As an international student, I am automatically put into a group called KUBA. KUBA stands for Korean University Buddy Assistant. They are a club/group of Korean KU students that desire to give the visiting students a great time during their stay. Originally, at the orientation, they told us they plan events for us every single Saturday, which to be honest seems excessive. I’m impressed that a club would go through such lengths, but they have. Since there are 800 international students, they split us into nine groups with multiple Korean student leaders. Continue reading
The number one problem I foresaw when studying abroad was making new friends. I am very selective when it comes to choosing friends. Friendship is one of the most important things in this life. Choosing to talk to or hang out with someone solely because you like who they are as a person is pretty profound and should not be taken lightly. Also, friends say a lot about you are as well. Therefore, I find myself being selective about the friends I make. When in a situation where I am meeting new people for the first time I simply just sit and observe in order to gauge the personalities’ of others. I realized this slightly judgmental approach would not fly when I left the country. There would only be a small number of individuals who are part of my program and an even smaller group of individuals in my classes. Therefore, I made it one of my goals to get off of my social high horse and be open to making a diverse group of friends. I was quickly reminded of this goal when I arrived in San Jose. Continue reading
Since coming to London, I have made tons of friends with whom I spend all of my time. Whether it is going to dinner, going out for drinks, or just watching movies, we are all always spending time together. They have all become some of my best friends while I have been here. Soon, though, fall break will be starting. We will all be parting ways, and going on different journeys. When I thought about fall break before coming here, I couldn’t wait! I thought it was going to be the best thing to get away from school and experience something new. Which, don’t get me wrong, I am still extremely excited for. But, it is definitely going to be weird leaving my friends’ sides. Continue reading
That’s it. In what seemed like five weeks rather than five months, my semester in Spain has come to an end. Early Friday morning, I embarked on my 28-hour journey back to Honolulu. Returning home was certainly bittersweet, as I’m always thrilled indulge in my favorite Hawaiian foods and reunite with my family and friends. However, something just didn’t feel right. Although I was technically heading home, I also felt like I was leaving home behind. Seeing the skyline of Madrid one last time as my plane took off was heart-wrenching, as I really don’t know when or if I will ever return to Spain. When you live in another city for an extended period of time, it becomes a part of you. Being abroad has taught me that I can call a city other than Honolulu home, despite the major differences between the two cultures. Continue reading
Life’s unexpected surprises and circumstances is truly the best part about being alive. A few weeks ago, my best friend Kaleigh booked a flight to Madrid to visit me and my roommate Carla! Kaleigh was my freshman year roommate at Marymount, and the three of us have become inseparable ever since. Carla and I were devastated when she decided to leave Marymount at the end of her freshman year, but our ongoing friendship has ceased to dissolve.
A few weeks ago, I had told my boyfriend about my money troubles. With all of the traveling and unexpected costs my bank account was depleting quickly. I knew if I wanted to travel to Thailand, Sydney, Tasmania and wherever else I would need to fund most of it on my own. My parents were willing to help however it is hard to ask them for financial help when they funded most of my trip here including the program fees, flight costs, and housing. I had spoken all of my issues aloud to my boyfriend Pedro, who is one of the most caring, supportive, and loving people I have ever met. He had suggested I make a GoFundme which is a website that people use to fundraise money. However, I had this presumption that people who set these fundraisers up are likely to receive donations from family members. This was a bit complicated for me.
Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and because most of my classes are on Mondays ultimately, I was given a whole week off from school. For a few of those days I housed a few girls from Sydney. One of the girls was spending a semester in Sydney and the other was her cousin visiting for spring break. They were both from North Carolina and were meeting another group of international students in Melbourne. The girl had contacted my cousin through their housing program in hopes of finding a place to stay while they explored the city. I had offered my couch and before I knew it I was walking to Southern Cross Station waiting for their arrival. Continue reading
I made a lot of memories and new friendships from the Sydney trip, although I never expected the trip to continue to affect me after I got back. There were many students from La Trobe University, an hour’s tram ride from the city, who went on the trip that I have become good friends. Even though we were only together for a couple of days, we have made plans to reunite. So far, we have gone to the Melbourne Zoo and multiple beach trips to St. Kilda. Along the way, we stumbled upon food truck festivals and small markets. We have watched movies and had late night street food. These original friendships have grown even farther and I now find myself in large webs of friends. Continue reading
After living in Spain for six weeks, I finally feel completely settled in. Sometimes it seems like I’ve lived in Madrid my entire life, as I now know the streets of Puerta del Sol like the back of my hand and find it bizarre to eat lunch before 2 pm. Other times, it feels like only yesterday when I stepped off the plane at Barajas International Airport and typed in “where is the baggage claim” on Google Translate.
In these six weeks, I’ve developed a fairly consistent daily routine. I’ve gotten involved in several extracurricular activities at school and as a result, have made numerous friends from all over the world. A month ago however, I didn’t think I would have fit-in so well into my new life in Spain. Not to say that my first few weeks in Spain were undoubtedly incredible – as I had fallen in love with paella (Spanish rice), viewed a beautiful Flamenco performance, and dove headfirst into a culture that has now become such an integral part of my identity. However, despite visiting some of the world’s most treasured sites and assimilating into Spanish culture, I still felt that there was something missing in my life that was a crucial element of who I was at Marymount. Continue reading