A Summer in Spain: Sarah Alexander

Name: Sarah Alexander

Major: Communications

Year in school: Senior

Program: Alicante, Spain Summer 2014

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity that offers so many different challenges that will give me experiences that I can use to my advantage in the future.

Why did you choose to go where you did?

I have always had a love of the Spanish culture and language. Also, I have family in Denmark, and going to Europe gave me an opportunity to see them again.

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

Well, my favorite experience was finding this amazing Tapas restaurant in Madrid called “El Tigre.” It was the funniest, most challenging experience, with a lot of laughter and adventure. We had to walk through the Puerta del Sol and saw some interesting night life. Also, meeting up with friends and going to the beach every day after the siesta was always fun. THERE ARE SO MANY! Lastly, trying all of the amazing food and learning how to use public transportation.

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

I really struggled with communicating with my host mom because I didn’t have the best Spanish skills, and my mom didn’t speak much English. We had a tough day or two but by working together, we connected, and she really helped me clean up my Spanish.


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

MAKE AN EFFORT TO GET TO KNOW YOUR FAMILY! My host family encouraged me to take advantage of the opportunities available, and they were willing to work with me. I owe that to communicating my wants and needs so my host mom could be there for me. Also, walk around the city you live in when it is safe. I got lost alone my first night, and it never happened again because I took the time to get to know my city.

How did studying abroad personally help you?

It taught me to ask for help, and that it is okay to be alone! Also, I learned that there is so much out there in the world that we are missing, and how important it is to spread this information to others.

What are the differences between your home country and the country you studied in?

Meals are a big difference, especially breakfast. In the United States, my family loves big brunches, followed by little lunches and late dinners. In Spain breakfast is a starch, like bread with tomato or a croissant, with milk, coffee, or tea. Lunch is a huge, grand meal where the whole family meets, and then dinner was at 9pm or 10pm. Generally, dinner would be by myself because everyone got hungry at different times. It was hard to adjust during the first week, but in Spain with the heat, the siestas, and the nightlife the meals made more sense.

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

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

Germany travel course article

Our recent travel course to Germany, Poland, & the Czech Republic was featured in a UW-Green Bay Inside article last month!

Check out this great program and awesome UWGB faculty and students here: http://news.uwgb.edu/multimedia/photos/06/15/germany-summer-travel-course/

Also, the group was featured in a German newspaper too!

A great year for the OIE!

Check out this recent news post about what has been happening in the OIE this past year!


Study Abroad Student Spotlight: Sara

We have another study abroad student who has offered to share her blog with you!  Sara is a Spanish major at UWGB and is studying in Bilbao, Spain for a semester.  Her photos are gorgeous and we are very jealous – take a look for yourself!


Phuture Phoenix Graduates

Travel Course Deadlines Extended

The following program deadlines are extended:

Slovakia – THURSDAY, March 6th, 4:30pm

Ireland, Tena, and Alicante – FRIDAY, March 7th, 4:30pm

Complete your applications today!

First Steps Meetings

Want to Study Abroad but don’t know what the next step is?  Come to our First Steps Meetings!  We hold them every Tuesday at 2:00pm and Wednesday at noon in the OIE (CL 207)