Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christian | Costa Rica

Christian Bopp is a junior at UW who travelled to Costa Rica in the spring of his sophomore year. Christian was a study abroad student at Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica. Christian loved Veritas and said that, “the faculty and students were awesome.” He was also very impressed with the University’s extracurricular activities and academically-oriented outdoor excursions.

To set-up his study abroad experience, Christian worked with a program provider called International Studies Abroad (ISA). ISA has a partnership with UW and regularly serves UW students in planning their study abroad trips. ISA helped Christian set-up his studies and also matched him with his Costa-Rican host family. ISA also coordinates local weekend trips for study abroad students.

Christian took part in many short trips around Costa Rica and thinks that this travel is an important part of any study abroad experience. About this he says, “I would advise students to make traveling and experiencing the local culture a priority (in addition to classes).” Christian traveled frequently, including many surfing expeditions and a trip to LasIslas de Ometepe in Nicaragua to hike Volcanoes. His favorite memory from his travels is “body surfing in the waves with my family at the Parque Nacional deManuel Antonio.”

However, Christian did encounter some challenges during this semester abroad. In fact, he experienced some safety concerns during his time in Costa Rica. He recounts the experience as follows, “I was robbed along with some other gringos in a park at night near where I lived…  I would advise people in this situation to remain calm and do whatever necessary to make sure you and your friends are safe.  I remained calm and no one was hurt.”

Despite this frightening situation, Christian recommends that all students travel. He says, “Traveling is one of the most eye opening things a person can do and is most beneficial when young!  GO TRAVEL!”

If you’re interested in travelling to Costa Rica, or working with a program provider to set up a study abroad, feel free to contact Christian at  cbopp@uwyo.edu

Ana | Albania

Ana Burgi is a UW master’s student who completed an internship in Albania during the summer of 2012. As a law student, Ana greatly enjoyed the legal internship.

Reflecting on her international internship she says she worked with  “a great team” and that she “really liked her supervisor.” Ana highly recommends international internships and says her internship was a “great networking experience.”

During her summer internship, Ana rented an apartment in Tirana, Albania. She suggests that any UW students visiting this area visit Kruja’s historic museum.  At the museum , “you can learn a lot about the history of Albania and you can see some authentic houses.” Ana says, “Albania is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean places.” In particular, she recommends that UW students visit southern Albania where you will, “will find the most amazing beaches and the most delicious food.”

Ana also found Albanians to be, “very friendly.” In fact, the only major downside of her trip was the hot weather.  To deal with the heat,  Ana stayed indoors and avoided walking during the hottest hours of the day.

If you’re thinking of travelling to Albania, or completing an international internship, feel free to contact Ana at aburgi@uwyo.edu

Friday, November 16, 2012

Daniel | Kenya

Daniel Greenwood is a UW student who travelled to Kenya in the Summer of 2012 as part of a Faculty-Led Program. The focus of Daniel’s Faculty-Led course was African wildlife. As such, the group spent their time at the Mpala Research Centre in Nanyuki, Kenya.

A highlight of Daniel’s trip was his visit to the Ol PejetaWildlife Conservancy. The conservancy breeds black rhino’s and Daniel had the opportunity to view and feed several rhinos. Reflecting on the experience he says, “it was awe inspiring to be in the presence of such a threatened animal.”

While in Nanyki, Daniel lived in a two-man wall tent along the Ewaso N'giro (River Camp). He said the tent had “nice beds” and he would recommend the living accommodations to other UW students who will be living in Kenya.

One of Daniel’s greatest challenges, while living in Kenya, was adjusting to the food. The group was fed “very graciously,” but found some of the food (especially the meat) to be unusual. Ultimately, Daniel learned to see eating in a foreign county as a valuable new experience and he started to try everything he was served. This was one of many circumstances during which he realized that, “many problems can be overcome with a little open-mindedness.”     
Daniel’s favorite memory from his time in Kenya was a trip through the conservancy. During the ATV trip, the group’s vehicle got stuck in the mud and they had to finish the trip on foot. The group embraced the experience. Daniel describes it saying, “we danced and sang with the gracious people in the village (that our vehicle got stuck in)…I was not expecting the cross-cultural experience, but it was a pleasant surprise.”

If you’re thinking of travelling to Kenya, or participating in a Faculty-Led Program, feel free to contact Daniel at dgreenw2@uwyo.edu.                 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kari | Peru

Kari Fictum is a UW senior who traveled to Peru in the summer of 2012. Kari visited Peru for a UW Archeology Field School, a Faculty-Led program. This is the same program that Jazlynn, another featured study abroad student, attended. Check out Jazlyn’s blog for specific details about the archaeological excavations.

Kari really enjoyed the field school and highly suggests that US students, “check out all of the different (faculty-led) course offerings.” Kari also wanted to remind US students that, “you don't have to be a student in a particular department to enjoy an international experience that department may be offering.”   
When Kari was not in field school, her program offered optional trips to see local historical and ritual sites. Kari says she would, “highly recommend courses that also offer some additional opportunities to experience the local culture and important sites during ‘down time’, especially because trips are led by knowledgeable instructors who may be able to gain special access or discounts to some of these sites.”

Kari enjoyed the faculty-led program because such programs give students “a far different perspective than the average tourist.” However, one down side  is that many students are not proficient in the host-country language.  Kari said this was a challenge. In such cases she suggests travelling in a group with a competent language speaker and bringing a pocket dictionary.  She also recommends, “paying close attention to the way that fluent speakers communicate with the locals so that you can learn basic communication skills, should you not have them with you in a future situation.”

One of Kari’s favorite memories was getting to know the other UW students who went on the faculty-led program. She said, “we were lucky enough to have a relatively small group of students so we relied on each other a lot and became fast friends.  I have a lot of great memories of experiencing the trials and triumphs of living in a foreign place and working through a six week field school with some really great people who were also experiencing this for the first time.”    
Travelling abroad can seem risky, but the rewards are well worth it.  Take it from Kari who said,  “many people are timid about travelling and living in a foreign country because they may not be going with people they know well, because of the remoteness of the location, or because the country may be in an unstable area of world. However you’ll make great friends during your time there and the instructors have your comfort and safety in mind as they plan the course and during your entire time in country. You are going to gain some great experiences if you can muster up the courage to go outside of your comfort zone!”

If you’re interested in traveling to Peru or participating in a Faculty-Led Program, feel free to contact Kari at kfictum@uwyo.edu

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kelsy | Turkey

Kelsy Werries is a UW senior who traveled to Turkey during the Summer of 2012 as part of a Faculty-Led Program. The group traveled to 7 cites, and Kelsy quickly fell in love with the culture.  
Kelsy nostalgically remembers her first night in Turkey. Thinking back she said, “That first night eating dinner and listening to the call to prayer will forever be ingrained in my brain. Everything was new, the sounds, smells, and tastes; every sense was alert and engaged. That evening was truly surreal and I will never forget that moment or that feeling.”

Kelsy also looks back fondly on the group’s trip to Istanbul. Istanbul was “ very exhilarating and exciting.” She quickly fell in love with Istanbul’s “beautiful colors and textures that make up the giant maze of the city.” If you have a chance to visit Istanbul, Kelsy suggests visiting the Yerebatan Sarayi (an underground cistern) and the Grand Bazaar, she says these places will “enchant you.”

Although Kelsy felt safe during the most of the trip, she did feel unsafe one night in Goluck, a small mountain town. Most of the town’s hotel’s and businesses were not yet open for the season. Late in the evening, when Sarah and her roommate were in bed, two men (whom the girls had met earlier), knocked on their door. The girls opened the door and were surprised when the men asked them suggestive questions. Kelsy described opening the door as, “a brief lapse of judgment” and suggests that you do not invite foreign guests in to your personal space late in the evening (even if they are friends).

Kelsy highly suggests that UW students visit Turkey. Sarah said, “The country is bursting with history and culture. I enjoyed every moment of my time and will never forget it.”

If you’re interested in travelling to Turkey, or participating in a Faculty-Led Program, feel free to contact Kelsy at kwerries@uwyo.edu

Sarah | Germany

Sarah Armel is a UW senior who traveled to Germany during the summer after her junior year as part of a Faculty-Led program. Sarah and the other UW students stayed in hotels and hostels, and Sarah recommends these accommodations to other UW students.

During most of the trip the group studied Germany history, with a focus on the Second World War and the Holocaust. They concluded their trip with a two-night stay in the city of Hamburg where they attended the German Cup soccer championships. Sarah said, “It was an amazing experience to watch the game with a whole crowd of Germans, and the best part was that Germany won the game.”  Sarah suggests that any UW students who travel to Germany make a stop at one of Hamburg’s fresh fish markets. Although Sarah doesn't eat fish in the US, she found German fish to be quite tasty.

The greatest challenge that Sarah encountered during her trip were travel delays. Unfortunately, her flight out of Denver was delayed and she missed her connecting flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Because of the delays, Sarah, who spoke little German, had to travel by train across Germany and find her way to the group’s hotel. Sarah’s cell phone was not functional in Germany, so she could not call a cab. Luckily, as Sarah was attempting to walk to her hotel she encountered two college-age girls who spoke English and were able to call a taxi for her and help her find her way. Sarah is very grateful for these girls, without them she is not sure that she would have found her way.

Reflecting on her experience in Germany Sarah says, “Anytime that you have the opportunity to travel, you should take it…. The world has a lot to offer and you should take advantage of every opportunity to see it.”

If you are interested in traveling to Germany or completing a Faculty-Led program, feel free to contact Sarah at sarmel@uwyo.edu

Garrett | Kenya

Garrett Point is a UW senior who traveled to Kenya during the summer of 2012 as part of a Faculty-Led Program.

The group of UW students worked at the Mpala Research Centre in Nanyuki, Kenya; and considered it a great experience. During most of the trip Garrett worked with African wildlife, and he says, “it doesn’t get any better than that.”

During the day, the group conducted research and during the night they loaded in land cruisers and drove around locating animals with spot lights. Reflecting on this experience, Garrett said, “nothing can describe the feeling of seeing a leopard, hippo, hyena, or elephant, for the first time in the wild.”

Garrett also spent time in Nairobi, a large urban center in East Africa. Some areas of Nairobi seemed dangerous, and Garrett recommends that using “the buddy system” whenever you are in a foreign city.  

If you’re interested in travelling to Kenya, or participating in a faculty-led program, feel free to contact Garrett at gpoint@uwyo.edu.         

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beth | Turkey

Beth is a UW graduate student, who traveled to Turkey during the summer after her senior year. Beth travelled to Turkey as part of a Faculty-Led Program that focused on drawing and cultural study.

Beth’s faculty-led group visited places like, the HiahSophia, a converted mosque that now acts as a museum, and the city of Istanbul, which, according to Beth, featured many “cultural jewels.” The group stayed at hotels and bed and breakfasts. While this was enjoyable short term, Beth would not recommend staying at such establishments for more than a week.

Visiting large cities with high crime rates was a new experience for Beth, and she had to learn quickly to distance herself from strangers.  According to Beth, in Istanbul, “it is considered promiscuous for an American woman to smile at a man she does not know.” While this was a big departure from friendly Wyoming life, Beth was happy to learn how to function in large cities. 

Beth’s favorite memory from her trip was an outing to a small farm, where the group sketched buildings. While the group was sketching, children came out of their houses and started making their own drawings. She really enjoyed getting to know the small children, who were eager to play with the UW students.

Beth describes her trip to Turkey as, “one of the best decisions I had made for myself.” Reflecting back she said, “I am so glad I chose to invest in this type of education… It has helped me come to term with what I want to do with my education and where I want to go as an artist and professional.”

If you are interested in travelling to Turkey or participating in a faculty-led program, feel free to contact Beth at ecochra1@uwyo.edu

Breanna | Chile

Breanna is a senior UW student who traveled to Chile during the 2011-12 academic year. Breanna was a study abroad student at Chile PontificalUniversity of Valparaiso, Chile . Because UW did not have an exchange program in Chile, Breanna worked with a program provider to set up the trip; Breanna said she would recommend this to other students. She lived with I lived with a “huge family” that included  a mom, dad, two older brothers, and a younger sister and brother. Breanna had a great time with her host family and recommends home stays to other UW students.  

Breanna enjoyed being a student in Valparaiso, Chile! She said there were, “tons of activities to get involved in” at Chile Pontifical University. And, she was surprised by the supportive teachers and commented that, “the teachers were super interested in the students!”   
Breanna loved life in Valparaiso, and advises all UW students to “pick a city that appears more interesting to you than a country.” This is because, according to Breanna, you will  “actually be staying in the city more that you realized.”              

Her favorite memory from her time abroad was “trekking through Torres del Paine.”  During which Breanna made her first trip to Patagonia. She says, “the views were unforgettable.” Breanna recommends that other UW students who visit Valparaiso check out the artistic community and visit the Cerros.

The greatest challenge that Breanna faced during her trip was dealing with the bus system. Because bus systems are unfamiliar to many Wyoming students, Breanna says to “ride the bus a lot, get lost, and keep an open mind.” She also suggests giving yourself extra time when traveling by bus.

Breanna describes her study abroad experience as “the best choice I have ever made in my life.” Without it she says “I would never have gained this confidence and new perspective on life.”

If you’re interested in going to Chile, working with a Program Provider, or having a home stay, feel free to contact Breanna at bricha15@uwyo.edu

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chelsea | Belize

Chelsea Downey is a UW senior who traveled to Belize (Central America) during spring break of 2012. Chelsea worked with ProWorld, a study abroad Program Provider, to set up the trip and she highly recommends ProWorld to other UW students.

During the trip Chelsea enjoyed caving at Blue Creek, building stoves and solar latrines in a local village, and swimming in rivers. She said the activities were “exhilarating, refreshing and really fun for the whole group.” During the trip, Chelsea lived with a local woman who ran a bakery out of her house. And while she would recommend home stays to other UW students, she did note that it was sometimes difficult to communicate with her other house mates. For students experiencing international roommate conflict, Chelsea suggests seeking advice from a group leader or adviser.

Chelsea really enjoyed her trip. She learned that the manual labor of building stoves and latrines can be a “fun and rewarding experience” and she found the people of Belize to be “welcoming, friendly, and very helpful.”

If you’re thinking of going to Belize, working with a program provider, or venturing out on spring break, you can contact Chelsea at cdowney4@uwyo.edu.