Voices Abroad

Monday 02/09/2015
1. Traveling abroad to Ecuador changes one student's worldview

I consider myself a Heinz 57 American.

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Friday 01/23/2015
2. BOTSWANA: The never-ending journey

It’s 1:45 a.m. in Johannesburg, South Africa and I’m sitting on a metal bench in the airport trying to occupy myself for six more hours until my plane leaves for Gaborone, Botswana. 

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Wednesday 12/10/2014
3. SEOUL: Horrors and flavors of a Korean fish market

Korea in November is frigid. November in a Korean fish market is just absurd.

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4. MADRID: Facing realities back home

It’s interesting studying abroad while major events happen back home in the states. Two instances of white cops killing black citizens have gone by without indictment and it’s hard to believe. People living in Ferguson and New York were shocked by the decision. I’m sitting almost 5,000 miles away and I’m shocked too.

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Monday 12/08/2014
5. PERTH: Last Aussie adventures

Finals are finally over! I have loved every minute of this semester but it is so great to able to say that I am done with classes until January. It’s also crazy weird that my education in Australia is over. I’ve made some awesome friends through class and I hate that I’ve had to say goodbye to them. On the bright side, finals were not at as all as stressful as I initially feared, but this is probably because we got three weeks for finals which is a major change from St. Edward's where we don’t get a study week. 

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6. QUITO: Why I wish I could have two lives

In the last couple of days, I’ve started to get a little excited to go home. This can probably be somewhat attributed to being burned out by the end of the semester and the lovely stomach bug that hit me after eating traditional Ecuadorian food from the park— it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

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Monday 10/27/2014
7. QUITO: On a more serious note

Shelby Sementelli -- Racism isn’t just a phenomenon in the United States. I knew this before coming here, but it’s manifested very differently in South America or at least Ecuador than I thought it would be.

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8. PERTH: Navigating an unfamiliar healthcare system

Taylor Johnson -- Running out of insulin is never a really pleasant experience. The idea of running out of insulin while abroad has terrified me since before I left home. Luckily, the reality of the situation was a lot easier to deal with than I anticipated.

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Saturday 10/11/2014
9. DUBROVNIK: Food thoughts from Eastern and Central Europe

Kelley Dougherty -- Due to the nature of the scheduling at my university here in Dubrovnik, I was lucky enough to have a full ten days off from classes. Naturally, my classmates and I decided to use this week and a half to take a backpacking trip across Eastern and Central Europe.

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Friday 10/10/2014
10. MADRID: A lesson in stereotypes

Kate Barton -- We have a few strong-minded individuals in my apartment, so we occasionally (and lately it’s been regularly) have heated debates over how our respective countries are viewed. It’s really been eye-opening and if anything, a practice in patience and tolerance.

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Thursday 10/09/2014
11. SEOUL: Student festivals

Student festivals are a large part of university culture in South Korea. It is a time when students are allowed to relax and encouraged to mingle. They represent their clubs through small shops and games and later in the night watch performances by both fellow students and professional entertainers.

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Wednesday 10/08/2014
12. QUITO: Not everything can be perfect

Shelby Sementelli -- Well I checked something off my bucket list that I didn’t realize was on there: file a police report in a foreign country. 

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Tuesday 10/07/2014
13. MADRID: Study Abroad and Tooth Aches

Kate Barton -- Nobody likes to go to the dentist. The same is true for the dentist while studying abroad in another country. I was unfortunate enough to have the thrilling opportunity to navigate the Spanish dental system this week.

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Monday 10/06/2014
14. PERTH --> BALI

Taylor Johnson -- Last week was Spring Break, and I wasn’t in Australia. I think I mentioned in my first post that I’m not a planner. Sometimes that can be disastrous, and other times, it leads to the best experiences ever. This Spring break was definitely a case of the latter.  

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15. Quito --> Tiputini

Shelby Sementelli -- Ecuador has a knack for making me look at my world differently and giving me a different perspective. I don’t doubt that this diverse little country about the size of Colorado will continue to open my eyes.

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Tuesday 09/30/2014
16. DUBROVNIK: Croatian humor

Kelley Dougherty -- Perhaps the most blatant aspect of culture shock that I’ve been faced with is adjusting to the distinct and sometimes perplexing personalities that are common in the Croatian people.

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Sunday 09/28/2014

Kate Barton -- Last weekend I went to Barcelona with a few people from my university. It was more than a seven-hour bus ride away, but it seemed like a nice place to go for a weekend trip.

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18. PERTH: Not quite British, not quite American

Taylor Johnson -- According to my countdown phone app, I only have two months left here. It’s really weird to think of going home when I feel like I’ve finally gotten into a solid routine here.

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Friday 09/26/2014
19. QUITO: Ama la Vida

Shelby Sementelli -- I’ve been in Ecuador for one month exactly. This is going to sound crazy, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier. Don’t get me wrong, this country has some weird quirks, but the culture, the people and the carefree, life-loving attitude make up for it. 

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Thursday 09/25/2014
20. SEOUL: Eating on a Student Budget in Korea

Phoenix Jauregui -- Fast food has a different meaning in Korea than it does in the United States. In fact, the meaning is more of a direct interpretation.  In Texas, fast food is something that can be frozen and reheated or is weighted in oil, preservatives and anything else that helps it slide down your throat easier. In Korea, it is food prepared quickly and cheaply. Often you can still watch it being made and it is every bit as fresh as a more expensive meal.

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Tuesday 09/23/2014

Shelby Sementelli -- This past weekend I had a new experience: time travel. 

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22. DUBROVNIK: Sensory overload (in a good way)

Kelley Dougherty -- If anything, this week was a learning experience.

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23. MADRID: Surprises

Kate Barton -- When people describe culture shock, it’s usually described as crashing down on you like an overwhelming anvil.From what I’ve experienced, culture shock comes in waves and it is usually unexpected but manageable.

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Wednesday 09/17/2014
24. QUITO: !Que Frio!

Shelby Sementelli -- Since I've arrived in Ecuador, many people have told me that people from the United States¹ are "frio." This directly translates at cold, but in this sense closed off, uptight, and unfriendly are probably more accurate translations.

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Tuesday 09/16/2014
25. SEOUL: First observations from my new home

Phoenix Jauregui -- The Catholic University of Korea is home to approximately 10,000 students, but no more than thirty are from somewhere other than Korea. I am one of them. 

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Monday 09/15/2014
26. PERTH: Australian English

Taylor Johnson -- When I told people that I was studying abroad in Australia, there were generally two reactions: “Oh my God, the bugs and animals. Ahhh….” and “That’s awesome and easy because everyone will speak English.”

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27. DUBROVNIK: First days and hopes for life on the Adriatic

Kelley Dougherty -- After a ten hour plane ride, a three hour layover, an hour and a half taxi drive and one very long night’s sleep I am finally here and coherent enough to take in my surroundings. Right now I am sitting on my bedroom balcony over looking the vast medieval walls, lush green islands and white sand beaches of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Friday 09/12/2014
28. MADRID: La Latina

Kate Barton -- I live in the barrio, or neighborhood, of La Latina in Madrid. The oldest neighborhood in the city, La Latina has some of the most interesting architecture and streets to explore. It’s also only a 10 minute walk to Puerta del Sol, the city’s center.

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Wednesday 09/10/2014
29. QUITO: The Ecuadorian that wasn’t

Shelby Sementelli -- In Ecuador, gringo isn’t an insult. It’s actually a term of endearment for non-Ecuadorians, and people often add ito or ita on to the end for an extra splash of love. 

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Monday 09/08/2014
30. PERTH: Magpies, koalas and my first few weeks abroad

Taylor Johnson -- I’ve been in Australia for almost seven weeks now, and it still doesn’t feel real. I keep waking up expecting to be in my apartment in Austin-- only to be pleasantly surprised to hear magpies outside my window.

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Sunday 09/07/2014
31. MADRID: Descubriendo

Katerina Barton -- The best word to describe my first three weeks in Spain would be descubriendo, discovering. As cliche as it sounds, I’ve never been to Spain before and I’ve been trying to soak up as much about the country and culture as quick as possible.

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Friday 09/05/2014
32. QUITO: First days in Ecuador

Shelby Sementelli -- People ask me if I think in Spanish or if I dream in Spanish, but honestly this is the first time in my life where I am mostly thinking with visuals or pictures instead of words. I don't know if this is normal. Perhaps, it's some kind of stepping stone in learning a new language.

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Tuesday 05/13/2014
33. ANGERS: À bientôt

Raneem Ashrawi -- Europe has been so good to me (for the most part) and assimilating back into American culture is going to take some time and energy. For now, though, I’ll revel in the queso, casual dress, and Southern twangs that I’ve missed so much.

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Monday 05/05/2014

Megan Flannery -- This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to return to Edinburgh, Scotland. This time my goal wasn’t to see the historical touristy sites, but rather the literary ones. As an English major, part of my motivation behind studying in the United Kingdom was visiting such places and I have not been disappointed. 

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Thursday 05/01/2014
35. COPENHAGEN: Final days

Briana Bracey -- As it slowly turns into summertime in Copenhagen, I have to resist the urge to skip class and abandon finals to enjoy the weather and city before I leave for home.

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Thursday 04/24/2014

Joey Horvath -- I just kicked off the first part of my spring break with a trip to London. Although being around English speakers was a vacation in itself, my trip couldn't have gone better for a number of reasons..

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37. PRESTON: Study abroad travel tips

Megan Flannery -- As the Easter break continues and many of my friends also studying abroad continue their trips around Europe, I thought I’d share a list of travel tips I’ve picked up during my time abroad.

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Tuesday 04/22/2014
38. COPENHAGEN: Easter break

Briana Bracey -- I am still puzzled about the Easter holiday in Denmark. Although Denmark’s official religion is Lutheran, more than 80% of Danes are secular. They really do not celebrate Easter; it’s simply a spring holiday for them.

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Thursday 04/17/2014
39. ANGERS: An Early Farewell to France/What I Think I'll Miss About Angers

Joey Horvath -- With the semester winding down into its last few weeks, it only seems fitting that I begin to savor my last experiences in this country before I can no longer say that I live here.

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Megan Flannery -- Instead of a spring break in March and a long Easter weekend in April, my university in Britain has combined them to provide students with a two week-long Easter break. While most international exchange students are traveling across Europe and most British students are either working on their dissertations or visiting home, I’m further exploring the UK. My first stop? Chester.

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41. ANGERS: My new normal

My socks and undergarments are sprawled on a six-foot wire that is tied, on one end, to the window handle and, on the other end, to the closet door handle.

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Saturday 04/12/2014
42. ANGERS --> VERSAILLES: Over-the-top Flower Power

Joey Horvath -- When asked the question of who I would choose to have dinner with, alive or dead, I would now probably have to say Marie Antoinette. After walking around her gardens and being inside her beyond over-the-top bedroom, I can’t think of anyone whose brain I’d like to pick more. I’m beginning to think that amidst the pink and gold palace walls of Versailles lived either a crazy delusional lunatic, or the smartest woman of the eighteenth century.

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Thursday 04/10/2014
43. PRESTON vs. Austin: Battle of the music scenes

Megan Flannery -- Coming from the “Live Music Capital of the World” set the stakes a little high for any other city to live up to in terms of selection and venues and just sheer number of performers, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the number of local pubs and coffee shops in Preston that have live music on a regular basis.

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Wednesday 04/09/2014
44. ANGERS: Things That Aren’t Actually French

Raneem Ashrawi I hope I’m not the only one who was ignorant enough to believe that everything we label as “French” actually originates from France.

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Tuesday 04/08/2014
45. COPENHAGEN: Danish humor

Briana Bracey -- Although Denmark is the world’s happiest country, the birth rate is currently the lowest it has been in 27 years! In 2013, the birth rate was reported to be 10 per 1,000 residents. A new campaign by Spies Rejser addresses this problem and highlights some of the differences in humor between Denmark and the United States.

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Thursday 04/03/2014
46. ANGERS: Doucer Angevine

Where I work at a local café, there is a flavor of tea sold called ‘doucer angevine.’ The tea has a mild sweetness and is very popular among the customers. Ironically, it’s the only one the owner of the establishment has yet to try. 

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47. PRESTON: Studying while abroad

Given that it’s called “study abroad” I figured that perhaps I’d discuss the study aspect of my time abroad. Surprisingly, it’s been one of the hardest adjustments to make.

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Tuesday 04/01/2014
48. ANGERS: Hip-Hip-Hip-Hippopotamus

Raneem Ashrawi -- I know I’ve been here for two and a half months, but I’m on a budget (read: relatively poor),  so I usually settle between grocery shopping, kebabs, and snacking on the cheapest pastry at a boulangerie. This weekend I had my first European restaurant experience.

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Monday 03/31/2014

Briana Bracey -- Before I left for London, I was excited for warm weather and to be able to once again share in the common language. It turned out to be colder in London than in Copenhagen. And it was much harder to understand people than I expected!

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Friday 03/28/2014
50. ANGERS: Infection des Sinus: Adventures in French health care

Joey Horvath -- Going to the doctor has never been my favorite thing, but then again I can’t think of anyone who perks up at the thought of sitting in Lysol-ed chairs and getting their blood pressure taken.

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