A Semester in Germany: Christopher Thomas

Name: Christopher Thomas

Major: Political Science

Program: University of Marburg, Hessen – Spring 2017

Why did you decide to study in Hessen?christopher

I decided to study in Hessen, because I have always been fascinated by the social history of Germany since high school. I chose Hessen, because that was where the European Central bank was located, EuroBank in Frankfurt. I also chose Hessen, because from my knowledge, Marburg University was huge school with a large exchange student population. The city, I was told was very scenic and young. All claims turned out to be true!

What did you like best?

Man! I do not know what I like best! It is hard to choose between the Doners or watching the sunset
from the castle in Marburg. It is extremely hard to choose.

How did you handle the different educational system?

American educational system are much more organized and guided, whereas I noticed the German
educational system is more independent and “loose.” I handled this by creating my own schedule
for how things were going to happen. I treated school like a Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm
job. I would wake up go to my classes and do work until 5pm Monday through Friday. I was
successful with this technique and learned a lot of things, while entertaining my social world.

christopher2

What was your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise was the number of people that did not mind my presence and how people that are poor were treated. I grew up where you would see poor people commonly wondering the streets at night and loitering to find a place of shelter. I would see that in Marburg, however at night people that were displaced disappeared at night. I was confused, because I did not know where they all went and I still do not. I just assume the treatment of displaced individuals is more benevolent in Marburg than where I grew up. I also was astounded by how many people that I saw that looked like me and when I did not see people that looked like me I felt comfortable; and so did others. Where I live now, frequently when I walk into a store I feel like a threat to those around me. That was not the case in Marburg or Germany for that matter. I felt safe in my own skin and people felt safe around
me too.

What was your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment(s) was playing with the ducks and talking to them when I was cooling
by the Lahn after class. The ducks would keep me company when I wanted to be alone, but did not
want to be alone.

National Student Exchange (Alaska): Maria Romfoe

Name: Maria Romfoe

Major: Environmental Policy and Planning with an Emphasis in Planning

Minors: Philosophy, Environmental Science

Certificates: Environmental and Business Institutions, Outdoor Studies

Program: National Student Exchange with the University of Alaska Southeast

 

maria1Why did I choose Juneau, Alaska for my exchange?

I decided to participate in the National Student Exchange because I wanted to experience something new.  NSE provides an awesome opportunity to travel somewhere new and actually get to know the area rather than just the face value as often is the case when traveling around.  I chose Alaska for my exchange for a couple of reasons:

 

 

  1. I wanted to go somewhere very different from Wisconsin
  2. I just kind of had a gut feeling that Alaska was the place for me
  3. I love the outdoors, and I wanted to travel somewhere beautiful –The University of Alaska Southeast campus is located between the ocean, mountains, and the Mendenhall Glacier
  4. I wanted to have easy access to outdoor recreation activities –UAS has an amazing Outdoor Studied Program where I was able to get credit for kayaking, rock climbing, and backpacking

 

What did I do while on my exchange?

  1. Rock climbed at the Juneau Sea Cliffs and in Skagway for five days
  2. Kayaked in Bristol Bay for a weekend where I saw whales and kayaked beside a couple of super playful seals
  3. Backpacked to the Grandchild Peaks Ridge and Granite Creek Trail
  4. Navigated in the backcountry using a compass and topographic map
  5. Summited Mt. Jumbo, Thunder Mountain, and Mt. Troy
  6. Received my Leave No Trace Certificate
  7. Went whale watching
  8. Hiked around the Mendenhall Glaciermaria4
  9. Jumped into Auke Lake
  10. Went sledding
  11. Had a lot of snowball fights
  12. Saw black tail deer, porcupines, bears, eagles, jellyfish, salmon, seals, sea lions, whales
  13. Met new friends from all over the US and the world
  14. Watched a lot of ski films
  15. Ate a lot of free food with my friends
  16. Attended get-togethers—ice skating, dinners, cookie decorating–for exchange students
  17. Visited an old gold mine
  18. Went to the Gathering of the Drums where I listened to tradition Tlingit drumming and ate fry bread
  19. Went blueberry, salmonberry, huckleberry, and highbush cranberry picking
  20. Became an active member in the Sustainability Club
  21. Worked as a journalist for the Whalesong Newspaper and the Student Alumni Association

 

What were some differences I had to get used to?

  1. UAS is an extremely casual university: you call all of your professors by their first name, Xtra Tuff rain boots are worn at every occasion, and people bring their dogs literally everywhere.
  2. Literally everybody knows each other. With a campus of 3,000 students (most of them completing their studies online), you learn everyone’s first name even if you don’t talk to them.
  3. A “large” class has thirty people in it. My largest class had twenty people in it, and my smallest class had four people including me.maria3
  4. It rains a lot in Juneau—it’s a rainforest. It is always very cloudy, so everyone has a holiday when the sun comes out.
  5. Even though Juneau is in Alaska, it is a lot colder in Wisconsin. Cold in Juneau terms is fifteen degrees Fahrenheit, while in Green Bay it gets down below zero.
  6. You can be ten miles into the backcountry and run into someone you know.
  7. Half of downtown closes down in late September, after tourist season is over.
  8. Living on a boat is completely normal.
  9. Juneau is isolated from the rest of Alaska because of the Juneau Ice Fields, ocean, and protected wilderness areas, so if you want to go to any other city you have to travel either by ferry or plane.
  10. Almost everyone fishes in the summer and loves to eat salmon.
  11. Seeing deer, bears, porcupines, and eagles on campus is pretty normal, and if you walk five minutes down to the harbor you can see seals, sea lions, and jellyfish.
  12. Fresh produce is crazy expensive but not as expensive as the grocery stores in rural inland Alaska. I thought paying three dollars of a pineapple at Aldi was expensive, but in Juneau a pineapple costs eight dollars, and once you get up to villages like Barrow they can cost more than twenty dollars.

 

What did I gain from my experience?

maria2I had the most amazing experience that I could ask for.  My classes and professors were phenomenal.  I made strong friendships with people all over the world that I would have never met if I didn’t go on exchange. I learned a lot and gained experience in multiple outdoor recreation activities with classmates I became very close to very quickly.  I climbed mountains, kayaked beside whales and seals, learned how to build personal anchor systems, learned rock climbing rescue procedures, learned basic avalanche rescue techniques, learned how to travel and navigate the backcountry, and how to plan and pack for excursions. I had such a great time with my Outdoor Studies courses that I will be returning to UAS for another exchange to finish the Outdoor Studies Certificate program.  Juneau it truly a magical place, and I can’t wait to return.

Slovakia- Tones of Central Europe Info Session

There will be an information session for the Slovakia- Tones of Central Europe summer 2018 faculty-led travel course on:

Friday, January 26th, 1:00pm, University Union- Rm. 103

 

SLOVAKIA:  TONES OF CENTRAL EUROPE:  The Music and Culture of Roma, Ruthenian, and Slovak Peoples is designed to introduce students to the music and culture of three distinct communities with divergent but linked traditons in Central Europe:  Roma, Slovak, and Ruthenian.  Led by Professors Sarah Meredith Livingston and Professor Courtney Sherman, you will attend events at the renowned Folklore Festival in Vychodna, the Festival of the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Culture of Slovakia in Svidnik, the Slovak National Museum in Martin and the Museum of Ruthenian Culture in Presov.  The trip ends with 3 days in the incredible city of Vienna, Austria.

Travel course is June 20-July 4th, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Meredith Livingston, meredits@uwgb.edu.

Program Website: http://uwgb.studioabroad.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=60557

Studying in a Scottish Castle: Ethan Ahnen

Name: Ethan Ahnen

Major: Business Administration, emphasis in Marketing

Year in School: Sophomore

Program: Glasgow, Scotland – Spring 2017

 

Why did you choose to study abroad?

The University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to absolutely push myself out of my comfort zone. This is one of the most difficult disciplines to put yourself through, but the fruit it bears is immeasurable. Living my whole life in Green Bay, I also wanted to take this opportunity to travel out of the country. The longer you wait throughout life, the harder traveling is to do.

 

Why did you choose to go where you did?

I chose Glasgow, Scotland by narrowing my options down. This was my first time out of the country, so I wanted to live in a country where I spoke the primary language. This narrowed my choices down to the UK. I am also one who loves beautiful scenery and nature, so I chose Scotland. I finally picked Glasgow because I believed it was the biggest, most international, and most exciting city in the country.

A day trip in St. Andrews, Scotland

A day trip in St. Andrews, Scotland

 

What’s the best part about studying abroad? Favorite experience?

While living in another country was very interesting, my favorite experiences are from my trips. For the first three months, I went on a day trip around Scotland almost every weekend. They were with Student Tours Scotland (a company I highly recommend) and it let me see pretty much all of the country I was studying in. The University of Glasgow’s spring break is three weeks long. Thinking this might be my only chance to travel extensively, I traveled around Europe for all three weeks. My sister came with me to Italy for a week, but then I traveled my myself for the last two weeks. I then came back to school to finish my classes. After that, I went on one more weekend trip to Paris and Dublin before I had to come back as I wanted to make sure I got to visit France and Ireland.

 

What did you struggle with? How have you overcome it?

I’ve not only grown up in the same house in Green Bay, I still live in it because I commute to UWGB. Since that was the case, I struggled at first getting used to living on my own money. If you live on campus and have already dealt with this problem, it probably won’t be an issue for you. This was not as difficult to get used to, but it just took time. I also had troubles adapting to a new culture, especially academically. At UWGB, I’m used to continuous testing or assignments to keep my course knowledge in-check. This is extremely different, however, at the University of Glasgow. At that school, they only give you lectures and then they grade your whole work for the class based on usually one paper and one final exam. The work put in is also much more than I thought. It was hard at first, but it just took some discipline and thought to adapt to how students do work over there. Once I got used to it, it was just a continuous process like it is at UWGB.

 

How has studying abroad personally helped you?

With friends at Devil's Pulprit, a local ravine

With friends at Devil’s Pulprit, a local ravine

Studying abroad may have gave me an invaluable insight into how the world works and a more cultured world view, but I am the most grateful to how it has developed me as a person. This may sound cliché, but it is absolutely true. Like I stated earlier, I was somebody who still lived at home, never left the country, and almost never went anywhere without somebody else. There was nobody else from UWGB going to Scotland when I went and I had no friends that were coming or were living there. I traveled by myself to another country, lived by myself for the first time, made new friends, and thrived in a new environment. Even though I spent a lot of time with my new friends, I wanted to travel to places they didn’t. I was not going to miss my shot. After traveling through Italy with my sister, I again traveled solo across Europe for two weeks straight. Then, I traveled to France and Ireland by myself once again. Did everything go according to plan? Absolutely not. I hurt myself while traveling, I missed a flight, and I had to find my way back to my hostel in Budapest without a map after my phone died, to name a few. To overcome these setbacks, I had to find new routes, change plans, and problem-solve on the spot. I am no longer the guy that only knows what it is like to live with his family in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I am now the guy that has traveled across 20 different cities and 10 different countries by himself. I am the guy that adapted to a new culture and life-style on his own. Not only has studying abroad made me a better intellectual, it has made a better individual in my everyday life.

The Danube River, Budapest, HungaryWhat advice do you have for those who want to study abroad?

Be the change you want to become. I wanted to be more of a risk-taker and live in the moment, so whenever there was an opportunity to do something, I seized it. Because I did this, I either have funny stories if they were failures, irreplaceable memories if they were a success, and no regrets. Make sure you reach out and really get to know others around you. Almost all the friends I made abroad were either my flat mates or other students I knew from the university. They also don’t have to be people from a different country as all of my friends were from the United States, but they were all from different parts of the country. On a more personal note, make sure to bring a journal or write a blog. I am not a writer in any sense of the word, but my sister (who also studied abroad) made sure to get me a journal to write in. Write down places, dates, people, and experiences you encounter. It will give you a neat view of your thought process at that exact point in time. I didn’t journal every day, but I made sure to write about all my traveling and certain experiences with friends. I am also not a picture person, but I took over 3,000 photos while abroad, so make sure you are not shy about using your phone or camera. I took an SD card for physical storage and used Google Photos (free unlimited cloud storage on any device) for my online storage. Lastly, make sure you seize and cherish every opportunity you have. You will eventually leave your host country, your friends, your travel destinations, and your experiences. They, however, will never leave you.

 

Study Abroad Info Sessions

Want to learn more about certain programs?  Not sure if there is a program right for you?  Come find out more at one of our information sessions:

 

National Student Exchange

Monday, February 5th @ 9:00am, 10:00am, 2:00pm, & 3:00pm

Tuesday, February 6th @ 9:00am, 10:00am, 2:00pm, & 3:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 108

 

Summer Faculty-Led (Travel Course) Programs

Thursday, February 8th @ 11:30am & 4:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 108

 

Summer Scotland Programs

Wednesday, February 14th @ 3:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 108

 

Business Programs

Thursday, February 14th @ 11:30am

Office of International Education– CL 108

 

Summer Germany Programs

Thursday, February 14th @ 3:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 108

Spring Study Abroad Fair!

The Spring Study Abroad Fair will be held Wednesday, February 7th from 10:00am – 2:00pm AND 4:00-6:00pm, in Phoenix Ball Room B/C

Students will have the opportunity to attend the Fall Study Abroad Fair and learn about the 200+ domestic and international study programs available.  Study abroad advisors and program representatives will be on site to answer questions and assist students in learning about these amazing opportunities!  Whether you wish to study abroad for a few weeks, a semester, or a full year we have a program that will fit your needs – come check it out!

Summer Faculty-led Travel Courses:

  • Belgium/France/Germany (History)
  • Ecuador (PEA/URS)
  • England (English)
  • Portugal (Business/Entrepreneurship)
  • Slovakia (Music)
  • Slovakia (Nursing)
  • Spain (Spanish)

Summer Interim Programs:

  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Stirling, Scotland
  • France (3 locations)
  • Japan (2 locations)
  • Netherlands
  • International Summer University- Germany (3 locations in Germany)
  • Bilbao, Spain (Spanish & English options)

Semester/Year-long

  • NEW!!  Osaka, Japan
  • NEW!! London (UK)- internship program
  • Denmark
  • France (2 locations)
  • Germany (3-5 locations)
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Mexico
  • Scotland (3 locations)
  • Spain (Leon)
  • Spain (Bilbao- Spanish & English options)
  • Student teaching (Cuernavaca, Mexico or through Educators Abroad to 60+ countries)
  • National Student Exchange (locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands)

Teaching Abroad: Brooke Soto

Brooke Soto

Teaching Abroad

My Class at the British Berlin School!

Major: Education

Year in school: Senior

Program: Teaching Abroad at Berlin British School

 

 

 

“Teaching abroad has been a life changing opportunity for me. I am experiencing new cultures, languages, and people. I am also discovering different teaching strategies that I believe will make me a better teacher.”

 

 

Why did you choose to teach where you did?

When opportunity knocks… open the door! I first heard about teaching abroad this past spring. A guy came in to talk about how he student taught in France and how he is currently teaching in France because of this. After class was done I went and talked to him about how he was able to do this. He told me about a program, through the school, that allowed him to pick a country and teach there. I knew this was something that I had to do. With my love of traveling and my desire to teach, I applied to teach abroad and (spoiler alert) was accepted! My first choice was to teach in Vienna but God had other plans for me. I wasn’t able to teach in Vienna but was accepted to teach at the Berlin British School in Germany.

 

What were somethings you had to get used to living in Germany?

There are many thing that I will have to get used to.

1. Most stores (including grocery) are closed on Sunday.

2. Your life doesn’t revolve around your schedule… it revolves around the U-bahn, S-bahn and Tram schedules.

Berlin Blockade and Airlift

3. You can’t be soft spoken.

4. It will feel like leg day every day.

5. If someone tries to hand you something, don’t take it. They’re probably trying to take something from you or get you to buy it. Also, your purse is your best friend so always keep a hand on it.

6. Don’t smile. It’s considered flirting. But for real.

7. If you need help with translating or getting somewhere just ask. People are typically very friendly and then you have a new friend.

8. Almost every building has some sort of historical significance. So take lots of pictures.

9. Yes, there is a McD’s 2 blocks away and you did pass a BK’s on the S-Bahn but…. TRY NEW FOODS!

Living in a different country provides opportunities that may never come again. Being adventurous is the best way to enjoy my time here.

What are some things you enjoyed learning while abroad?

Walking around Berlin there is history around every corner. It’s amazing what I’m learning along the way. I discovered that there is an abandoned airport in the middle of Berlin.

bogIn 1948, Soviets cut off West Berlin from having access supplies. This was done because West Berlin was located in the middle of the Soviet’s portion of Germany. They were afraid of what might happen if the anti-Soviet West Berliners united against them. In response, Operation Vittles was formed. Within the next year the Allied forces sent around 2.3 million tons of cargo to West Berlin to keep them from falling apart. The Berlin Airlift is a memorial (located in “Platz Der Luftbrucke”) to those who died trying to help the people of Berlin get the supplies they needed.

Want to read more about my experience abroad? Follow my personal blog posted below!

https://brookelynnsoto.wixsite.com/brookeingermany

Fall Study Abroad Fair!

The Fall Study Abroad Fair will be held Wednesday, Sept. 13th from 10:00 – 2:00 & 4:00-6:00, in Phoenix Ball Room B/C.

Students will have the opportunity to attend the Fall Study Abroad Fair and learn about all of thedomestic and international study programs available.

Study abroad advisors and program representatives as well as various campus & community resources will be on site to answer questions and assists students in learning about these amazing opportunities!  Whether you wish to study abroad for a few weeks, a semester, or a full year we have a program that will fit your needs.  Also, we have three new, exciting programs to JAPAN, CHILE, & LONDON beginning this Spring semester – come check it out!

Visit the Study Abroad Fair and find out more about how YOU can study abroad!

Scholarships and Grants Available for Study Abroad

There are a lot of opportunities to help fund your study abroad experience!

Please visit the website: http://www.uwgb.edu/international/studyabroad/financialaid.asp  to learn more about the options offered by both the OIE and other campus departments.  Some scholarships or grants include:

Travel Grant

Wochinske Scholarship

Global Citizen Scholarship

Arendt Family Scholarship

Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant

and MANY more!!

Look to see which ones you are eligible for and apply now!  Deadlines are coming up quickly!

 

 

 

Connect with the OIE

Connect with us!

 

We are in a new location- Cofrin Library 108 (by the Garden Cafe)

We are open Monday-Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm.  Stop in, call, or make an appointment to meet with one of our advisors.

You can call us at 920-465-2190 or email oie@uwgb.edu- also find us on social media (@UWGB_oie or #UWGBstudyabroad)