I met Jess Wise in 2014 when she came to DelVal as part of the exchange program with Hartpury College. We met again this January when I came to Hartpury for the exchange. I was able to ask her a few questions about her experience abroad in America and her opinion of the different programs.
Jess Wise, a third-year student at Hartpury College, is studying Equine Science. She has been riding since age 12, and competitively since age 18. She currently rides at the 1.10m show jumping level and Elementary level dressage, and is bringing along her own horse Juicy that she purchased last year for show jumping who she keeps on-site at Hartpury.
Q: What made you interested in applying for the study abroad semester at Delaware Valley University?
A: I had a lecture where we were all sat down and told about the exchange program and were shown a PowerPoint. At the time I wasn’t interested because I had a competition horse to look after. However, when he went lame after a tendon injury, putting him out of work for months, they spoke to us about the presentation again and it got me thinking! I’d never even thought of studying abroad because I’ve had horses to look after. However, I’m so glad I did.
Q: What were your first impressions of the DelVal Equine program compared to the Hartpury Equine program?
A: I immediately noticed huge differences. Although the subjects we were being taught were the same, Equine Behavior for example, there is huge differences in lecture content. DelVal looks at things within the topic heading from a practical perspective. The classes are taught much more practically, always doing thing rather than just listening. The classes involved the students a lot more and numbers within classes were smaller allowing you more “one-on-one” time with the teacher if necessary. However, I felt that although I loved every aspect I learned about, content was very straightforward.
Hartpury, on the other hand, has a much harder curriculum. What we learn in lectures goes into much more scientific depth, making classes harder and more confusing. To add to this, in lectures we very much get “talked at” rather being a part of a discussion. It’s harder to learn and grasp concepts.
Q: What is your opinion of the riding program at DelVal compared to Hartpury?
A: The riding at Delval was awesome! I had the best time riding Blaze and Brody. Although in my class (Comparative Techniques) the fences remained small throughout the semester, other than a few lessons where we did poles to a fence or a grid. For me personally, the exercises were not challenging. I was given Blaze and Brody to ride, however, and these two certainly made even simple exercises more complicated! I loved it; I learned so much from jumping these two tricky horses and I cannot say how much I love Angelo enough!
I never enrolled on a riding module at Hartpury because I brought my own horse Juicy, trialed and got selected for the Show Jumping Academy Development Squad. On the squad I got flat and jump training by some of the best trainers in the sport. Therefore, I decided to take all academic modules instead, as I already get to ride my own horse every day. Overall, Delval’s Equine Program was by far my favorite.
Also, I forgot to say, the staff at Delval are so much friendlier than at Hartpury. We almost considered them as friends, which made it much easier to learn from them! Plus, they were much better at responding to emails!
Q: Do you think that the exchange was able to impact your networks, employability, and resume?
A: Yes. 100%. The exchange shows that I can work efficiently and live in new and different situations and adapt myself to very big cultural changes! It shows you are independent, want to succeed, and will throw yourself out there in the real world.
Q: What was your favorite part of the exchange? Do you feel that it was beneficial for you?
A: I loved every part of the exchange. There isn’t one thing I didn’t enjoy. From class, to the friends I made, to campus life, to travelling, to riding. I could not pick one favorite memory out of so many amazing ones. The exchange was definitely beneficial. I grew up a lot being away from home and I learned heaps.
Q: Would you recommend the exchange program to other students? Is there any specific advice that you would give them?
A: Yes! I recommend DelVal to everyone. It was the best semester and best 4 months of my whole life to date. I just wish we could have stayed for longer! I even wanted to transfer!
Advice I would give is pretty self-explanatory: put yourself out there to make friends – everyone is very friendly compared to in the UK so it’s much easier. However, I’m so glad I actively went out and introduced myself to people and made friends, otherwise the experience wouldn’t have been as memorable. Make sure you travel; I wish I had taken more time to travel around places. However, I was busy with doing the extra Equine Massage Certification course! Which, by the way, was fantastic!
Just take every opportunity you can, join every club. If you get the option to be a part of something, then take it. I did so many new things for the first time and had great times doing them.
Q: What are your plans following graduation?
A: Travel back to America and visit DelVal? Haha. But seriously, I have no idea. I think I am going to base myself with a professional showjumper and work for them and get trained by them for a bit, and see where that leads me!