Kellie is an Abroad101 Global Ambassador, who spent the spring of 2013 studying abroad in Paris, France with AIFS. In this post she tells us why you should consider living with a host family when you study abroad!
“When I chose to live with a host family I knew I would gain cultural and language experience, but I honestly had no idea what I was signing myself up for. Let me start by telling you about my first night in Paris where I started to question whether it was too late to just fly back to Texas. Continue reading →
Kellie is an Abroad101 Global Ambassador this semester, blogging about her adventures abroad in Paris with AIFS. Read on to hear how she followed her dreams- all the way to the Eiffel Tower!
“First off, let me start by saying how much of a blessing this whole experience has been. I could not have done this without my friends, family, my boyfriend, AIFS, Abroad 101, and everyone else that had a part in making my Paris dreams come true. So thank you all! Now that I got that out of the way, I will desperately try over the next couple of weeks to articulate how wonderful this adventure has been and why you should experience your own. Continue reading →
Abroad101 Global Ambassador Katie O’Brien blogs from Perugia, Italy. In this post she shares with us tips for planning the perfect spring break adventure across France, Spain, and Morocco. Continue reading →
Kellie is an Abroad101 Global Ambassador blogging from Paris, France.
Each semester Abroad101 chooses the most compelling student bloggers, photographers, and videographers to serve as Global Ambassadors. As GAs, these students are tasked to document their adventures in a way that is inspiring, exciting, honest, and transformative. Through the well crafted words and images of our Global Ambassadors, our readers are able to travel the world right along with them. Continue reading →
Abroad101 Global Ambassador Katie O’Brien blogs from Perugia, Italy. In between studying for midterms, Katie finds time to share with us the five ways to explore your sprit of adventure.
1. Find your place—a place that allows your mind to become completely in tune to the present moment. Wherever that place is, do me a favor and close your eyes—just listen to your senses. What does the city feel like? I discovered a priceless view of Perugia one afternoon by chance, and I love how peaceful I feel every time I visit. The way the wind tousles my hair as I stand in awe of the beauty of the city, the light chattering in Italian I hear off in the distance—it’s my time to feel smitten by Perugia.
2. Always remind yourself that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. I think about the times I spent daydreaming in my Linguistics class about traveling; to finally have the chance to be curious, and to learn from the people and culture surrounding me feels refreshing.
3. Listen to your intuition. Explore with fresh eyes, and be in touch with your surroundings.
4. There is something to cherish from the relationships you create as you travel. That heart-pumping momentum I felt as I left for Budapest on a whim, with friends I hardly knew, is what I’ll remember years from now. There’s really nothing like discovering a new place with new friends.
5. Leave your expectations behind. You create the life you want. Spark up a conversation with a local at your favorite café, or try something you never thought you’d do. This is what makes your experiences abroad unique. I’ve come to appreciate the times I’ve felt challenged learning a new language, as well as the times I’ve felt carefree, laughing uncontrollably singing karaoke.
It was a very tearful goodbye yesterday morning to my fellow AIFS students in Istanbul, Turkey. We all have different plans- some are studying abroad again for fall semester so they are traveling around Turkey, some are going back to the states, and I’m traveling around Europe for a bit before heading home. I figure that I might as well take advantage of that while I’m here.
Tons of Muslims gathering for activities, Sultanahmet in the background.
Submitted by Rachel Whitcomb, Global Ambassador in Istanbul, Turkey
A long skirt and covered shoulders gets you through most neighborhood and sights safely.
One of the most interesting parts about Istanbul and Turkey in general is that although it’s a secular state, and has been for decades, the population is 98% Islamic and at this time of year, Ramadan, it certainly shows. This unique combination leads to a variety of clothing styles- modest coverings ranging from burqa (fully veiled except for the eyes), hijab (only the face is showing), and just covering all of the arms and legs, to the modern European/Western style dressing. There are certain parts of the city that you need to be aware of what you are wearing, but most of the time it’s not something we worry about.
I’ve been in solidarity with the half of the Muslim population here in Istanbul that has been fasting for Ramadan- that’s no food or water from morning prayer at 3:55 a.m. until the sun sets at 8:40 p.m. (yes, that many hours without food or water). It’s been a challenging and humbling experience, especially to be a part of it around so many other people! By day, the city and areas around my campus are pretty barren, but after the sun sets people come from all over and hang out and celebrate. It’s a beautiful sight to see!
Submitted by Kristen Schlotman, Global Ambassador in Madrid, Spain.
Jumping in Segovia.
I can’t believe I only have one more week in Madrid! This experience has been such a whirlwind. Never in my life have I done so much in less than a month. One of the best parts of studying abroad is traveling on weekends. The first weekend all of us in USAC were in Spain for the Running of the Bulls. Without a second’s hesitation we bought tickets and headed to Pamplona. Most of the other students in the program also bought tickets. We knew right away this was going to be a great weekend to bond and to get to know each other.
Pamplona was probably one of the crazier weekends of my life. The bus departed from Madrid at 2 PM on Saturday and by 8 PM, we were ready to experience one of the biggest celebrations in Spain. Dressed in the traditional red and white, we walked around the city taking everything in. By 1 AM, we were bar hopping, drinking calimocho (red wine and Coca Cola), and meeting people from all over the world. Sleeping was not an option. The city was too vibrant and exhilarating to sit it out. At 6 AM we lined up to watch the running. This was somewhat anticlimactic, but the night itself was one of a kind.
Submitted by Brendan Bond, Global Ambassador in Galway, Ireland
Within a few days of arriving in Ireland, I learned something very important about this country. I was told, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Moral of the story is that the weather here is fickle, always changing and never making up its mind on whether it wants to be sunny, cloudy, windy, dreary, warm, cold, misty, rainy or downpouring.