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Virginia Commonwealth University

Chugging Along Just Fine

Well here we are, more than halfway done with my trip! It is incredible how fast the time passes. Now that I have been here for more than two months, I’ve started to look back on time here and how

“Culture Shock”

Since I’ve been in London I haven’t really felt a culture shock, but I have had to adjust to the dramatic sunset. Around 4:00pm everyday the sun begins to set and it’s completely dark outside by 5 which I’ve noticed

Culture “Shock”?

It feels unfair and ungracious for an American to try to claim culture shock in England. But I should know better than to succumb to that feeling. Traveling from Georgia to Arizona one experiences something akin to culture shock, so

Advice to the Next Program

If I could give advice to the next group of students going to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I would tell them to not overpack, but they need to pack lots of underwear and socks.  I had to wash my underwear by

Hello, England!

Last spring it felt as if this day would never arrive, and suddenly, you’re here—er… I’m here. There. I’m abroad! Initially one would think that England would not be too different from the US—that the shared language and history would

Hello London!

I arrived in Europe one month before the dance program at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire actually started, and already it feels like I’ve been away from the US for much longer. I wanted to experience being in a new area

Letter to Next

Hello future Vienna visitors, language studiers, and beer connoisseurs. Settle in and get ready to take note, I have some tips for you. First, while Vienna will show you what good wine and beer is, don’t overdo it. Yes, they

High Point- Low Point and my Cultural Identity

It’s hard to think of one high point during my study abroad experience, since there were so many good instances. So, allow me to begin this post with my low point. The last four days of our program were spent

Changed Perspectives: High Point/Low Point and Cultural Identity

Yes, I am going to be cliché and say that it is impossible to pick just one high point of my study abroad experience. My time in Italy was, for a lack of a better word, magical. After four weeks,

Letter to Next: Barbados Edition

Dear future participants, I don’t know how much anyone can be prepared for a program like “Atlantic History and Culture” in Barbados. It is quite cliché to say “expect the unexpected” but that is exactly what someone preparing for this

Letter to the Next

To the group that goes next year, I have a few things to say to you. Firstly, you should NOT go to Israel if the massacre of the Palestinian people is still going on, I know I won’t. Secondly, Be

Dear Future Travellers:

Get pumped! This trip is awesome and fantastic and you will love it! Be sure to get plenty of rest the whole month before you come because you will not be resting on this trip. It is nonstop action and

highs and lows

A high point on this trip was all the traveling we got to do.  Though it was exhausting it was also amazing to be able to see famous places like Rome, Pompeii, and Venice and then see other places that

non so la lingua!

Italian Italian Italian.  Literally the only classes I took.  I took an Italian language intensive class and boy was it intense.  Two to three hour classes twice a day, everyday.  Then on top of that there was hour to two


I think the only way I felt culture shock during this trip was through the other Americans who travelled with me and the ones who I met while I was there.  I’ve had my fair share of travels during my

Ciao Italia!

Spending two months (one actually in school) in Italy was the longest time I had ever spent in Western Europe.  I’m so used to the grey and brown, neutral colored architecture, the constant reminder of communism and dictators looming over

Letter to Next

For those of you interested in the International Consulting Program (ICP) I highly recommend you go for it! Things to consider: Banks in Cyprus have odd hours.  After being there for two weeks, I still can’t tell you when they

High Point, Low Point, and my Cultural Identity

Each and every day I spent in Barbados was wonderful, but if I have to pick just one moment to be the high point I would choose a day we called “Family Day.” Family Day happened about three days before

Highs, Lows and Cultural Identity

“You speak English but I know you aren’t Eurpopean. Where are you from?” “The United States.” *eyes wide* “Well what are you doing in Cyprus?!” “I’m participating in a study abroad program in conjunction with the University of Nicosia.  I

Academic Experience

The Artisan Resort, Cape Greco National Park is made up of fifteen homes located near the beach in the park.  My team’s consulting project task was to develop recommendations on how the resort could increase revenue during the off season. Interacting

Culture Shock

Before traveling to Cyprus, I really did not have any expectations of the country nor the people.  I purposely went to the country with a blank slate.  Every one I came in contact with was extremely hospitable.  Think “Southern Hospitality” times infinity.  As a part

Initial Impressions

Kalimera!  Good Morning Nicosia, Cyprus!  In June 2014 I participated in Virginia Commonwealth University’s International Consulting Program (ICP).  As a Virginian, I am accustomed to sweltering summers thick with humidity; however, in Nicosia, Cyprus I felt no humidity…just heat which is perfect for visiting

Cuba: High Point/Low point

In ten days of experiencing this country, identifying the low points will be quite difficult.  If you’ve read the previous posts, you’ll encounter some examples of the stories and situations that I may consider low points.  However, overall, the experience

Cuba: Culture Shock

Culture Shock My culture shock might be a bit different from what other people may consider shocking.  I am Hispanic, speak Spanish, and grew up in a Hispanic household.  Therefore, I have been exposed to similar type of food and

Cuba: initial impressions

Initial Impressions: Study Abroad Course:  Adult Learning in Global Environments: Focus on Cuba Level: Graduate students Group: 10 students Duration: Ten days My initial impressions started even before arriving to Havana, Cuba.  In conversation with my travelmates, they questioned how

Cuba: Academic Experience, Pre-departure/Post-arrival

PRE-DEPARTURE If current UNICEF statistics rates a country with a 100% adult literacy rate, wouldn’t you think that it would be a country that could be a global participant in the economic and cultural stage? Maybe part of the European

Cuba: Letter to Next

In reality, all four prompts prior to this one have consisted on reflections about what you should know before-hand, what to expect, and what and how to prepare. However, here are some last minute tips that may also help. First

Letter To Next

First off, if you’ve made the decision to attend Dr. Moitt’s Barbados Program, congratulations because you have made an unbelievably awesome choice. My only hope for all future Bajan students is for them to leave all of their expectations and

Letter to the Next

One of the best ways to prepare for your study abroad trip, in my opinion, is to be very open minded.  This is especially true if you’ve never traveled out of the United States before.  You are going to a

High & Low Point of My Trip

  The highest point of my time abroad was when myself and 5 of the other girls I went to Italy with took a ferry from Sicily to Malta and spent the weekend in Malta.  We went sightseeing the first

Letter to Next

See previous post for apologies… Dear Future Mexico Study Abroader, It’s awesome. I don’t think I need to say much after that, but I’ll elaborate a bit. It’s a very unique opportunity to study abroad. More so than being unique,

En classe encore, oh lala…

Been in Grenoble now for a week and a half, finally starting to settle After a hectic first week of classes, hopefully things now will settle into a smooth routine. The other day I was feeling particularly spunky so I

High-Low Point

By far, the highest point of the entire trip was being alone, totally immersed in Bajan society and conversing with the locals. It allowed me to get away from the tourist track and to get a really authentic feel of

Academic Experience

Ah, classes.  I am taking an Italian course as well as a Documentary photography and film course.  The Italian class is teaching us the basics, such as numbers, how to order food at restaurants, and how to formulate sentences.  We

Culture Shock

  The biggest culture shock for me was the fact that nobody exercises in Noto.  It was kind of mindblowing to me as an athlete that I only saw about 3 other runners in the town throughout the whole month

High Point, Low Point, and Cultural Identity

Sooooo…this post is VERY late…I’m REALLY sorry. I got caught up with school. Tons of stuff going on here. I’m on the executive board of 2 clubs and I’m taking 20 credits this semester. Just found some free time (a

My Arrival in Italy!

After a flight delay (shout out to the Chicago airport), missing the first day of touring cathedrals, and temporarily misplacing luggage, I was ecstatic to finally get to our first destination, Palermo.  The very first thing that stood out to


I am about to wrap up my first week here in Barcelona and figured some reflection was necessary. I must admit this past week has felt more like a month. So much has changed in just a matter of days.

Letter to Next

Letter to Next- It’s been a real joy writing out my adventure for you, and getting to re-live one of the most important journeys that I could ever have undertaken in the process. I hope you all enjoyed it and

Academic Experience: Being a Student Abroad

I think the strangest part about studying abroad is defining that gray line between being abroad to study and being abroad to ‘vacation,’ so to speak. Everyone around you tells you to enjoy your experience abroad to the fullest and in

In France Safe and Sound

         It was really hard for me for a while to believe that I was actually in France. While I was in Paris, I would look around myself and giggle because it didn’t seem real. Here I

Recommendations and Conclusions

If anyone asking me whether or not they should study abroad I would tell them to do it. I am so much happier for doing it. But first, if I were to tell the next group of people going into

To the Next Generation

Looking back on this experience I only have a few suggestions… 1. DONT book a flight for 13 hours and then have to wait 5 hours for the rest of the group. It is way more stress than it is

Highs and Lows

The highest point for me on this trip was spending 5 days in the Serengeti. We learned so much and had a great time seeing all the animals. I think I have definately changed since this experience. I am more

Letter to Next

It didn’t feel like it at the time, but my monthlong trip to Spain changed my life. I still feel its effects, whether it be my confidence in the Spanish language, the locals I made friends with contacting me, or

My Initial Impression

Hello All! First I wanna say how excited I am to be able to share my experience with you. This has been an incredible opportunity for me and I can’t wait to talk all about the adventures this semester! South

Write as if you are speaking to the next group of participants in the program. Tell them what you wish you had known before-hand, what to expect, how to prepare, what to pack, how much money to bring, etc. Use this last blog post as a time to really reflect on the experience you have had and how it has changed you.

Please take note – I’ve made this post quite emotional/personal, so don’t mind my all-over-the-place thoughts! If I had to speak to the next group of participants, I would tell them to plan ahead, especially while going on excursions. You’ll

Describe both the high point and low point of your time abroad. How has your cultural identity as an American changed, if at all, during your time abroad? Do you have a better sense of what it means to be an American? What have you learned about your own home culture as a result of studying abroad?

I already described my low point while studying abroad – the first week of classes. The high had worn off and it was very, very difficult to manage the constant Spanish stimulation of my brain around me. The newness was

Letter to Next

It’s interesting thinking about what to tell the next students. The first thing I would say is if you’re on the fence, you should definitely take the plunge and go for it! There are some things that would help to

High Point – Low Point and My Cultural Identity

High Point There were so many high points of my trip to Germany. I really enjoyed every day of the trip and it seemed like things were only getting better as the days passed. After my week of study I

Letter To Next

I am so glad I had this opportunity to study abroad in Italy, and I would highly recommend that anyone thinking about studying abroad should go for it! Seeing as this was my first time going anywhere abroad, I had

Passing the Torch

Now that my trip is over and I am back in the U.S I can really look back and reflect on my service-learning experience in Oaxaca, Mexico. I have grown tremendously because of this study abroad trip, discovering aspects of

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I knew that going to Mexico was going to expose me to a culture that I knew nothing about and I was excited to be able to broaden my horizons in such a way. However, spending time in Mexico unexpectedly

Day 13 and 14: Bye to Panama (+High-Low Point and Cultural Identity)

Day 13- San Blas (Big Dog Island) Couldn’t sleep much, we all kept kicking each other in the tent and the wind was so loud, because guess what? There are no wind breakers on an island. -.- But we got

Initial Impressions

Welcome to Qatar! It’s always a wonder to enter into a new place. There are a lot of firsts to come for me and some were already gathered by the time my plane touched down on August 13th. I have

Letter to the Next

If you are thinking about studying abroad, don’t let the opportunity slip away before you graduate. I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, but I had doubts that I could afford it and fit it into my complicated

High Point – Low Point and Cultural Identity

I had so many extraordinary experiences in Costa Rica, so it’s hard to choose just one high point of my time abroad. Although the majority of my time was spent in San José, I’d have to say that all of

Day 12: The Beauty of the Mountain Hike to Basking in San Blas

Day 12- 1/8/14 Yesterday’s hikes around the mountain made me more confident in heading back down today. Everyone’s descriptions of the cloud forest hike marked it as beautiful and amazing but also very difficult and intense. Several people told me

Letter to the Next

My study abroad trip to Guatemala was a fantastic experience, and even the best advice could not fully prepare me for the changes in culture and customs. That being said, there are a few things I wish I had known

Letter to Next

To those fortunate enough to go on this study abroad program, If you are going into this experience blindly, have no fear! I had never left the country before, and I had no clue what to expect! Embrace this feeling

High Point & Low Point

The high point of this trip was our safari in Kruger National Park.  Safari in Kruger was unparalleled by any other experience that I have had in my entire life, and I plan to return to Kruger again in the

Academic Experience

I took six credits while studying abroad.  My first course was an Anthropology class studying human evolution and legacy in South Africa.  My second class was a Biology class entitled  ”African Natural and Evolutionary History”.  I found both of these

Academic Experience

Officially I am enrolled in two courses while on this trip – “The Atlantic Slave Trade” and “Caribbean Perspectives on the African Diaspora.” When we registered for the program we were required to pick two of three options, the third

Letter to the Next

The International Consulting Program was the most rewarding experience of my college career thus far. It was a difficult, yet enjoyable two weeks in Spain. When the program began back at VCU, I was not expecting the project to be

Academic Experience

I took two classes during my study abroad program which were Cultural Heritage in Latin America and Environmental Impact and Social Development. My classes were Monday through Friday 8am to 12 and 6pm to 8. It was a bit of

The Highs and Lows and Cultural Identity

I didn’t have any low points in my time abroad – except maybe realizing how I wished a few things back home would change – and almost everything seemed to be a high point. I was so happy to be

Letter to Next Students Going Global: An Unusual Packing List

As I’ve mentioned before, I have travelled (a wee little bit) internationally previously. This past experience helped me immensely for this trip. In the spirit of what I’ve learned from my two times abroad, here is an unusual packing list

High Point, Low Point, Cultural Identity

Out of the three week period I spent in Spain, both my high point and low point occurred in the city Málaga. We took a train from Córdoba to Málaga the second weekend of the program, which we treated as

Culture Shock

A few other bloggers I’ve read on this site have already started a discussion about the phrase “culture shock.” I would only add that it seems to have a negative connotation and therefore seems to be phishing for a negative

Academic Experience

I am taking two classes through my study abroad program. One is a WRLD 391 course run by the VCU professor leading our trip and the other is an advanced grammar course at the language school we’re attending in Vienna

Culture Shock

As far as culture shock goes, I didn’t really experience any noticeable phases of it during my time abroad. This could partly be because I was constantly occupied with classes, weekend excursions, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my

High and Low Points; Cultural Identity — I am waiting to go on my big trip and I get blown up in New Jersey…

High Point There were so many high points to the trip. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is all good. I enjoyed a lingering two days in Strasbourg on my own time that were quite enjoyable. These

Day 11: Cloud Forest of Chucanti

Day 11- 1/7/14 Not going on the cloud forest hike. Disappointing, seeing as that hike was one of the reasons I came on this journey, but just now I am simply physically exhausted and unable to take an arduous 8

Initial Impressions

Immediately, I did not notice vast differences between where I flew out of on September 10 of last year and where I flew into the next morning; but that, however, is because I chose to study abroad in England from

Catching up with pictures!

  Figure 1: The fountain in the central plaza in Antigua Figure 2: Cathedral destroyed in the earthquake of 1773 (the capital moved from Antigua to the new Guatemala City) Figure 3: Figures used to preform a dance, the dancer

Cultural Identity

Hello again! I’m writing this blog post from back home. I landed in the US on Aug 1st, and after 11 days to process my time in Guatemala, I do have a slightly different take on my cultural identity. I’ve

Initial Impressions

I landed in San Jose during Costa Rica’s World Cup quarterfinals game which made it that much more of a memorable experience. People in the airport were going crazy when Costa Rica scored their first penalty kick against the Netherlands.

Academic Experience: A Co-Learning Team

This course was the Transatlantic Development Seminar — an intensive 3-week seminar of joint graduate study between VCU and University of Kaiserslautern urban planning, public administration, and homeland security students. Mostly planner folk. We were studying the topic of regional

Academic Experience

In Barbados I took two classes- history of the Atlantic slave trade and the history of Caribbean culture. They were simply fascinating to say the utmost least. Being in a foreign country and learning about subjects firsthand is an experience

Culture Shock

In all seriousness, the was little to no culture shock of any kind during my time here. I’ve lived in Panama for a good part of my life, which made accommodating to the Bajan lifestyle fairly easy. I’m used to

Culture Shock

I feel like I’m a pretty calm, flexible person. Because of this, I really haven’t experienced much culture shock. Also, I feel like it’s difficult to experience culture shock after only one month. However, while not shocking, there were a

Initial Impressions

Vienna is visually, linguistically, and socially very different from anything I’ve experienced in America. The city is filled with intricate, baroque buildings. The people have a very close idea of personal space and will not hesitate to bump into you.

Prompt #5: Letter to Next

Dear future study abroaders, If you could know just three things before studying abroad, you’ll probably stay alive for at least 4 weeks: 1. Budget money, especially for travel. Never expect your flights to always go as scheduled, especially if

Prompt #4: High Point, Low Point, and My Cultural Identity

Can my trip abroad start with my flights to Spain? Because that’s honestly when the low point of my trip happened. Long story kinda short (I posted about this earlier in the blog site, but here’s a recap): Since (if

Culture Shock: I Almost Have a Chat With the French Police

Our course consisted of a Germany segment, studying with students from the University of Kaiserslautern, a one-week break for travel, etc. and a week hosting the German students here in Richmond, VA. The design of the course was fairly rigorous

Day 10: Relaxation in Chucanti

“Day 10- 1/6/14 Good morning! I slept for what seems like forever and still managed to wake up at 4AM due to habit. I rolled over and tried to go back to la-la land, but it seems I was already

Initial Impressions

The exchange trip to Kaiserslautern was a bit of surprise to me. I am a older graduate student (I call myself a “gradual student”), and have a lot of barriers to taking this type of trip. It was nothing short

High Point-Low Point and Cultural Identity

I would have to say that most of my time spent abroad was a high point. I enjoyed learning all about the culture I was in and having the opportunity to experience new things, whether that was the language, the

Academic Experience

The classes I took for this Study Abroad program were Educational Psychology and Reading Diagnostics and Remediation. Since this was a Faculty-Led, two week study abroad program, our time spent in Italy was an addition to our regular class time

Day 9: Terrors on the Trail

Day 9- 1/5/14 “Today was, in a word, terrifying. The hike and ride up were so intense and crazy, I thought I wasn’t going to make it several times. I’m not religious, but I found myself praying on occasion. It

A Letter to Future Participants

This post is meant to inform potential future participants about the program I studied on and why they should too. Going to another country can be a risk, but that’s ok. You’re not a child anymore. You’re an adult, and

New, Different (better?) Academic Style

I took comparative public health systems courses while studying abroad. In the Netherlands I studied their healthcare system and when I was in the UK I studied the National Health Service (NHS), which is their public healthcare system. I liked

New Friends Help Cushion the Blow of Being Away From Home

I didn’t really experience culture shock in either Amsterdam or London. They were both similar enough to where I live in the United States that I didn’t feel too thrown off. There are definitely major differences between the two places,

Letter to Next

My advice to any student who is thinking about studying abroad in London is to go for it! It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Although I was only able to take one summer class

High Point-Low Point and Cultural Identity

There were many high points during my time abroad. Almost everyday, I would visit a new place or have a new experience. Even though there were so many wonderful  “high points” of the trip, I would have to say my

Culture Shocking

Culture shock is different for each person. Overall, Germany is pretty similar to the US in many ways so the cultural differences were not overt. When arriving, I quickly got used to not knowing what people were saying around me

Fresh Off the Train: First Impressions

When arriving in Germany, I was just happy to be back in Europe. From public transportation to more compact development, most of the continent grasps how to make more livable towns and cities. Germany, like other countries make sense to

First 10 days of Amsterdam

My initial impressions of Amsterdam are that it is a quiet, safe, and slow-paced city. When I walk through the city, the people are much more quiet here than back home. They speak at much softer levels to one another

Academic Experience

I have been having a great academic experience in Germany. Although I’m only here for a week, my schedule is packed with lectures which allow me to make the most of my time here. I’m traveling with urban planning students

Culture Shock

Culture shock is something you come to expect when you study abroad. However, it’s difficult to predict how that culture shock will manifest itself. Therefore, it’s difficult to prepare for it. Overall, I would say I didn’t experience any extreme

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