A Semester in Spain: Allison Loderbauer

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Name: Allison Loderbauer

Majors: Elementary Education and Spanish

Program: Bilbao, Spain – Spring 2018

Why did you choose to study abroad?

One of my majors is Spanish and I knew the full Spanish immersion in Spain would really boost my Spanish skills. Studying abroad would allow me to experience a new culture for an entire semester while meeting new friends who also chose to study abroad. I was planning on studying abroad for just a few weeks during Interim or summer but I thought that studying abroad for an entire semester would give me a lot more opportunities.

Why did you choose to go where you did?

I really enjoy travelling and have had an interest in Spain since I began studying Spanish in middle school, so I knew that I always wanted to study abroad in Spain! I also knew that it would help with my Spanish skills since I am studying Spanish as a major and studying in Spain is complete Spanish immersion. All of my classes are taught in Spanish. Bilbao is a semester long program and the city has a lot of activities. I thought that Bilbao would be a better fit for me than the other programs in Spain that were offered.

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

I really enjoy the opportunities for travelling that you have while studying abroad. Since Spain is in Europe,28154580_154084948610731_6795727465978265600_n travelling to other European countries is pretty cheap and I have been/will be able to visit many countries during my time abroad. You also meet a lot of great people who are also studying abroad that are willing to travel with you. Honestly, what’s better than travelling with a great group of friends? It really helps you bond with other students and make lifelong friends and memories!

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

I am incredibly close with my family and so I became really homesick when I was about a month into my program. I also was sick during this time so I did not want to leave my room a lot which did not help. In order to overcome it, I made sure I kept busy. Once I started hanging out with other students, I became less and less homesick. Even if it was just going to a cafe or going for a walk, just getting out of my room so I wasn’t thinking about home really helped. Every student who is studying abroad is in a similar boat. They left everything (except a suitcase full of belongings) back home and flew across the world to study without knowing many, if any, other students. Everyone gets homesick at times, and talking about it with others really helps. My friends in Spain, my host family, and my friends and family back home were all very supportive of me and that was incredibly helpful. Another struggle of mine is that I miss a lot of things that I take for granted in the United States. Whether it was not having to pay for tap water at restaurants, being able to go to Target or a store I am familiar with to get items I need, or even just going to my favorite restaurant and eating my favorite foods, the things that I’m so used to back home aren’t always available in other cultures. I have done a lot of positive thinking and realize that all of those things will still be there when I go back home and that I have to enjoy the time that I am in Spain with the friends that I made here and make the most of it. I never realized how fast time goes until I only had a set amount of days to do something. 18 weeks abroad might seem long, but it goes by SO fast. I want to make the most of it.

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

Take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad if you are able to, even if you think it is out of your comfort zone. Some people would love to be able to travel the world and study in a new country, but they don’t have the available resources for it. It is difficult at times, but it will be a life-changing experience. If you study abroad, make sure you make the most of it right from the beginning of the program. I am already almost halfway done with my program and I felt like I just arrived last week. Don’t tell yourself “Oh, I’ll just do that next week.” If you keep putting things off, you don’t know when or if you will ever have that experience again. Seize the moment! Even if you may not feel like going out because it is raining or gloomy outside wherever you study abroad, try and convince yourself to so that you don’t regret not experiencing as many things as you can. You will never regret going on too many adventures, just the adventures you didn’t take.

28154006_1634090433343516_9151310796389613568_nHow has studying abroad personally helped you?

Studying abroad has really put me out of my comfort zone, but it is really helping me with independence. Being over 4,000 miles away from everyone I am used to being around is really difficult, but I met people while studying abroad that have become my new friends and family. I made some of my best friends while studying abroad and I know that it will be difficult when I go back home and don’t seem them every day so I make sure to spend as much time as possible with them now. I already have so many memories with them that I will always cherish. I also have learned to appreciate the things back home that I miss so much while I am here, such as my friends and family, but that has not stopped me from having an amazing time with my new friends in Spain.

What are the differences between your home country and the country you are studying in? (Or states, if you are in the NSE program)

  • You have to pay for water in restaurants in Spain and you don’t tip waiters.
  • There is a TON of public transportation. I am so used to driving back home and in Bilbao, almost everyone walks or takes public transportation.
  • Obviously, the language is different. It takes a little bit to get used to hearing a different language constantly, but it really has helped me learn Spanish.
  • The cuisine is very different and even though it is very good, I sometimes crave foods that are only found in the United States.
  • They don’t have a lot of the same stores and restaurants as the United States so make sure to check different stores so you don’t overpay for certain things like groceries and basic essentials.
  • The different currencies are difficult to remember but you get used to it after a while!
  • They have a lot of different customs and traditions so make sure to research before you go! For example, to greet a person in Spain, you give them a kiss on each cheek. They don’t just shake hands like in the United States and that was a big change for me at first.
  • A lot of people in Spain live in apartments, especially in Bilbao, so the concept of everyone having their own house like most people in the United States do is different to them.
  • Being from the Midwest, I noticed that Midwesterns are way more friendly and willing to help more than in Bilbao. I have gotten some weird looks when I have stopped to help someone if they dropped something or gave up my seat for someone on the bus. It’s not a bad thing, I just don’t think the people in Bilbao are used to people stopping and helping them or smiling and saying hi to strangers as much as I am used to doing these things at home. (Don’t worry, not everyone is like that! Just make sure you look up their customs and mannerisms in whatever country you study.)
  • People in Bilbao, at least my host family, know a lot about the United States. A lot of nights in Spain, I watch the news with my host dad, and there are actually a lot of stories every day about the United States. You see how people all around the world take interest in other countries and when something major happens, it impacts them too, even if they don’t live in that country. I feel like the United States is more closed off to news of the rest of the world unless it is something super major, but even things that are minor in the U.S. make it on Spanish news sometimes and it is interesting to see how much the U.S. has an impact on other countries.
  • The weather is very different in Bilbao compared to Wisconsin. It’s not ever super cold, but if you do choose to study there, just remember a rain jacket and boots! :)
  • There are so many differences, but that just makes the experience more interesting! Yes, you will have culture shock at times, but it will also help you be grateful for the things you are used to and broaden your cultural mindset. If everything was the same as back home, you would have no reason to study abroad. Explore the world. It is worth it.

Deadlines Approaching!

Now is the time to complete your study abroad applications for this Summer and Fall!!

Important deadlines to remember:

THURSDAY, Mar. 1st

All open Summer & Fall 2018/Academic Year Programs!

Apply now:  http://uwgb.studioabroad.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ListAll

February 19th Evening Advising POSTPONED

The February 19th Evening Advising session is POSTPONED to Monday, February 26th due to today’s ice storm.  Travel safe and hope to see you next week!

London Internship Info Session

Want to live in central London?  Want a great internship?  Learn more about our London Internship Program!

There will be an information session/booth for this program course on:

Monday, February 19th between 11:30am and 1pm in the Garden Cafe booth area

 

Program Website:

http://uwgb.studioabroad.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=59876

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!

 

 

 

Evening Advising Sessions

Want to know more about study abroad options but only on campus in the evening?  Have a busy class schedule?  Check out our Evening Advising Sessions this month!

 

Evening Advising Sessions

4:30-6:00pm in the OIE (CL 108)

Monday, February 12th

Tuesday, February 13th

Monday, February 19th

Tuesday, February 20th

Questions? Contact the OIE at oie@uwgb.edu or visit www.uwgb.edu/studyabroad

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.

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 15th @ 11:30am

Office of International Education– CL 108

 

Summer Germany Programs

Thursday, February 15th @ 3:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 108