If she could turn back time, Jennifer Gover Bannon would head straight to the mid-2000s.
Destination: Any of the farflung locales she got passport stamps from during her time working in the UI’s Study Abroad Office as an undergrad.
“During my four years at U of I, I had the opportunity to study in Egypt, Brazil and the Czech Republic. I also volunteered with International Impact in an indigenous community outside Gualapuro, Ecuador,” says Champaign’s assistant city attorney (BA ’06, political science/government).
“The U of I has such excellent study abroad programs. If I could re-live any part of my life, it would be those months spent roaming around the world.
“I also worked for a few years at the Intensive English Institute as a ‘conversation partner’ to international students studying English. Through that job, I met friends from all corners of the globe, from Colombia to the United Arab Emirates to Vietnam.
“We went to dances and dinners at the Cosmopolitan Club, and I even took Korean classes so that I could talk to some of my conversation partners.
“Last but not least, when President Obama was running for Senate, I saw him speak at the McKinley Foundation on campus. It was a relatively small venue, and he stuck around to shake hands. I remember coming away from that speech knowing he would do something big.
“For a girl who grew up in the cornfields, the U of I was a truly international education.”