Get to know our Fall Semester Foreign Correspondents. Be sure to follow our blog for updates on all of their adventures abroad. Destinations include India, Africa, Australia and Chile.
Program: Mumbai, India
Mumbai is the financial capital of India and the second largest city in the world. To most foreigners, it is the embodiment of chaos. Drivers are expected to run red lights, people hang out of train cars on the local train lines and a majority of the city’s population lives in poverty. At the same time, the city is home to India’s movie stars, some of the world’s most expensive real estate and a melting pot of the country’s different ethnic and religious groups. I am studying business here at a local MBA college. I expected to encounter a modern, world class city. Mumbai may be an important world city, but it is not in the same class in terms of infrastructure and livability of other major cities such as London, New York, Shanghai and Singapore.
I’m excited to visit the Himalayas in northern India and travel through the backwaters of Kerala, a state in southern India, after the conclusion of my program! I’m also excited to continue meeting up with friends from my last trip to India. I am also working on some freelance journalism assignments for American publications.
Major: Global Studies – Africa
Program: Teach in Ghana
I’m in Ghana with the Teach in Ghana program. I’m here first because I’ve always wanted to adventure into this part of the world, second because I have to study somewhere in Africa for my major. It is an academic program, but during my time here I will be teaching English at a local school.
What I am a little worried about is finding my way in a new city (not to mention new country…oh yeah, and new continent.) Cape Coast is more than ten times the size of Athens, measured by population. I am not the hugest fan of big cities with lots of people and lots of things happening at once. It’s my opinion, but I don’t know what anybody finds appealing about living in New York City. (Just to put it in perspective, NYC is like…forty times larger than Cape Coast. I’m being dramatic.) But really, it will all be new to me. I don’t even know the basics of the language! (Way to go, Hattie. That was a good decision, studying an East African language for the year before you go to West Africa. Brilliant.) Dramatics aside, spending time in the city will be really important and probably also very strange. For the first time in my life, I will be a minority. I’m not sure why this is scary. It’s probably because I don’t like being noticed very much, and I will most likely stick out. Certainly, though, there will be something to learn from this specific experience.
Major: Special Education
Program:Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) in Perth, Australia
I have been placed in a suburb of Perth in Western Australia. The Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) program allows education majors to travel to a country around the world and immerse in the culture and experience while completing their professional internship in a local school. I chose COST because I was always interested in studying abroad, but wanted it to benefit me not only personally but also professionally by enriching my experiences teaching. I expected a mix of Western culture along with their own in Australia, and have been both accurate and totally surprised at various differences and similarities (even small things like the comparable abundance of McDonald’s and KFCs everywhere or the students all referring to me as ‘Miss’).
I have never studied abroad before and never traveled on my own, so this is all very new for me! I am most excited about living with a host family and living like a local, but also seeing as much as I can that is unique and amazing in the area. I was most scared about coming completely on my own and not having many things to do outside of my teaching responsibilities- luckily, that is definitely not the case so far! I tried not to have too many preconceived notions coming in to this experience, but did have some ideas about the laidback Aussie culture as compared to ‘the American way’.
I live with a host mum and dad and two dogs, as well as a fellow COST student who is from Eastern Illinois University.
Major: Political Studies and Global Studies: Peace and War Studies
Program: Viña del Mar, Chile
Before arriving in Chile I had expected a country like all others I had visited in Latin America. A country that has faced recent political upheaval and is still in the process of healing, a place with kind people that have a vivacious love for life, and a landscape shaped by a 4000-mile coastline that extends from the driest desert in the world to Antarctica. I expected a challenging experience of learning to communicate not just through a different language, but also through a different cultural lens. “Eager” best describes my emotions before leaving for my first study abroad. I was eager to learn more about a country that I knew very little about before selecting my study abroad program. I selected the API program in Viña because it offered me a chance to improve my language skills and learn about the political and social structure of a Latin American country. In the past, I have had the opportunity to visit countries like Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Denmark, Belgium, and more for weeks at a time. However, I have not had the opportunity to delve into a culture as much as I will in Chile because of the time afforded to me. Now that I have the opportunity, I hope to soak up the world around me and discover something about myself in the process.