I've visited indigenous ruins, climbed the Andes Mountains, bathed in thermal baths from volcanic hot springs, lived on an island in the Pacific Ocean, ziplined through the rainforest canopy, and straddled the equator. But beyond just exploring the country for fun, I've been learning so much about Ecuador's history and culture. Through the university program here in Quito, we've learned about the political, cultural, and economic history of Ecuador as well as its current issues in those areas. We've experienced the culture firsthand through our time living with host families. My Spanish has improved significantly since I've arrived. We were also given the opportunity to separate into tracks of study, and in the track of education I've learned vast amounts about the educational system in Ecuador and how it compares with that of the United States. I will also be leaving the capitol for a five-week long internship in which I will be teaching English at the high school and elementary level. Lindsay H.
Recently in Study Abroad comments Category
Cairo is wonderfully aggravating, with daily protests against the regime’s constitutional amendments, snarling traffic, frequent elevator malfunctions, vernal blossoms on the trees in Zamalek (the rest of the city doesn’t have trees), days both miraculously clear of pollution and others choked with it, Cairoians still wrapped in scarves and sweaters against the chimerical chill in the air, endlessly bemusing cab stories (our driver today had an air freshener advertising Viagra), afternoons lolling in the courtyard at American University–Cairo drinking in the sunlight as if we had just survived a Minnesota winter. On Thursday, I awaited the end of classes with more eagerness than usual, as a friend and I planned on riding horses at the pyramids to catch the sunset. . . . Laura S.
I have met some amazing people overseas and have been presented with travel opportunities I only dreamed of. I spent the Christmas season in Scandinavia with a friend I had met in England, allowing me to spend time in Copenhagen and Stockholm. I have also learned to travel alone, having been to Barcelona, Edinburgh and Glasgow within the past two months. I have scheduled trips to Berlin, Krakow, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Dublin. I still want to visit the Netherlands and Italy if time and money allow. Suffice to say, travel is one of my passions along with writing. Studying abroad is the best thing I ever did for myself. Rachel K.
Studying in Durban, South Africa, I cherished the many opportunities to challenge myself as a student, a woman, a member of a family, a traveler, a friend and a world citizen. I was able to really integrate into the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, and made many friends. During an independent study period, I researched the reading patterns of people in two communities in Durban. I surprised myself with the length and depth of my final project. Learning to research and use unfamiliar resources has been such an asset to my education, and I feel more and more confident in my abilities as a member of the greater academic community. I still struggle to realize that I am back in Minnesota permanently as I feel, strangely, that I am home for a visit and will return to Durban sometime soon. Anna K.
All is well in Italy. Italian classes are going well, and I’m finding time to employ the language skills I am learning by cooking in a restaurant at night. Being surrounded by—and being a part of—a culture and community as unique as this one, as well as taking the time to reflect on my own culture in America, has taught me more than I could’ve imagined. More than anything, I’ve learned to appreciate the people: the butcher who I talk to in the market or the old women who sit in the park each afternoon. I am confident that upon my return to the United States, I will appreciate the people of my own community so much more. Mark A.
Hola a todos! Spain is so amazing! It has been wonderful to learn more about the vibrant culture and people here, and I finally feel like my Spanish is sufficient! The family I live with has gone above-and-beyond to make me feel comfortable, and I can't imagine my time here without them. Teaching English at the elementary school has also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I feel so fortunate to get to explore such an amazing place, and I am thrilled that I now have friends here to come back and visit! Dana B.
Argentina is a fabulous country full of rich culture and diversity unknown to me before my arrival. In Buenos Aires, there is tango dancing in the streets and a leather shop around every corner, not to mention the mouth-watering smell of empanadas! Joya W.
In Montpellier, France, our class visited the Cafe Riche where Joseph Conrad stayed and wrote Mirror of the Sea, one of the novels we read in class. We also read Louis Stevenson's Travels in the Cevannes with a Donkey and got to visit the Cevannes and were accompanied by donkeys! This hands-on experience of the landscapes not only brought the texts alive, but inspired the class to write, realizing what wonderful texts have come due to the inspiration of southwest France. Abbey K.
Living in Australia for five months was amazing. The university system was relaxed, but I had to make sure I worked hard, too. Traveling around the country and to New Zealand was amazing, and there is nothing I would change about my experiences abroad. April T.
Today a friend and I went for a bicycle ride in true Dutch fashion. I even had a chance to ring my bell at people walking in the bike lane! The city of Amsterdam overflows with bicycles. There is a three-story parking garage devoted strictly to bikes and literally no parking garages for cars! My friend even reported being in a bicycle traffic jam. During my bike ride, I really felt like I was participating in Dutch culture. It’s one of the best things I’ve done since arriving here. Bri B.