From Puerto Rico to Green Bay: Adriana Lebrón

Name: Adriana E. Lebrón

Major: English

Year in School: Senior

Program: Went from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez campus to the University Of Wisconsin Green Bay campus

¡Hola! ¡Saludos desde Puerto Rico! Greetings from Puerto Rico!

I picked UWGB as my exchange program university, and it was the BEST. DECISION. EVER.

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you choose where to go?

I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, learn to live alone, and have new experiences. As soon as I decided to do an exchange program, I started looking for my best options and UWGB was always one of the first spots. I looked for the programs, curriculums, dorm, dorm life, lifestyle, and how safe the city was. I picked GB because it was always on the first spot. It also helped that the campus is beautiful, they have the Packers (I saw my first football game there), and overall, the city had a city feel with small town comfort.

Besides those options, I picked UWGB for multiple reasons. First, because they had all of the classes that I needed for my major. Second, because it was a good school, safe and the campus was beautiful. Third, the weather was totally different. I live in a tropical island, thus the heat is not as appealing as experiencing snow for the first time. When the cold came in, I was prepared and ready for it. I loved the cold, the snow and the weird wind. Lastly, I picked it because it was far from Puerto Rico. I did not want to get cold feet, have my family visit me every month, and experience the same things I can at home. I wanted to be free to decide everything, learn to live with roommates, develop cooking, cleaning, and social skills, and overall, meet totally different people; which I did. It may sound hard at first, but it was necessary for me to grow as a person and experience life outside my house and comfort zone.

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

I had so many great experiences. I loved meeting so many great international students and learned so much from them! Everything was new, from recipes, to words and even actions. Every moment I spent with them is valuable to me; it was never boring. Something was always cooking, or a plan was hatching: we definitely did not get bored much.

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

Not everything is positive though. I struggled with the roommate thing. I live at home with my parents and brother, so I don’t have to cook or clean that much. It was a learning experience having to live with another three girls, but I managed. I improved my cooking skills and developed cleaning habits and patience.


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

Making sushi for the first time!


My honest advice to you is: Do it. Don’t overthink it! If you can do it, do it! You will NEVER regret it! I am so grateful for my time at GB. I learned a lot of things about myself! I learned I love spending time surrounded by people, I can easily feed a small army, and I can survive alone (I thought I would chicken out). Through my friends, I realized I would love to travel the world and I am not afraid of the thought anymore. Because of this, I made a Europe trip with my university and I am ready for whatever trip comes next—hopefully Mexico to visit some friends.

Studying at Green Bay has been the best decision I’ve made. The weather changes were great, the people, the ambience; everything was totally different to what I grew up in. I am grateful to the people I met, the experiences I had, and for the memories I created throughout the semester. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate to!

Color Run 2014

Color Run 2014

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:

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!


Summer and Fall Study Abroad!

Now is the time to think about study abroad plans for next year!  Choose from our exciting, short-term summer destinations such as Scotland, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, and Ecuador, as well as our many semester/year-long programs for the Fall.  Most application deadlines for these programs will be in February and the very beginning of March.  Keep an eye on our website for more details toward the end of the semester!

A Summer in Scotland: Katie Prigge

Name: Katie Prigge

Year in School: Senior

Major: Design Arts and Communication

Year in School: Senior

Program: University of Stirling- International Summer School over Summer 2015

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because I had never been out of the country before. I knew college would be a good time to go because I don’t have any other obligations

Why did you choose to go where you did?

Faerie Glenn, Scotland

Faerie Glenn, Scotland

Honestly, I knew I wanted to go somewhere in the UK because they speak English.

I chose Stirling, Scotland specifically, because of the beautiful landscapes and they offered classes that would count for credits in my major.

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

The best part about studying abroad was I got to meet so many people and make new friends with different perspectives. My program had around 140 other students in it, and it was kind of like freshman year all over again except we were all in this new country for the first time.

I have two experiences that stand out the most; each for different reasons. The first was the Heartland Tour, where a group of about a dozen of us went to the Isle of Sky, Loch Ness, and explored all over the very northern parts of Scotland. Our tour guide, Nory, told amazing stories about how the mountains got their names. The entire trip really made me appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. It sounds so cheesy to say, but a lot of us on the group were so in awe of the amazing mountain landscapes, that we were in tears!

Heartland Tour, Glencoe, Scotland

Heartland Tour, Glencoe, Scotland

Another great experience was shopping in London! There was one place on Oxford Street where you could stand, and if you looked around in all directions, you could see four H&M stores from the same place! I loved how the UK has many of the same stores as us, but the styles you find inside are totally different! I’ve been following a few fashion YouTubers from the UK for a while, and it was amazing to go to stores like Asos, Primark, and Topshop, which they always mention, and experience it for myself.

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

I think the biggest struggle was the homework. I never realized how the US grading system is very different from the rest of the world. I’d seen a trend of Tumblr posts about how ridiculously easy the grading scale is in the UK, and it is true that a 70 and up is considered an A. But the thing is: these grades aren’t based on the percentage of correctness. It’s more like only 3% of the class can get an 80 or above, and they really enforce the bell curve of the majority of students getting an average grade, which is around a 60. The grading itself is done by “the external.” I’m still not quite sure what that means, but it is a person who is pretty high up academically, who doesn’t know you at all, so they can’t have a bias.

I had to write a lot of research papers while I was at Stirling, and that was kind of difficult because I don’t think I’ve had to write like that since I took Expository Writing a couple of years ago. I overcame these struggles by staying in the lab for an entire day and forcing myself to get everything done instead of going out with my friends.

Another thing I struggled with were the accents! Before I went to Scotland, I don’t think I even realized Scottish accents existed; I thought everyone had the traditional British accent you hear on TV. Once arriving, I learned it was easier to understand most of the Scottish people close to my age, but sometimes I had to pay really close attention to understand the middle-aged locals. It never really got easier because I was only there for a month, and spent most of my time among students.

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

My advice would be to just do it, travel as much as you can while you are there, and don’t worry too much about money! You really do only live once, so see as much of the world as you possibly can. I had the chance to go to Ireland for a few days, but I didn’t because at the time I didn’t think I could afford it. Once I came back home and started working, I realized I definitely could have, and should have. I can’t speak for everywhere, but in Europe it is so easy, and pretty cheap, to get anywhere you need to go in the continent! I took a nine-hour overnight bus from Scotland to London for around $36. Unlike America, there are constantly trains and busses running to wherever you might want to go, so definitely take advantage of that!

The Hub, Edinburgh

The Hub, Edinburgh

Also, just for fun, stay in one of the cheapest hostels you can find! Since almost everyone in my program was American, this was the major way I got to meet people from other countries like Brazil and Australia. It’s kind of scary to share a bunk bed with a total stranger, and a bathroom with 20 of them, but it builds character!

How did studying abroad personally help you?

Studying Abroad helped me in so many ways! First of all, it was my first time in an airport without my family and it was nerve-wracking to navigate alone, especially when my flights kept getting delayed and had gate changes (I would try to avoid flying with United if you can!), but now I will be able to find my way around an airport fearlessly. Studying abroad also helped me understand another culture, monetary system, and way of life. I loved that the friends I made were all so different, but we could all grab a few drinks and debate politics (to the point that some people would be screaming!). But at the end of the day it really did make us better friends.

Also check out a blog I wrote for one of my classes, Photographing the Urban:


From Denmark to UWGB: Line Nørgaard

Name: Line Nørgaard

Major: Communication and Digital Media

Year in school: 3rd

Program/Where you went: I went from University of Aalborg-Copenhagen to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

My name is Line (Pronounced Lee-Nuh) I’m 22 years old and I’m from Denmark (The country, not the city). I study at the University of Aalborg-Copenhagen, where my major is Communication and Digital Media.

This is a picture of University of Aalborg-Copenhagen, which is in the South-West of Copenhagen, 15 minutes from the center.

This is a picture of University of Aalborg-Copenhagen, which is in the South-West of Copenhagen, 15 minutes from the center.

Reasons to study abroad

There were a lot of reasons for me to study abroad. In terms of my education I was able to take some courses at UWGB, which my own university did not offer. By studying abroad, I could therefore make my education profile much more specific to what I envision for my future.

I work in marketing in my everyday life, in the heart of Copenhagen, for an entrepreneurial business. By going abroad, I have had the chance to study Mass Media Advertising, which is very useful for my job. In fact, my bosses encouraged me to go abroad because they see great value in me developing my skills. If you ever consider studying abroad, don’t be afraid of losing your job, as it can be a way of you showing that you want to improve your skills.

And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I love traveling and learning about new cultures. Sure, you learn a lot by studying, but the skills of adapting to a new culture, traveling, and learning about other cultures are priceless. This is the second time I have studied abroad, and there’s a reason why I keep doing it – you learn a lot about the world you live in.

American Football isn’t big in Denmark, so going to Lambeau Field was quite exciting.

American Football isn’t big in Denmark, so going to Lambeau Field was quite exciting.

A question I get asked a lot is: Why UWGB? Well, my university in Denmark has an agreement with UWGB where we send a couple of Danish students to UWGB, and UWGB can send a couple of students to the University of Aalborg. This was partly the reason why I chose to study here. In Denmark we can choose from a lot of different universities to study at, and UWGB was the one that fit my profile the best. If you’re considering going abroad, and you have a lot of different universities to choose from, I suggest you write down what you want out of the stay and research which universities live up to your expectations. For example, I thought the 360-degree of learning approach of UWGB was very appealing, and therefore another reason for me to choose this university over another.

Worries of going abroad

The application process is the part that scares most people away from going abroad. I’m not going to lie; it’s an incredibly difficult and time-consuming process, but it’s absolutely worth it. The amount of things you get to experience and learn about another culture is absolutely amazing – a privilege really. If you find the application process to be really overwhelming, don’t worry. I found it to be really helpful to make a list of the different deadlines, and don’t be afraid to write to your Exchange Coordinator – they are there to help you. I also found it helpful to talk to people who were in the same position as me, and we would help each other write our applications and support each other.

One of my courses at UWGB is Practicum in Print Journalism, where I work with video production for Phlash TV.

One of my courses at UWGB is Practicum in Print Journalism, where I work with video production for Phlash TV.

Another worry a lot of people have is: will I be able to keep up with the educational level? Now, this isn’t really a worry that should keep you away from studying abroad. Your professors will know about your situation, and they will understand that it takes some time to adapt to their system. Also, most universities offer help to write assignments, so take advantage of what your school offers. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask your classmates for help. They will probably be more than happy to help you out.

My experience in America so far

I have been in America for a month and a half now, and I have already learned so much, met a lot of cool people, and experienced many things. This is the first time I have been to America, and growing up watching 90210, I had a lot of expectations for university life in the states. One of my favorite things so far, which may seem like a normal thing to Americans, is that everyone lives on campus. In Denmark we don’t live on campus, and universities are often placed in big cities. So for a student in Denmark, we would probably be more connected to the city we live in than the community surrounding our campus. I really enjoy the close community surrounding the university here in America – it almost feels like being on a 4 month long camping trip.

A bunch of exchange students went to see a Packers game to see what the hype was about.

A bunch of exchange students went to see a Packers game to see what the hype was about.

Going to a different country will mean that you will have to adapt to a new culture. It’s very important to stay open-minded about how another culture does different things. And hey, you might learn something from it. If you have this attitude people are more likely to want to tell you about their culture. You don’t have to agree on the differences there are between the country you come from and the one you’re staying in, but it is important to respect the differences. For example, I can respect that cheese soup is a thing over here, but I don’t necessarily understand its hype.

Differences between Denmark and America

There are a lot of differences between living in Denmark and living in America. For example, everyone drives a car over here no matter how far the destination is. In Copenhagen, where I live, there’s a culture for riding your bike instead of driving a car. I will bike at least 11 miles a day, all year round – in the simmering heat of the summer, through rain and snow, and heck, I have even ridden my bike during hurricanes in Copenhagen. This is partly because Copenhagen is a city that focuses on being environmental friendly, but also because cars are insanely expensive in Denmark.

A bunch of exchange students went to the kayaking camping trip a couple of weeks ago.

A bunch of exchange students went to the kayaking camping trip a couple of weeks ago.

Another thing where Americans and Danes really differ is the way we express excitement. In Denmark we understate most emotions, so if I were to get an A grade, I would say it was fine. This doesn’t mean that I’m not excited; this would be me when I’m extremely excited. This contrasts quite a lot to Americans who use words like “amazing” and “excellent” quite often. It’s not unusual for Americans to ask us why we aren’t more excited. Danish people are pretty content and happy most of the time. We are after all the world’s happiest nation; we just express it in a different way.

Going abroad is an amazing opportunity and it’s really rewarding—especially since the world is becoming more globalized. I feel lucky to say that I have been able to study abroad twice, and I encourage anyone to go for it.

Scholarships and Grants Available for Study Abroad

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

Please visit the website:  to learn more about the options offered by both the OIE and other campus departments.  Some scholarships or grants include:

Travel Grant

Wochinske Scholarship

OIE Foundation Scholarship

Global Citizen Scholarship

Anne C. Kok Scholarship

Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant

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




UWGB students in Chile

Study Abroad Student Spotlight: Stephanie

Another one of our study abroad students is keeping a blog of her experiences, this time in Auckland, New Zealand!  She has invited us to share her blog, so we encourage you to check out her stories and photos during her semester abroad!

Stephanie went to New Zealand in 2013.

Stephanie’s New Zealand Blog

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!

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 Travel Courses

Monday, Sept. 14th @ 1:00pm   &  Thursday, Sept. 17th @ 5:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 207


Spanish Programs

Wednesday, Sept. 16th @ 11:30am AND 3:00pm

Office of International Education– CL 207


Business Programs

Monday, Sept. 21st @ 2:30pm

Office of International Education– CL 207


Student Teaching Abroad

Thursday, October 15th @ 5:00pm   &  M0nday, October 19th @ 9:00am

Education Dept. Conference Room (Wood Hall)



Tuesday, Sept. 15th @ 11:00am AND 3:00pm

University Union Room 103



Tuesday, Sept. 22nd @ 3:30pm

University Union Room 103


German Programs