Studying abroad has been one of the best opportunities that I have been able to experience in college! It was one of my goals for my college career. And I am grateful that Marymount has such an amazing study abroad office that helped me get here. Going to a new country to spend a semester learning is filled both opportunities and challenges. I get to learn about another place while fully immersed in the culture. I get an opportunity to further develop my understanding of a language. And I also get to meet new people and discover new adventures. However, studying abroad does not come without its own set of challenges. Continue reading
Before traveling abroad, it is important to set goals for what you want to accomplish in-country. One of my goals, as well as the reason why I want to study in Latin America, is to learn Spanish. Personally, I always set high goals for myself, because I believe even if I fall short of the grand goal I wanted to achieve, I will land pretty far along on the path in eventually achieving the goal. In Peru, my grand goal was to be fluent in Spanish. I recognize this is an absolutely ridiculous goal to have, but I believe that I am moving pretty far along on my journey.
Being lost in the French language has really pushed me to break down my own barriers. My fears that I will be looked at as an ignorant American that only thinks the world revolves around the United States and English. I actuality, I took 3 years of Spanish in high school, but for some of us we barely remember anything. I’ve been holding myself back from learn for many reasons…now I don’t have a reason. Yes, people will look at you funny or joke but at the end you’ll be proving them wrong. I won’t be saying “désole je ne parle pas français” much longer.
Watch Brooke’s video below: Continue reading
The typical study abroad student posts beautiful pictures on Instagram of the beach. On their snapchat story they include the geo-tag of the cool location they are visiting that weekend. Friends comment “live your best life”, hyping up each and every picture vicariously living through their experience.This all contributes to the perception that studying abroad is a semester long vacation. As much as I wish I could write about life changing trips to the beach sipping margaritas on a Tuesday afternoon, I can’t. Continue reading
My decision to study abroad was mainly influenced by my desire to learn a language. The reason that I have only studied abroad in Latin American/Spanish speaking countries is because I believe in order to have a truly authentic experience one must know the language or have an idea of the language, but that is a topic for another blog post. My strong feelings about language learning pushed me to have a learning experience outside the classroom. I felt in the US learning a language was such a sterile process. Continue reading
Hi again! Luckily enough for myself, I recently got to go on the marine biology trip with Dr. Rimkus and, not to be dramatic but, it was one of my favorite trips I have taken.
If you want to be immersed in a foreign culture, this is definitely the program for you. Dr. Rimkus worked closed with Ms. Nancy, both the owner of a small hotel we stayed in and on the board for his organization, Hawksbill Hope, that works both on tagging, tracking, and protecting the Hawksbill sea turtles of Gales Point, Belize, and aims to raise money for scholarships for the local children to enter high school. Anyways, Ms. Nancy made most of our itinerary around the both the best and more culturally immersive activities in Belize. We were able to go snorkeling, go manatee watching, go tubing through caves, walk through a savannah, and jungles, find the first green turtle tagged in Belize (big shout out to Rimkus’s favorite class), and so much more while we were there. Continue reading
When I came to Wakaaranga Primary School, I expected it to be different than any other school I’ve taught at before. That was, after all, one of my main reasons for coming here to New Zealand: to see a different kind of school and different teaching methods that I can bring home and adapt to my own future classroom. That being said, I did not expect one of the first things I learned about my new school to be that they kept bees. Continue reading
I was sitting with my friend Keli at one of our favorite campus restaurants, when we stopped talking and started people-watching. I would like to say I’ve creeped out many people by staring at them, but most of them are just on their phones distracted. That is my point of this blog: human interaction. Continue reading
After being here for about three weeks, for most of the time, I was pretty much just an average “tourist”. My main purpose in the country was to experience the culture, visit museums, and eat their delicious food. Whenever I was roaming different areas of Seoul and saw another foreigner (non-Korean), I wouldn’t think much of it and just assumed they were here doing the same things I’m doing. It wasn’t until I went to Sunday mass that it started to get me to question why foreigners are here in South Korea, the same, this very moment too. Continue reading
Days are passing by as if in a blur now, and at the end is that inevitability: the departure. It is perhaps somewhat telling that I think about the end of my program not as my “return” as many of my fellows have spoken of it, but that “departure.” I think very little of what I’m coming back too, and constantly of what I’m leaving behind. Continue reading
Your first instinct on seeing this title was, perhaps, to imagine the fun and popular party game limbo, in which competitors aim to shimmy beneath an increasingly lowered pole without falling. You maybe imagined some kind of allusion to how as time goes on and language skills get better I might be expected to perform more and more complicated linguistic hurdles as fluency improves. You hoped that maybe I’d make some kind of fun allegory out of the game to explain the continued and continuously harder approach to fluency. I’m sad to say this is more the “uncertain and pseudo-hellish waiting room” kind of limbo. (That first idea sounds better, huh? I think I made the wrong commitment on the direction for this entry.) Continue reading
My first final has come and gone here in Aix, and with it, a large portion of my stress. Because this week has been about the much-longed-for end of my grammar course, I haven’t had the time to do the same brand of over-the-top soul searching you’ve been subjected to in my last posts. I have, however, gotten to enjoy some significant developments and work through some rough spots, and hopefully, my sharing a few specific experiences from this week may enlighten any fellow students contemplating summer language programs and entertain those of you who are just here for the stories. Continue reading
I like to be good at things. I think I can safely say that everyone likes to be good at something or other. We often build a sense of identity around the things we’re good at, whether you would define yourself as athletic, artistic, intellectual, funny, hard working, or charming, there’s some part of your personality that you lay claim to, and when someone asks you who you are, that thing is what comes to mind (whether you feel confident enough to say it or not). It’s a comfort object, like that favorite toy you had as a kid, and you hold it quietly in your hand or your pocket to run your fingers over it and feel safe when things aren’t going so well. You might have messed up x, y, or z, but you tell yourself that’s just “not your thing” and in your thing? In that you are a rockstar.
But what do you do when that fragment of identity is questioned? What comfort do you have? Continue reading
More often than not I find myself overestimating my abilities. This may have come to my detriment when filling out the housing questionnaire for my study abroad trip. On the questionnaire I emphasized my desire to be in a household that I was able to practice Spanish. In my mind I was going to be able to speak fluent Spanish by the end of the month long program. I mean I know how to conjugate -ar, -ir, and -er verbs, what more could you ask for? Another piece of evidence I used to justify my unobtainable goal, was then fact that while in Cuba I was able to order food on my own and asked for directions in Spanish. Of course, I failed to remember the strange looks on native speakers faces when I uttered grammatically incorrect phrases. I simply remembered the fact that I spoke Spanish, and I received an answer in Spanish, which I partially understood. Continue reading
I’ve finally gotten a free hour to write. Things have already gotten pretty hectic around here now that classes have begun. There’s really no “settling in” at Japanese university; you’re just kind of expected to understand the way things work, and adapt to them. Continue reading