Skip to content

Virginia Commonwealth University

Academic Experience

I am taking one class during my short time in London, It is a sociology class called “The Cult of Celebrity: Idolatry in the Media Age.” I didn’t really know what to expect going into the class, but so far

Culture Shock

Although I was warned about culture shock prior to heading off to Peru, I don’t feel as though I experience much of it. I think that this had a lot to do with he fact that for the majority of

Initial Impression

Peru is a country filled with culture.  This was one of the most prominent differences I noticed in my first weeks abroad.   America is a melting pot—a mix of many different cultures—with a cultural experience to match.  Peru’s cultural experience

Letter to the next

Future ICP student let me tell you a little bit about Athens Greece. It is okay not to know anyone else doing this program. You will meet a lot of great people in this trip. This experience will opened any

High Point and your cultural identity

During my time abroad I learned that being an American was about being open minded and adventurous. When working with our designated company abroad, I realized how innovative our ideas were. We always found new ways to make their ideas


The capital of Spain, Madrid, has a perfect blend of attractions for people with all kinds of interests. It was only a 30 minute train ride from my house in Alcala de Henares so many times after school we would

Highs and Lows and My New Cultural Identity

It’s hard to determine a definite “high” of my time studying abroad. The entire trip was such a great experience for me, and I would say I experienced my “high” when I was in a beautiful city or on the

Community Service

Hey there everyone! So today was pretty interesting. We went to the school down the street and worked with some of the kids on various things. When we first arrived all of the kids were super happy to see us.

Fashademic Experience

When people hear “study abroad” they often underestimate the real learning experience that happens away from home. I was one of those people! I knew that I was going to Italy to study fashion, but I figured the classes would

Day 5: Last Day in Juan Diaz Mature and Mira Flores on the Panama Canal

“Day 6                                                                                                                         1/2/14 Summary of the Day: Temp: 79.3-88.8 degrees F Humidity: 87.5%-72.5% Time: 6:15AM- 12:40PM Site: Juan Diaz Mature Weather: Humid, hot, sunny (cooler than yesterday) Soil: Muddy, not terribly wet; still no standing water (odd for

Cultural Immersion

    Hey there everyone! So the last few days have mainly been spent doing more social research and being involved in the local community. Yesterday, (7/24) we went into the Kimb ya Simba community and did some surveys on

Academic Experience – Field School, Lectures, and Religious Sites

It’s really hard to fathom just how much I’ve learned over the past month. We had some readings and assignments prior to the start of the physical program, lectures 4 nights a week, and the dig is a field school,

Initial Impressions

White sandy beaches, different shades of blue fanning out all the way to the edge of the sea’s horizon- they got it all if your coming here as a fat tourist looking to sip your Puerto Rican rum margirita while you enjoy

Initial Impressions

Greetings from Barbados! My name is Tyler and I’m a senior at VCU doing a double major in History and International Studies with minors in Religious Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women Studies. This is my first trip abroad and

Academic Experience | Work Hard Play Hard

    Through the International Consulting Program, I was able to get real world experiences in a work environment. The ICP Program teaches us how to be business consultants and the processes of a consulting project. The courses we took

Culture Shock: an unwelcoming welcome

I had dragged my suitcase up the stairs to my third floor apartment and was delighted to find a welcoming open door.  That meant I did not have to wait for a Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA) representative

Classy Classes

Buenos tardes otro vez de Xela Any experience outside of one´s culture and comfort zone is a learning experience, but it´s now time to talk about the much more structured class time. Since my graduation from the Spanish school Juan

Letter to Next

If anyone is looking to study abroad in college, they should really consider their options…. And realize that every single option is pointing them in the direction of yes! There are really no concrete reasons you should not study abroad,

Culture Shock

Coming to London, I was expecting to feel much more of a culture shock than what I have been experiencing. I see the differences, but I don’t really feel them. Even the five hour time change has not had much

Culture Shock

Having been abroad before, I had already been through the whole homesick phase. I am used to being away from family, and even friends for a long period of time. I am also quite good at making new friends, so

Initial Impressions

  Ciao! My name is April and I am a first year Grad Student working towards my Master’s of Teaching in Early and Elementary Education. I had the wonderful opportunity to travel abroad to Florence, Italy during Spring Break to

High Point/Low Point & Cultural Identity

On Wednesday the 18th I had to say my goodbyes to Florence. The night before, our last Tuesday night, was spent how we spent all of our Tuesdays in June: watching the Beatles tribute band at the music venue Bebop,

Lazy Days and Ngorongoro Crater

So it has been a little while since I posted last! Sorry about that! I know some of you all at home are having withdraws from my awesome posts. So lets see Monday (7/21) was less then eventful, we spent

Letter to Next

Studying abroad in Spain for a month was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was able to completely immerse myself into a different culture and make life-long friends. However, there are some things I wish I

Initial Impressions

My roommate Brittany and I have finally arrived in London! After a two hour delay and ten hours of being on our the flight from Dulles, we made it Heathrow International Airport. We do feel like we lost a bit

Day 5: Juan Diaz Mature Full Field Day and Academic Experiences

I’ve been stocking up these posts, so I’ll be putting them up in quick succession this week. My computer has been “in the shop” so to say, and I’ve been accessing things through my phone, which is not very good

Benvenuto a Italia!

So, considering my exhaustion and prolonged jet lag, this blog post will be a brief one. The following are just a few snapshots of my favorite moments within my first 48 hours in Italy. I captured the best drinks: a

Una Carta al Próximo Estudiante

This is it: the last post! I’m going to tell you here some things I wish I had known before going. First off, bring a towel. My family had no problem supplying me with a towel, but it honestly seemed

Back in the States, Baby!

I’m finally back home and, yes, it is as awesome as you would think. I’ve flushed the toilet paper, drunk from the sink, and even slept in two days in a row. Life is gooooood. Right here I’m supposed to

High point and Low point

Throughout this trip there have been many high points and also quite a few low points, but both have helped better me as a person and solidify my cultural identity in my mind and others. The first high point that

Academic Experiences

  The academic aspect of this study abroad trip has been my favorite so far, with incredibly famous archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel leading our program there nothing we can’t do. I picked this study abroad because of my interest in archaeology

Culture Shock

There were several components of Israeli society that I could say “shocked” me, the first of which was the literal wall they have placed around Palestine. Very reminiscent of the Berlin wall this wall disconnects Israel from the predominantly Arab

Initial Impressions

Upon Arriving in Tel Aviv Airport I was greeted with a relaxed security and a problem less entrance into the country. My cousin was supposed to pick me up right when I arrived, but when I called him he hadn’t

Academic Experience

I know this post is also one day late…sorry! I took 6 credits at Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Both classes (3 credits each) were VCU classes: Spanish 321 (Latin American Civilization) and 331 (Latin American Literature Part 2). They

Culture Shock

I know this post is one day late, but I got home really late last night and I was too exhausted to think, so I figured it best to do this today instead. The first week was bad, frankly speaking.

Tree Planting and Farm Touring

So, as I had eluded the other day, yesterday (7/19) we went out to the local school to talk to the kids about planting trees and encourage the school to plant things and be kind to the environment. We didn’t

Culture Shock and Military Conflict

I think culture shock is a terrible term. It’s really sensationalist. There was nothing shocking about my experience in Israel, although there were many striking cultural differences that I found fascinating. I came to Israel with an open mind, expecting

Day Trip to Córdoba

Yesterday, my roommate and I took a day trip to Córdoba! Córdoba is a very historical city in the South of Spain. It was the capital of an Islamic caliphate, and in the 10th century, it has been estimated that

Culture Shock | Avoid the Gypsies

I experienced culture shock several times during the trip. First, I found it unusual how cheap everything is at restaurants. At most places in Córdoba, I noticed that you get a free tapa (appetizer) when you buy an alcoholic drink.

Letter to Next

So this last post is going to be a hypothetical letter to the next group of participants in this program! Dear Next Graphic Design student in Florence, One of my favorite pictures – sitting at the Ptitti Palace and looking

Kudu and Klipspringers

I’m sure everyone is getting really tired of me talking about how exciting it is here but it’s so true! Today we went out to Manyara Ranch, which is a place where the locals can bring their cattle and shoats

Masaai Culture

  Hey there! So let’s see, today was crazy. We got up and went out to the local Masaai Tribe to do our home stays/ cultural immersions and let me tell you, we were immersed elbow deep in cow dung.

Tarangire National Park

Today was pretty exciting! We got up super early and drove an hour and a half to Tarangire National Park, this park has been, by far, the best park we have been to so far. There were so many animals!

High Point, Low Point, and Cultural Identity

One of the high points of studying abroad in Spain was learning the language by being forced to interact and engage with native speakers of Spanish whether it be on the streets, in restaurants, hotels, bars/clubs, and even travel agencies. I

Academic Experience

Throughout my trip in Greece I had the opportunity to intern for a company. Even though I wasn’t taking traditional classes abroad, I still learned a lot from this experience. Our internship consisted of creating a consulting report and presentation

Initial Impressions | Bienvenido a España

Hola! My name is Matt Ong and I am a junior at VCU studying Business Marketing. I am very fortunate to be able to study abroad in Spain. This blog is to document my journey for those who wish to

My High/Low Point & Cultural Identity

Low Point I think the low point of my time abroad was the racism I have experienced. I know it is a heavy topic to speak about. It was not intense or extreme racism I have experienced, but it was

Manyara Plains… again

Hey there everyone! What’s new around camp?… well lets see.. yesterday was pretty mild, we went out with Mwamhanga (our Conservation Sociology teacher) and helped with a survey. We went around and had to ask the local farmers what they

Letter to the next

If you are planning to study abroad, here are a few tips that I found helped me make the most out of my trip. 1. Meet as many locals as you can This has many benefits. You get the inside

High and Low Point

I’d have to say the high point of my time in Spain was our trip to Granada. I think it may be my favorite city that I have have ever visited. We were able to explore, have a group dinner

Cultural Shock

The study abroad program was full of surprises. I had experienced cultural shock during our field trip to Aegina, an island near Athens. Before that weekend trip I didn’t really feel like I was in a completely different country. Locals

A note for future South Africa study abroad students!

Dear future South Africa study abroad students, Although I had no trouble with culture shock, Dr. Rector-Verrelli was very good about asking us everyday how we were feeling, and what was on our minds. When you go abroad, and if

Academics Abroad

Spanish 305, also known as advanced conversation, was the most challenging and rewarding class to take aboard. You see, I have only studied Spanish for a year now, which makes this class challenging. However, the reward was well worth the

Gardens of Mexico

The 4th weekend. Today. A few of us went to the Gardens of Mexico this morning. largest botanical garden in the world they export like 43 million flowers per year to around the world the rarest plant they have is

Puebla and Cholula

The 4th weekend (this weekend). We went to Puebla and Cholula yesterday, Saturday. super picturesque towns in the mountains, surrounded by a few volcanoes. one of the volcanoes was spewing some smoke BEAUTIFUL churches from the era of the conquistadors


The 3rd weekend we were here, we went to Acapulco, a very popular and famous tourist destination here in Mexico. It’s kinda like Cancun, but a notch lower and less expensive. I want to say this is probably the most

Teotihuacan, Folkloric Ballet

The second weekend, I visited the pyramids in Teotihuacan, saw the National Folkloric Ballet in Mexico City, shopped at the silver mining town Taxco, and spelunked in the caves of Cacamahuilpa. Teotihuacan: by far the coolest place of the 4

Taxco, Grutas de Cacamahuilpa

This is a continuation of the last blog post 2nd weekend excursions: Taxco: apparently silver is a big deal here in Mexico…i mean its a big deal everywhere, but here especially. in the little town of taxco, there are 3

Sore Bottom

Hujambo! So where to begin, yesterday we had 2 classes.. One class we learned about how to identify the different kinds of dung and the other we talked about how to get conservation and wildlife rehabilitation to stick with the

Experiencia Académica

I’m sitting here in my new basement room of my host house on the first free day I’ve had since I’ve been here in Cuernavaca. Did you hear that? I haven’t had a free day since June 19th. Regardless, today’s

High point, low point

Table Mountain, Cape Town I have been thinking about this for a while, and I cannot narrow down one aspect of the trip that I would consider to be the high point over all else. The fact is, this education

Prompt #5: Letter To Next

To the new adventurer discovering a foreign land, Preliminary To-Dos:       I think one of the most beneficial things you can do is to plan for the worst…make photocopies of everything. Copy the front and back of credit

Day 4: Juan Diaz and Cultural Shock/Expectations

Day 4: 12/31/13 Unfurled nets at ~6:255 AM Site: Panama Viejo Time: 6:25-11AM 1st check at 7:00 AM Check every 30-40 minutes Temp of day: End was ~90 degrees F Weather: Hot, humid, sunny Wind: Slightly breezy Soil: Muddy, less

¿Culture Shock?

I suppose it would be natural for me to experience some kind of culture shock in response to the wild differences between the US and Guatemala. So far, 17 days in, I think I´ve acclimated rather smoothly to change. To

Q & A


Safari!!! :-)

Hujambo Everyone!!! Yesterday and today have been super exciting!Yesterday, (7/10) We went out to Lake Manyara National Park (LMNP) to do research, as I mentioned in my previous post. I finally decided to study the feeding patterns of the Vervet

First Impression

After anxiously waiting for the last five months, I was finally in Athens, Greece. Nothing was better than walking out of the gates and seeing the Greek flag in front of the beautiful mountain scene. After enduring a long 14-hour

Anthropological Museum, Xochimilco, Cortes Palace, Frida Kahlo Museum

Every weekend, we go on excursions around Mexico to better acquaint ourselves with the culture, people, and history of Mexico. The weekend of the 21st and 22nd, we went to: Anthropological Museum of Mexico: biggest museum of pre-hispanic artifacts in

¿Y Que Es La Verdad?

That translates to “What is the truth?” It’s a reference to a quote that I saw on the one of the many walls of the Sagrada Familia. Walking into this basilica designed by Antonio Gaudi was just epic. It literally

Attention future VCU ICP Prague Explorers!

Hello, my name is Jeff and I´ll be your tour guide, giving you a rundown of what to expect during your stay. First off, let´s talk about what to do before you go: save money to go, and APPLY FOR

Na shledanou Prague, Hallo Germany!

On Saturday the 12th, I had to say goodbye to the Czech Republic for now, but of course I used the proper Czech to do it. Typically, Na Shledanou is used to say goodbye, but I think that over the

Culture Schock?

While abroad I experienced a bit of culture shock in several ways.  The first time we went to the local market in Johannesburg, South Africa the vendors constantly try to get you to go into their shops and buy from

Letter to next

In this post I’ll mainly write what I think maybe helpful for future students going to Sicily. First, CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO ! Sicily is generally very hot and humid in summer. However, if you go to a

Why I missed America?

The experience of sitting in class with students from different educational systems was quite unique. Every night during the socializing time, students would exchange stories about their lab environments. Surprisingly, the stories sounded quite similar as if all of us

First Impressions

Buenos Tardes de Xela!   Just to catch up, I landed in Guatemala City on June 25, immediately left for Antigua and spent the following four nights there. On June 29 I left Antigua for Quetzaltenango, known as Xela (Shay-la).

Academic Experience

I’m taking classes at the Universidad de Alcala – Instituto Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately our classes are only filled with North American study abroad students so we don’t have as big of an opportunity to mix in with the locals. The institution

Culture Shock!!

Our group as a whole experienced culture shock together. In Spain, if you invite someone out for drinks or dinner you expected to be the one paying. In the U.S. this may not be the case. When you go out

Day 3: Panama Viejo and Initial Impressions

Day 3: 12/30/13 Sorry I didn’t get my post up yesterday for 12/30/13′s entry (on 6/30/14). I’m having some internet issues so things are going to be a bit behind. Actually, that fits in pretty well with what actually occurred

First impressions of Israel and the dig

Israel is beautiful. I landed in Tel Aviv on Friday 6/27 around 2pm. The beach there is fantastic, if a bit crowded. The hostel that most of us chose to stay at was super grimy, but only like 90 shekels

Letter to Next

       I have met so many amazing people these last five months. Trieste is another weird port city with a lot of culture and I love it here. The first day I moved here back in February I went

Dear future student….

So  you’re off to Ghana?  Here’s some advice: Leave your over-scheduled, over-anxious, always-on-time attitude at home and get ready to be on Ghana-time!  That way, when you tell your driver to pick you up at 3:30 and he shows up

First Impressions

First of all, I’m super sorry that I haven’t been able to update this blog recently. It’s been so busy around here…Let me tell you all about it…   We got here at night, so my first impression wasn’t the

The summer course in Erice..

After spending some time in Palermo, we headed to Erice, a medieval peaceful town on top of a mountain. The course, organized by Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, will be taking place there. It was inspiring knowing

Culture Shock

The first few days in Sicily were quite shocking to me, even though I come from another Mediterranean country that is very similar to Italy. Having lived in the US for more than a year, I almost forgot how things

Day 2: First Work and Play Day in Panama

From 12/29/13 Quick shot of our sleeping arrangements: [As a note, please respect my photography and give credit where it is due if you wish to use it. Alia Hamdan] Now to the journal entry: This place is amazing! So

El Choque Cultural

For this prompt, I’m supposed to write about any and all culture shock I’ve experienced while I’ve been here in Cuernavaca. Surprisingly, the answer is almost a resounding none. If anything, I expected things to be more shocking than they

Academic Experience

A watercolor painting of the a part of the Etruscan ruins in Fiesole Studying abroad is not just about traveling, it’s also about the class work! The classes I took are GDES 491: Italian Design and GDES 417: Interdisciplinary Team Design. In

Letter to the Next

Dear Fellow Travelers, My recent study abroad experience in Southwestern Germany has taught me a number of things about making the most out of my travel experiences. The logistical aspects of traveling, while not the most exciting part of your

Culture Shock

I haven’t really experienced much culture shock in Florence, honestly. Cute sign in a local pasta and wine shop A cute book in Italian A cool military sign that I found on the way back from a trip from Cinque

Day 1: Impressions

And just to cover my bases date-wise, here’s the actual first day in another country’s impressions. Day 1: 12/28/13 Well, here we are in Panama! The trip went more or less smoothly, with some unexpected bad headaches and lightheadedness courtesy

Pining for Panama

Six months ago on December 28, 2013 We started traveling this morning, around 3am, after 14 of us gathered outside of VCU Life Sciences building, waiting for a shuttle to arrive and gather us up into its rumbling embrace bound

Working in the City of a Hundred Spires

As a student abroad, it would be appropriate for me to write a post detailing my academic experience in Prague. Here’s the problem: I’m not actually taking any classes. I’m just partying all the time. Jokes aside, I’m in Prague

High Point-Low Point and Your Cultural Identity

The high point of the trip for me was our visit to a small, family-run winery in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse . We began the day with a tour of the Hambach Castle and a beautiful lunch in a beer garden. The

Academic Experiences

My trip to Germany consisted of a week of meetings with local economic development officials which were meant to be compared to those in America. Although these sessions did not take place in a formal classroom setting, they were extremely

Culture Shock

Culture shock, according to my trusty old friend Google, is defined as “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” Here’s an example of the W

High Point/Low Point and Cultural Identity

To be completely honest, this trip changed my life. Every day was a new adventure where I learned something new…whether it was in school, at home, exploring, etc. It’s hard to describe my high point of my study abroad experience

Chilean Sunset… saying my final goodbyes to Chile

I have less than 3 weeks left here in Chile and it’s time to start saying my goodbyes. Classes have ended; friends are going back home; others are starting their summer travels. And what perfect way to begin saying my

Academic Experience

I am enrolled in World 391 – a service learning course. We have talked about Spanish history beginning with the Franco dictatorship and ending with the issue of immigration in Spain. The service learning component of the course involves a

Letter to Next

For anyone considering studying abroad in Córdoba through VCU this is my letter to you. Studying abroad this summer was a great experience and I recommend it to everyone. I say that for many reasons. Although you may hear about

High Point – Low Point and My Cultural Identity

A couple of weeks into the program I was asked what my favorite part of the trip had been so far. This was surprisingly a really tough question for me and I could not think of any answer, so I

  • Categories

    • No categories
  • Archives