Study Abroad Student Spotlight – Lauren Stockton

Lauren Stockton has been spending the year in Bordeaux, France! She has also been keeping a personal blog to share her ongoing experiences. Interested in reading all about it? Here is the link to her online blog!

 

Simple Solace

Bordeaux, France!

Bordeaux, France!

 

Deadlines Extended to October 3rd!

DEADLINES EXTENDED!

Study Abroad application deadlines have been EXTENDED for ALL January travel courses and spring semester programs (except NSE & Denmark) to:

MONDAY, OCT. 3rd @ 4:30pm

Finish your application and make sure to ask the OIE if you have any questions!

 

 

 

 

First Steps to Study Abroad

Interested in Study Abroad?  Not sure where to start or have specific questions?  Stop by a First Steps to Study Abroad Information Session!

They are held:

Every Tuesday  @ 2:00

Every Wednesday @ 1:00

In the Office of International Education (CL 207) during the semester.  Stop by!

Evening Advising Sessions Available

evening-advising

Make sure to stop in for one of our fall Evening Advising Sessions!  All held in the OIE (CL 207).

Fall Study Abroad Fair!

The Fall Study Abroad Fair will be held Wednesday, February 10th from 10:00am – 2:00pm AND 4:00-6:00pm, in Phoenix Ball Room 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!

Winter & Spring Break Travel Courses:

  • Argentina
  • Cuernavaca, Mexico (Business, Education, & Social Work tracks)
  • Ecuador
  • South Africa (DJS)
  • South Africa (Human Development)
  • Italy (Music/Hum Stud)- SPRING BREAK

Winter Exchange Programs:

  • International Winter University- Germany (3 locations in Germany)

Summer Exchange Programs

  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Stirling, Scotland
  • International Summer University- Germany (6 locations in Germany)
  • Bilbao, Spain (Spanish & English options)

Semester/Year-long

  • 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)

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 fall information sessions:

Winter/Spring Break Study Abroad Programs

Thursday, September 15th @  3:30pm

Office of International Education– CL 207

 

Spanish Immersion Programs

Thursday, September 22nd @ 4:30pm

Office of International Education– CL 207

Get the Scoop on Study Abroad!

Get the Scoop:

FREE Ice Cream!  Who doesn’t want it?!? 

Come to GET THE SCOOP on Study Abroad learn about Study Abroad Programs on campus AND get a free sundae.  When?  TOMORROW (Thurs, Sept. 8th) from 11:00-1:00 (or while supplies last) in the University Union by the Bookstore.  See you there!

A Semester in Puerto Rico: Ericka Bloch

Name: Ericka Bloch

Major: Spanish and Communication (Public Relations and Mass Media emphasis)

Year in School: Senior

Program: NSE to Cayey, Puerto Rico Spring 2015

Why did you choose to study abroad?

There were many reasons that I wanted to study abroad, but my main reason was to immerse myself in the language. It has always been a goal of mine to become fluent in Spanish, but simply attempting to learn the language here wasn’t giving me the results that I wanted. I knew a few people that had studied abroad in Spanish-speaking countries—one of which was my cousin—and they came back practically fluent in Spanish. Because I wasn’t really learning at the rate that I wanted to—partly because I was too afraid to speak and make mistakes—I wanted to force myself to be surrounded by the language.

The house we stayed in on campus. It used to be an old military base.

The house we stayed in on campus. It used to be an old military base.

Why did you choose to go where you did?

I had actually known where I wanted to study abroad since 6th grade. Throughout middle school and high school Spanish, we always had to do projects on Spanish-speaking countries and I usually chose to do mine on Puerto Rico. This was partly because we never really learned about it in our classes, but also because my dad had actually been stationed there for a few months while he was in the Marines. Honesty though, the real reason I became fixated with studying in Puerto Rico were the bioluminescent bays. The pictures that I saw online were enchanting, and I wanted to experience that in real life. The reason that I chose Cayey specifically, was because it reminded me a lot of Green Bay. The campus was small, and had trees and mountains surrounding it. It was also in a smaller part of Puerto Rico where I would more easily encounter people that would speak to me in Spanish, since almost everyone can speak or understand English.

What was the best part about studying abroad? Favorite experience?

For me, the best part about studying abroad was getting to immerse myself in the culture. While I was there, I took part in anything and everything, and talked with anyone and everyone. Once I started to make friends with the locals and they began to help me travel, and helped teach me about the culture. I also took a Puerto Rican history class, which was actually one of my favorite classes. I even got a little coqui tattoo on my wrist to remind me of the time I spent abroad.

Playa Tamarindo

Playa Tamarindo

As I said, traveling was one of the best parts of studying abroad, but there were two places specifically, that I enjoyed the most: Culebra (a small island off of Puerto Rico that has the world’s 3rd most beautiful beach) and the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo. It was a struggle to get to Culebra because you need to get to the ferry before midnight and wait in line for hours just to catch the 6 am ferry.  We had actually attempted, and failed, to go on two separate occasions before we were finally able to go. But the struggles, and the wait, was definitely worth it! Once we got off of the ferry, we went to Playa Flamenco which is considered the world’s 3rd most beautiful beach. The next day we also got to go to Playa Tamarindo where we got to swim with over 20 sea turtles!

 

This is a video of me hula hooping in Culebra:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xygJ0QcBVo

Kayaking to the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo

Kayaking to the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo

But by far, my favorite experience was getting to kayak to the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo. As I mentioned before, it had always been my goal to visit a bioluminescent bay. I had also visited the bay in Lajas, but we went during a full moon, and it wasn’t as bright as the pictures I had seen on the Internet. The one in Fajardo is the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. We had to kayak for 2 miles before getting to the bay, but the ride felt like it only took 15 minutes. Once we got there, we all got anchored together and had a chance to play with the water underneath a tarp so that it could be as dark as possible to see the glow. I was wearing a dark shirt, so when I threw the water on me, it looked as if I was being showered with stars. Even though it was close to a full moon, it still looked like all of the pictures I had seen on the Internet. As the kayak drifted through the water, a bright glow trailed behind. Visiting the bioluminescent bay was by far one of my most magical experiences.

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

Truthfully, I was always struggling with something while I was there. The first things I struggled with were the culture shock and language barrier. When I first got there, I couldn’t understand anything that anyone was saying to me, nor could I really respond to them because my Spanish wasn’t the greatest. I was also afraid to leave campus for the first week or so because I didn’t know the area, or any of the people. It was easier to overcome the culture shock than it was the language barrier though.

Mofongo con pollo. One of my favorite Puerto Rican dishes.

Mofongo con pollo. One of my favorite Puerto Rican dishes!

To overcome the culture shock, I did a few things. First, I tried to put myself out there and talk to as many people as I could. I didn’t become friends with most of them, but once I did find a group of friends, it was easier to settle into my new life abroad. Having friends also helped with the culture shock because it was easier for me to immerse myself in the culture with their help. Once I started to see the culture through their eyes, it became a lot easier, and more fun for me. Same with traveling; once I made friends and started traveling to different parts of the island with them, I forgot about how overwhelmed I was, and really started to enjoy myself. Lastly, my campus also had a councilor that was free for students, so I would see her once a week to talk about what problems I was having. That really helped me.

I also did quite a few things to overcome the language barrier. Most people could speak, or at least understand English, so when I really needed help, I was able to find it. But because I was there to improve my Spanish, I tried to stick to strictly Spanish: Plus all of my classes were in Spanish so I had to be able to understand my teachers. First thing I did was talk to my professors after my classes on the first day. I explained my situation to them and they were all very helpful; they would even check up on me to see how I was doing throughout the semester. They really were there to help me succeed. Second thing I did was again, just tried to talk to as many people as possible to practice my Spanish. People were very willing to help me, both in class and out of class. I also went to the tutor three times a week, two hours a session, just to talk in Spanish. When I went to the councilor every week, I also used it as a way to practice my Spanish. I had started out talking to her in English, but eventually tried speaking in Spanish more each time I saw her.

23 postcards in one night!

23 postcards in one night!

The last thing I struggled with was home sickness. I ended up staying in Puerto Rico for an extra 3 ½ months, so I was away from my friends and family for a total of 7 months. I had never been away from home for that long before. Out of everything that had to deal with, that was probably the toughest because there wasn’t really that much I could do to relieve it. I did Skype with many of my friends, called them on the phone, and sent them postcards and letters, but it still didn’t help as much as I wanted it to. My family also came to visit me for spring break though, so some of my homesick was relieved through spending time with them. But I just tried to take advantage of everything that Puerto Rico had to offer me so that I didn’t think about how much I missed my friends and family.

What advice would you have for those who want to study abroad?

Me and my advisor, Aruturo.

Me and my advisor, Aruturo.

First of all: Just do it! Don’t worry about money, significant others, or anything else that might stop you. If you let those things hold you back, you’ll miss out on the experience of a lifetime. I almost let my fear of failing stop me. And if I had, I never would have met the people that I did, experienced what I did, or have accomplished my goal of becoming fluent in Spanish.

And if you experience culture shock or homesickness, there are ways to deal with it. Get out and meet people, explore the city, Skype your friends and family. It may seem hard, but I promise you will get through it.

How did studying abroad personally help you?

A mural of  a coqui and the Puerto Rican flag that I found on the side of a building. The coqui is known as the symbol of Puerto Rico.

A mural of a coqui and the Puerto Rican flag that I found on the side of a building. The coqui is known as the symbol of Puerto Rico.

Studying abroad obviously helped me to better my Spanish, but it really helped me develop myself as a person as well. I have definitely become more confident in myself. While studying abroad, I was pretty much all on my own to figure out what I needed. Being able to not only survive, but flourish in a country where I know nothing (no people, the area, nor the language) is an amazing feeling. There is no better confidence builder than throwing yourself out of your comfort zone.

Lastly, studying abroad helped me find myself. As cheesy as that sounds, I did a lot of self-exploration while abroad. When you put yourself into a different environment, and again, throw yourself out of your comfort zone, you learn so much about yourself. Part of this is because you have nothing, or anyone, holding you back.

 

Check out the blog I kept while in Puerto Rico!

Blog: http://raeofsunnshine.weebly.com/

A Semester in Mexico: Karlee Wegehaupt

Name: Karlee Wegehaupt

Major: Spanish and Communication

Year in School: Senior

Program: Mérida, Mexico Fall 2015

 

UADY central campus

UADY central campus

My name is Karlee, I am a senior and both a Spanish and a Communication major. This fall semester I am in Mérida, Mexico as an exchange student. I am taking anthropology classes here at UADY (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán) for Spanish credit back at GB.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

I chose to study abroad because I am serious about learning Spanish, and I know that the best way to improve is to be surrounded by it and forced to use it all the time. Also I knew that traveling through the school is a great opportunity, and the first step for traveling throughout the rest of my life. I chose Mérida because there are only a few countries offered as an exchange program for a semester of Spanish. Out of all the programs, I liked what I read about Mérida and the Yucatán peninsula the most.

What is the best part about studying abroad? Favorite experience?

The best part about studying abroad so far is not what I expected it to be. One part is having been able to see many of the beautiful sites in the Yucatán and meeting some fun and interesting people. The other part is that it has changed my perspective and idea of how I want to spend the rest of my life (traveling more!), and has given me a lot of confidence to solve problems on the fly. Mérida is VERY different from anywhere else I have been. In both ways that seems good and bad, but overall I really like it here and this has been a great experience so far. In fact, if I wasn’t already a senior, I would have liked to stay in Mérida for another whole semester.’

Murals in Isla Holbox

Murals in Isla Holbox

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

The biggest struggles I’ve had were at the beginning of my journey when I realized how big of a language barrier there was between me and everyone else, how different everyday life would be from what I was used to, and having to tell my “host mom” that I was moving out of her house. Also, I was unable to make my flight into Mérida and instead had to take a bus there from Cancun—only

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil

managing this through very broken Spanish while not really understanding anyone around me. I had no idea where exactly I was going, how long it would take, and even if anyone would be there to pick me up once I got to wherever I was going. That was an adventure! I have honestly had a LOT of struggles here (and I certainly have some good stories about them), but I think that is also something I have learned: that if you have a good attitude, you can take on almost anything.

What advice would you have for those who want to study abroad?

I would advise anyone and everyone to study abroad; especially if you want to but think that you can’t. Even if just for a month-long program and not necessarily a semester. If you find a way to make it happen you definitely won’t regret it.

A semester in Scotland: Brittany Blohowiak

Brittany Blohowiak

Major: Mathematics

Year in School: Sophomore

Program: Stirling, Scotland – Fall 2016

Why did you choose to study where you did?

I chose to study in Stiring, Scotland based on the size and the similarities of the campus to UWGB. I have never been out of the country before, or away from home, so I thought that a campus that feels familiar would help make the transition easier. I chose Scotland purely because it is absolutely gorgeous and there is so much to see in all corners of the country.

 

What was the best part about studying abroad? Favorite Experience?

Reading Break in London

Reading Break in London

I have the most memories from trips that I took with my flat mates. During reading break I went to London and Oxford with my flat mate Maddie. We are both pretty big Harry Potter fans so we made it our mission to see all of the sites where the movie was filmed (very nerdy, I know). Of course we had to go to Kings Cross to get a picture at Platform 9 ¾, like every other tourist who likes Harry Potter, but it was well worth the wait.

Another highlight was my trip to St. Andrews. I went up there by myself and stayed for the weekend to see the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Old Course. To be in the birth place of golf was just surreal. My dad and I are pretty big into golf so I knew I had to make a point to get up to St. Andrews if there was ever a tournament going on.

 

 

 

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

Climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

Climbing Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

The biggest learning curve for me was figuring out how to live on my own. I commute from home into college normally at UWGB, so I have never been on my own before in my whole life. Honestly, I have never done a load of laundry before coming on this trip. So it was a learning curve for me to determine what groceries I needed for the week, cooking healthy meals, while still studying and doing school work. I was anticipating being homesick because I have never been away from home for such a long time; however, it has not a problem for me. I think it was the fact that I adapted to the culture so quickly and became so close to my flat mates very quickly; they became my family. It is just astonishing to think that I have only known them for a few months, yet we know each other so well.

             Another aspect that was difficult was trying to balance school life and travelling. My flat mates and I usually would try to plan weekend day trips whenever we could because Scotland has cute little towns in every corner of the country. With the weekends booked it became harder to get my readings done, which lead to a few late nights on multiple occasions. I have learned to balance out when I have the time to travel and when I need to say no, in order to study.

What advice would you have for those who want to study abroad?

For anyone even considering studying abroad, I would tell them to go for it. I can honestly say that studying abroad has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. All of the new experiences, cultures and lifestyles that you face in day-to-day life makes it worth every penny.

 

Hiking up to the top of Dumyat

Hiking up to the top of Dumyat

How did studying abroad personally help you?

Studying abroad really helped me get out of my shell. I was never very involved in extracurricular activities and I am a quiet person to begin with. So, this whole experience helped me become more comfortable putting myself out there and making friends from allover the world. I can now say I can couch surf in places like Canada, Spain, Ireland, Paris and Copenhagen. It has been such a great experience for me and I am sure that it has made me more outgoing in return.

 

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven

 

 

 

 

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

http://www.travelpod.com/members/brittany-b