University of South Dakota sophomore Jessie Milstead returned home last Wednesday after turmoil in Egypt forced her out of the Middle East.
"It's not a decision I wanted to make, but one I needed to make," Milstead said.
Milstead was the recipient of the Boren Scholarship, which allowed her to pursue an intensive Arabic program in Cairo.
After conditions in the country worsened, Milsead was flown to Barcelona, Spain. Originally, she was going to continue her studies in Morocco.
"I was set to go to Morocco the day I flew here, but the day before, I flew home instead," Milstea.
With conditions in Egypt, Milstead said she thought it best to return home instead of risking possible problems in Morocco.
"I wasn't willing to lose an entire semester of school," Milstead said.
Milstead said her flight back was a little out of the ordinary.
"We had an emergency landing in Iceland because someone was sick," Milstead said. "We about made it to Greenland and then we turned around."
Adapting back to the way of life in the United States has been a learning experience, Milstead said.
"You can make all these plans and then have them all completely turn around, but it still works out," she said. "I wasn't excited about getting back, but things are working out smoothly."
Milstead said she plans on arranging class options with professors at USD next week. Even though she isn't sure what she'll be able to take, she said she knows she'll continue with Arabic.
"I'm working to get back into some class places and working with professors," Milstead said. "Hopefully, it will work out with Arabic."
Even though Milstead had an unusual experience with her study abroad program, she would still advise students to consider it.
"Don't let something like this happening prevent a student from going to a place like that," Milstead said.
She said even though she was in danger, the experience has a lot to offer.
"There's a lot to learn," Milstead said. "And yes, those things happen, but it's still important to go to those places. I hope people aren't deterred from going to the Middle East."