Friday, December 21, 2012

Shelby | Holidays in China

Shelby Oelklaus is a UW student who received a Chinese Ambassador Wyoming Scholarship to study in Chengdu, China at Chengdu University. Shelby has spent this semester in China and will be staying through the spring.

Shelby says spending the Holidays in China is “interesting” and a little “bizarre.” Shelby spent Thanksgiving with a group of Americans who “have lived in Chengdu for many years.” Although the group was able to find most of their Thanksgiving dinner ingredients pretty easily, they had particular difficulty finding cranberry sauce. They also encountered some serious cooking challenges!

According to Shelby, “the average Chinese oven is about 1/3 the size of an American oven, so our turkey was slightly less regal and boarding on the verge of tiny, but delicious all the same.” Despite the small turkey, Shelby said the holiday was the “most unique and most memorable Thanksgiving” she has ever experienced.

As December approached in Chengdu, so did Christmas. According to Shelby, “Christmas decorations began to spring up all over the city at the start of the month.” The decorations, however, weren’t her traditional favorites. She says, regarding the Chinese decorations, “it's like the whole of China was invited to an ugly sweater party.”  Shelby says she was surprised by the Western influence in Asia.

As Shelby’s first semester comes to an end, she’s taken time to explore the Chengdu area. She recently visited Mt. Emei, one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China adorned (with roughly 70 Buddhist temples). She says Mt. Emei, is “absolutely breathtaking.”

Shelby wishes all UW students a wonderful winter break and a Merry Christmas. You can send Shelby a Holiday greeting at

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kelley | United Kingdom

Kelley Anderson is a UW PhD Student in the School of Law who studied abroad during the Summer of 2012. Kelly completed her study abroad at the Southwestern School of Law at the University of London in the United Kingdom.  
During her time at the University of London, Kelley stayed in the dorms at College Hall.  She recommends these living accommodations to other UW students. She says, “Stay at dorms. They are very conveniently located and nice, with a private bath and bedroom.”

Kelley highly recommends the University of London, which she says, “provided a great experience” during her trip. Kelley says, “The classes were very exciting and the campus was very close to many of the main attractions in London.”

Some of Kelley’s favorite memories included visiting these attractions. She says, “Traveling around Scotland, Ireland and England; getting to see all the castle ruins; and kissing the Blarney Stone were my best memories.”  She also enjoyed visiting the Tower Bridge. She says, “The Tower Bridge was amazing. It is worth paying to go into the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, or both. Also, if Buckingham Palace is open it is definitely worth going to!”   
If you’re interested in studying in the UK, feel free to contact Kelley at                   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Paul | France

Paul Aubrecht is a UW PhD student who completed an Exchange program in France during the Summer of 2012. As a law student emphasizing in Human Rights, Paul studied at Regent University’s Strasbourg Campus. He says he would suggest this program to, “any law student because the teachers were excellent, the facilities first class, and the off campus opportunities unique and helpful.” However, he also added that, “Regent is a Christian University so I would not recommend this program for anyone who is unwilling to accept that Christian Values and Prayer.”

During his time in France, Paul lived, “in a studio apartment with a private bathroom at the Foyer Notre Dame near the Cathedral in the Center of Strasbourg.” He enjoyed these living arrangements and recommends them to other UW students.

Along with studio apartments, Paul suggests doing as much reading and coursework as possible in advance. According to Paul, “This allows for more time to enjoy the Country.” For students traveling to France, Paul says: “I would make sure to take the time to go see Paris. The main points of interest for me (in Paris) were the Eiffel Tower, the Arch De Triumph, and the Louvre Museum.”

Paul says that his greatest challenge was packing! He reflects, “There were a lot of things I packed that I did not use. It makes the trip much easier if you only take the things you absolutely need. I also found myself caught in the rain several times. I'm glad I packed a rain suit, so it was not a problem for me.” He also recommends learning at least some of the language to, “help you get around.”

If you’re planning to travel to France, or participate in an Exchange, please feel free to contact Paul at

Emmalee | Kenya

Emmalee Allen is a UW senior who traveled to Kitale, Kenya in the Summer of 2012.  During her time in Kenya, Emmalee studied at the  Manor House Agricultural Centre, where she received a three month certificate in bio-intensive agriculture. To receive the certification, she successfully completed courses in: community development, bio-intensive agriculture, family nutrition, appropriate technology, livestock management, and crop production.

Emmalee says that she would recommend the Manor HouseAgricultural Centre to others. She says, “The professors and staff are amazing, flexible, and knowledgeable. They really cater to what you are interested in learning and are great about getting you out in the field working hands on.”

During the first part of her trip to Kenya (May and June), Emmalee completed labs, lectures, and practical’s at the Manor House facilities. During the second half of her trip (beginning in July), she visited several agriculture operations for a week at a time. Emmalee traveled to many operations including, “a tea and sugar factory, a rose farm, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, a local orphanage” among others.

Emmalee’s dream job is to work with agriculture in Africa, and she said “This summer gave me an opportunity to experience part of my dream.” Emmalee’s favorite memory from her trip is working at a primary school, which rehabilitated street children. She taught the students about bio-intensive agriculture, a type of small-scale organic farming. Not only was the school able to apply the methods to their school farm, but many of the schools staff members, including their headmaster, applied the new farming method to improve their yields at home.

To other UW students thinking or traveling abroad, Emmalee says: “Go open and willing to learn; be flexible. Be willing to jump into every opportunity and embrace the culture open arms.”

If you’re interested in traveling to Kenya, or earning an agricultural certification abroad, feel free to contact Emmalee at

Mary | Honduras

Mary Beth Bender is a UW Master’s student who traveled to Honduras in the Summer of 2012. As a nursing student, Mary visited Honduras to participate in a Faculty-LedProgram.  Students in the program earned academic credit by working at a clinic in Agua Salada, Honduras.

Reflecting on the trip, Mary said: “The entire experience was wonderful… meeting people who have so little, but are so deeply appreciative of the healthcare we were able to provide was incredible.” During the group’s last night in Agua Salada, the village had a church service and party in  honor of the UW volunteers. About this Mary says, “They brought cake and soda, and set up a stereo system to play music so we could all dance.  The people of the village apologized that they could not give more to show their appreciation, but we were all deeply humbled and honored by all they had done for us.”

Mary’s biggest challenge during her trip was the language barrier. She says, “Providing healthcare to people in a remote village in Honduras, with limited medical supplies and a language barrier, was an enormous challenge.  However, our team of a nurse midwife, physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacy student, dental hygienist, translators and so many other wonderful team members worked amazingly well together, problem-solved together, and provided the best care possible with the resources we had available.”

Overall, the program was a great experience for Mary who says she would like to return as soon as possible.

If you’re interested in traveling to Honduras or participating in a Faculty-Led Program, feel free to contact  Mary at   

Interested in finding out more about the trip? Check out the group's website. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lindsey | Europe

Lindsey Hankins is a UW senior who traveled to Denmark, Sweden, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal during the summer of 2012 as part of AQHA’s International Horsemanship Clinics.

One of Lindsey’s favorite memories for her trip was helping others transform their riding abilities. She describes one on these trans formative experiences as follows:

“It was the first day of our clinic and a gentleman who clearly wanted to embrace the ‘Western’ lifestyle came riding in on a nice little Quarter horse whose origin he was unaware of. We quickly discovered that it was from a ranch in Texas that I was very familiar with.  Once we knew this, we were able to completely transform the rider. Watching the rider and horse work as a team, and improve so rapidly, was  one of the most rewarding things I experienced while traveling, but also in my life. I would not trade that memory for the world. " 

When the group wasn't riding, or participating in clinics, they had the opportunity to travel to Portugal. During the trip to Portugal, they visited a village where they helped the locals harvest a potato crop using donkeys and plows.  Lindsey reflected on this experience saying:

“This experience was absolutely incredible and turned out to be one of my favorite parts of our entire trip. I would highly recommend others to go to Portugal and spend some time in the rural parts. It was an experience that completely changed my perspective on a lot of day-to-day things."        

One of the greatest challenges of Lindsey’s trip was the language barrier she faced. To overcome this, she suggests that other US students, who are not fluent in their home country’s language, “either learn the language prior to traveling, or have a translation dictionary handy.”

Lindsey recommends that all people travel. She says, “If you have not had the chance to travel and explore this incredible world, you definitely need to. There are so many incredible experiences and opportunities right at the tips of your fingers.  I highly encourage everyone to look into opportunities abroad and take advantage of them!”     

If you’re interested in traveling to Denmark, Sweden, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain or Portugal feel free to contact Lindsey at

Looking for more information about this trip, check out UW's article! 

Lindsay | Peru

Lindsay Olson is a UW Master’s Student in International Studies who traveled to Peru to conduct research on sustainable farming methods during the summer of 2012. Lindsay says that “meeting and working with individuals in the farming communities was not only beneficial to my research but also was a great human interaction and an opportunity to make friends.”

While in Peru, Lindsay lived in several places. She stayed in hostels and completed home-stays in the city and in “the campo.” She enjoyed each of these accommodations and recommends them to other UW students who choose to travel to Peru.

Lindsay also suggests that an UW students who are in the Andes, visit the “amazing Incan ruins, including Machu Picchu.” She also recommends   visiting Cusco for its “interesting museums and vibrant food markets.”  Another benefit of visiting the city of Cusco is that “Cusco and surrounding areas are very safe.”

Lindsay suggests that UW students take advantage of all opportunities to travel abroad. She says, “traveling abroad is always worthwhile no matter if it is an independent research or a faculty-led trip; utilize the help of the International Programs office, they are very helpful and can make the planning process easier.”

If you’re interested in traveling to Peru, or conducting independent international research, feel free to contact Lindsay at

Anna | Kenya

Anna is a UW sophomore who traveled to Kenya the summer after her freshman year.  Anna was enrolled in a Faculty-Led Program during which she earned credit by participating in an African safari.

She says that visiting Kenya was a “lifelong wish,” and she thoroughly enjoyed the safari in Maasi Mara. Her group saw lions and “many other amazing animals.” Anna was mesmerized by the sight of “truly wild” animals. She describes it as follows, “They were truly wild, not in a zoo with fences. It was something that words can hardly describe.

Anna’s trip was quite the adventure. At several points, the group’s safari van got stuck in the mud. She says, “It was scary because we were in the middle of nowhere, with no one else around, but we all just worked together and eventually got the van unstuck and found our way back.”

Anna reflected on the trip saying, “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see this amazing country.”

If you are planning to participate in a Faculty-Led Program, or travel to Kenya, feel free to contact Anna at   

Katelyn | Australia

Katelyn Means is a UW junior who traveled abroad during the spring of her sophomore year. Katelyn was a study abroad student at the University of Queensland in Australia! Because UW does not have an exchange agreement with The University of Queensland, Katelyn worked with a Program Provider, AustraLearn, to set up her study abroad.

Katelyn enjoyed the University of Queensland’s “beautiful campus,” and described her courses as “challenging but manageable.” Because of the vast array of class options when studying abroad, Katelyn recommends that you “figure out your class schedule before you go.” During her time in Australia Katelyn lived in Urbanest Student Housing Accommodation, which she suggests to other UW study abroad students!

One of Katelyn’s best memories from her semester abroad is spring break. During the break she I traveled to New Zealand and toured the South Island with a tour company called TopDeck. During the trip she met “some amazing people” and saw a lot of sights she could have never found on her own. She also went skydiving, which was the icing on the cake of her trip!

Katelyn’s biggest challenge during her study abroad semester was the homesickness that she experienced during her first month in Australia. However, she says that her homesickness was “small in the grand scheme of things.”  When asked how she dealt with the homesickness, Katelyn said, “I would either talk to my other study abroad friends or call my mom! Home is only a phone call away!”       
Katelyn provides the following advice to UW students preparing to study abroad: “Make an effort to connect with the locals.  A lot of study abroad programs have you teamed up with Americans when you get there. It is great to have these friends and to relate to and hangout with, but also make sure you make an effort to get to know the locals, so you can truly experience the culture and what the country your visiting is really about!”          

If you are planning to travel to work with a Program Provider or to travel to Australia please feel free to contact Katelyn at