If you asked Anna Democko during her first year what college had in store for her, the answer would have been vague. At that point she wasn’t sure what to major in and had no plans of going any further than Milledgeville from her family and friends.
“I came in as an undecided major because I had no idea what I wanted to do. One of my best friends was a history major. When she took me to the majors fair and introduced me to faculty, I realized history was something I could enjoy,” she said.
Not only did she quickly find her place at Georgia College, but she also thrived as she learned more about herself and her goals for the future.
“One of the things that makes me really glad I came to Georgia College is that I know that at a larger school or a school that’s more focused on research than teaching, I may not have had some of the opportunities that I’ve had here,” said Democko.
The biggest of those came as an opportunity to study abroad at Oxford University in England, one of the most prestigious and well-known universities in the world. She became the first Georgia College student to take advantage of this new partnership between Georgia College and Oxford during the fall 2015 semester.
“Georgia College really does foster independence and helps you learn how to be someone who, for example, can go to another country,” said Democko. “The liberal arts education here also helps by allowing us to learn a lot of different subjects. You have to be able to switch from thinking very analytically for a math class to creatively in literature, so just being able to shift and having all that knowledge really helped me while I was over there. “
During her time at Oxford, she impressed faculty with her dedication and work ethic.
“The Regents Park, Oxford Program is, with its focus on tutorial-style teaching and learning, very reading- and writing-intensive,” said Dr. Steven Elliot-Gower, director of the Georgia College Honors Program. “Anna apparently adapted very well to the demanding style of instruction at Oxford University. Her dons wrote glowing reviews of her work.”
Her time studying across the pond gave her new experiences both in and out of the classroom.
“I met a lot of really great students there that I’m still in touch with, and working with my tutors over there I learned a lot,” said Democko. “I was also fortunate to see a lot of really great speakers that came to Oxford. I saw Elton John, Vanessa Redgrave, Eva Longoria, just a lot of different people. It was really cool.”
Ever involved, Democko has taken advantage of every opportunity during her college career, from jumping head first into the Oxford Program to taking part in the Georgia College Honors Program to creating a cross-campus collaboration for campus and the community to enjoy.
“I had the opportunity to put together an exhibit about African art that was very interesting because it combined the history and art departments,” said Democko, who is minoring in museum studies. “I got to combine my museum studies faculty with history faculty, and it all came together to make this really cool exhibit that included artifacts and a panel discussion with experts.”
With the sky as her limit, her plans for the future include continuing to unite her two passions she was able to discover while at Georgia College: history and museum studies.
“My dream is to work in a museum, a history museum if possible, and be a curator or work in the education department,” she said.
To find out more about the Georgia College Oxford Experience, contact the International Education Center at 478-445-4789.