelievable. There was a humongous crowd, with people from all over the world, and people speaking so many languages. It was crazy.”

Christensen said that there is a big rivalry at the University of Dallas between the students who study abroad during the fall, and those who go during the spring.

“It is an ongoing joke in my house because every single person in my family has gone during the fall, except me,” Christensen said. “I just knew that I had to choose to go with my friends.”

Christensen is also active in many extracurricular activities at the University of Dallas, including being an officer in her swing dance club, being in the drama department, helping with lighting and being a stage manager in senior productions, and being a member of Crusaders for Life, a pro-life organization.

Christensen is a rising junior double majoring in philosophy and drama, with the hopes of acting one day.