“This Spring I will be participating in the Toledo, Spain program, finishing off the last requirements for my Spanish major. I chose the Toledo program because there is definitely some unfinished business between this beautiful city and I. In high school, my Spanish Club took a tour of Southern Spain for 13 days. While in Toledo, I fell in love with the beautiful architecture and scenery, and the rich history visible everywhere. Although we only spent the afternoon there, I promised myself that I would be back, and exactly four years later, here I am!
Having already been in Spain, I’m not particularly nervous about the culture shock. Prior to leaving, what was on my mind the most was my host family, because I know that they will play such a role in my adjustment to life abroad as well as in my feelings towards the program. It hasn’t set in to me just yet that I will be away from the English language for 2.5 months, but I am completely okay with that! I’m definitely hoping to return from this experience with not only sharper Spanish speaking skills, but also a deep insight into another culture by experiencing it first hand. I’m looking forward to what the next few months has in store for me!”
“I’ve always wanted to explore outside of the United States and I finally got a chance. I’ve never traveled abroad before, so I’m ready to take on the world – literally. The Ecuador program seemed to really immerse students in the Spanish language and the South American scenery looked so magnificent. I chose the program because it looked like a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I couldn’t pass up (how many people get a chance to travel to South America?) I’m excited to see another culture and to learn about the differences and similarities between the Ecuadorians and the people of my small, rural Ohio town.
My nervousness lies in my speaking ability. I know communication is vital and it will be interesting to be in the language minority; I feel that I will fully appreciate the difficulties that foreign students and travelers in the U.S. have by experiencing it first-hand. Witnessing economic differences between the U.S. and Ecuador and seeing how women’s roles are different than in the States will be something that I feel will make me a stronger and more knowledgeable global citizen.
”I have always dreamed of sitting at a sidewalk café in France, drinking café au lait (which is pretty much just a latte), eating a French pastry and chatting with my friends. Ever since I took my first French class in elementary school, I have wanted to go to France. I kept taking French classes throughout middle school, high school and eventually college, and before I knew it, my love of the language and culture turned into a major. The opportunity opened up for me to study abroad in Avignon and I said “yes” with no hesitation. Of course, I’m excited to finally fulfill my dream of eating at a French café, but I’m also looking forward to immersing myself completely in a new culture. I can’t wait to live with a host family and experience life as a native. I already have a French pen pal and it’s going to be so interesting to be able to hang out with French students my age. Next thing I know, I will be sending text messages using French abbreviations and slang I’ve never even heard of!
As excited and ready as I am, there are some things that scare me senseless. I hate maps and I hate looking like a tourist. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to embrace both while I’m abroad. And the whole speaking in French all the time thing? Yes, I know I’m a French major, but I also know that I am going to make some crazy embarrassing language mistakes. Oh well, I know I’m going to learn a lot while I’m there and it will be a definite lesson in laughter. As a first-time guest to the continent of Europe, I cannot wait to finally experience life outside of the western hemisphere. With jet lag, culture shock and all, I am hoping to have the time of my life.”
”I’ve always known that I wanted to travel and possibly live abroad. Growing up, there was something fascinating about being in a foreign country where everything was unknown. I chose the Fine Arts in the UK program because England’s quirky accent and take on music, fashion and theater is so fresh and different from the United States. Plus, our mother country gave the world The Beatles and William Shakespeare, individuals who are credited as the most influential characters in their respective crafts.
I’m hoping to gather a more worldly perspective and to learn more about a culture that helped define our country. I’ve never studied abroad or spent any extended period of time overseas, so I’m excited, but nervous – especially in regard to getting used to cars driving on the other side of the road. I cannot wait for the Royal Wedding or to see a Shakespearian play performed in its native tongue. Hopefully I’ll get over my aversion of tea and enjoy some crumpets, as well as catch a band or two playing at a pub. And who knows, maybe I’ll come home and trade “hello” for “cheerio”.”