Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Elizabeth S - Murcia, Spain - Fall 2014

Hello CPP 250!

I am studying abroad in Murcia, Spain through ISEP.  I have been here for about a month and a half and am finally settling into "regular life".  I had typical problems getting here and want to advise you all that the calmer you are in response to changes, the easier everything will be ( No pasa nada or don't worry is a very common phrase here!)  I ended up arriving about 24 hours later than anticipated and, though frustrating, it was not the end of the world.  Since arriving I have completed an intensive language course with other international students, visited several beaches, visited Granada, and even went to a bull fight! I've experienced so much culture in my short stay here already and I cannot wait to see what comes next! Studying abroad is not all traveling and experiencing culture, though, my classes have begun and adjusting to that has been difficult.  I have become thankful for the "easy" registration process at Elmhurst.  All in all I am loving Murcia and am so glad I made the decision to study abroad.  Best of luck in your preparation!

Joceline R - London, UK - Fall 2014

Hello, everyone! My name is Joceline and I have been in London at Queen Mary University for about 3 weeks now and it has been a nonstop adventure! I used to think that England wouldn't be that different from the U.S because they speak English here too, but was I wrong. There are many things that one has to get used to just like crossing the street. I’m probably having more trouble with that than I should but thankfully some streets have ‘look left’, ‘look right’ written on the roads for you. Also, whenever I’m in public such as on the tube or eating out, I try my hardest not to be “the loud American”. People usually don’t speak while on the tube and when they do speak in public it’s close to a whisper. Sometimes the only reason I know I am being too loud is when I start getting the stares…
But anyways, I've been trying to keep myself busy and trying to do something new every day because I know three months would go by quickly. So far I am doing well, I've visited Big Ben, Tower of London, different palaces, royal parks with beautiful gardens, museums, churches and many more sites in just a short time. I’m planning to go to Paris for a weekend trip this month and Stonehenge & Bath and hopefully Amsterdam next month! This was a different experience for me being so far away from my family and being more independent. I thought that I was going to be homesick right away but so far (may sound horrible) I don’t miss home at all. I’m having so much fun seeing things that I only dreamed of seeing and exploring what’s around my new home. The schoolwork (you know because there is the studying part still) isn't too heavy, I only have classes once a week and three days a week and the assignments are all reading. Also, because London is such a diverse city you meet people from all over the world & learn about their cultures and customs as well. Fun fact: apparently they don’t have squirrels in Australia, so you will see Australians taking videos of them at the parks. So far this has been a one in a lifetime and amazing experience & I can keep rambling on but I won’t. Wish you all the best on your future study abroad adventures!
P.S A little advice: Even if it seems like a lot of work make sure you do the class assignments & especially the binder assignment well because it was very helpful for the first week, especially upon arrival to the airport & university! And feel free to ask any questions (even the ones you aren't forced to ask) or concerns that you may have because when I was taking the class I knew I had tons of questions!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Melissa B - Granada, Spain - Fall 2014

Hello everyone!

I am studying with Arcadia Program Fall term in Granada, Spain. I've been here for a month now, and I can honestly say I couldn't have dreamed of more! Traveling alone for the first time to Madrid then to Granada was definitely nerve wrecking and long but couldn't have gone by smoother. Once arriving in Granada, I instantly fell in love with its people, lifestyle and food! Spain has been outstanding so far and have already traveling to three spanish beaches (taking advantage of the summer weather before it's gone): Playa Nerja, Cádiz, and Ibiza. All three were beyond words and all had something different to offer, from amazing history to fantastic views, but every time I return to Granada, I feel at home. The city is enchanting and my Spanish is improving so quickly! My Spanish family is so kind and makes me feel very welcome. Besides a short cold, my first month in Granada has been perfect (no culture shock here). I have so much more to do and want to do it all at once, but patience is a virtue especially on my wallet ;) . Feel Free To Ask Away Any Questions YOU Might Have!

Sotiria S - Worms, Germany - Fall 2014

Hi CPP 250!
I have been in Worms, Germany for a month now! When I first landed in Frankfurt, I was so anxious! I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this since I was the only student coming to Worms from Elmhurst! I knew absolutely no one and that was very hard for me…but when I got to Worms, I instantly fell in love! The city is just so cute… I couldn't have picked a better place to be!
The first couple days were hard, since I didn't know my way around or anyone, but within the first week, I had met a lot of new people who were on the same boat as I was. I have met some pretty amazing people so far and can say that I know the city like the back of my hand! I feel as though I have been living here forever!

Classes haven’t started yet for us over here, which means I have had tons of time to travel. We went on a Erasmus trip to Berlin… and that was simply amazing! I was able to see so many places that Ive only seen in pictures! It is so amazing to say that I have been to the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie! During the trip, the other international students and I got to know each other so much better- and we've traveled outside of Germany since that trip! The best part about being in Europe is that everything is so close! A group of us just returned from Spain this weekend and that was such an amazing experience! I am so excited to have chosen Germany! There is so much more I want to say about Germany since one post just simply doesn't do it justice! But, if you've chosen to come to Worms for your time abroad… you are in for a REAL treat!

Alex K - Oxford, England - Fall 2014

Hi! I’m Alex and I am studying in Oxford, England, as part of the CMRS program. Oxford itself is a very interesting town; it’s a motley collection of the medieval and the modern. You have buildings dating back for centuries mixed in with street markets and performers. They’re not all your average performers either. One of the more interesting ones I’ve seen is the Bubble Bunny, a man who wears a bunny suit and blows bubbles as he waves to the people on the street. It’s kind of bizarre, but certainly original. I love the architecture of Oxford too; the buildings that neighbor each other are never from the same time period, as they are in America, but rather from many different time periods, so you may find building from the 17th or 18th centuries right next to one from the 20th. And that doesn’t even include the schools, which are so gorgeous that walking past them without marveling is a feat.

                My fellow students and I are all working on our first major paper, and we’ve all been faced with one of the biggest dilemmas that I think a CMRS student can face: do we devote all our time to our studies, or do we go out and see the country? Focusing on your work here is very important, because that’s what you’re here for; but if I had one piece of advice to you, I would tell you to go out and experience as much as you can in your time here. This is an experience you only get once, so don’t let it pass you by. England has so much to offer in terms of sights and experiences; there are so many incredibly historic places, and it is absolutely nothing like what you’d find in America. Not that I’m suggesting that you blow off you work, but do your best to find a happy medium between studying and traveling, even if that means really exploring Oxford, because Oxford is not short on interesting sights. Make a list of all the things you want to do during your time here, and then tackle as many as you can. You’ll never regret living in the moment!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ed J - Christchurch, New Zealand - Fall 2014

Kia Ora from Christchurch!

My name is Ed and I'm studying in Christchurch, which is on the South Island of New Zealand. I've been here since July 1st. I didn't really have that big of a first impression; it wasn't that big of a change. I was just excited to get out into the wilderness. I think my experience here has been unlike most other people's in the sense that I feel like I'm at home, not a new home, just regular home with mountains and hiking. There are trade-offs that even things out; any weekend I can go hiking/surfing/kayaking, but without a car and being in semi-dead city, I don't really do all that much during the weekdays, so whereas I can do more during weekends at home, I do less during weekdays.
Christchurch was hit hard by an earthquake in 2011 and I've been going out into the community and helping with rebuilding projects (actually in a class learning about the idea of 'service learning') so my experience is by no means a vacation, but by going out into the community and working with people who actually live there and getting to know them, I feel like I'm getting to know the place I chose to study on a much deeper level than most people will. I think the coolest thing is actually all the international kids I've met; CHCH brings in a lot of people who just want to be outdoors in one of the last untapped wild places of the planet - other than the small numbers of Maori on the South Island, there weren't even 50,000 on the South Island until like  50 years ago; there are more sheep on the South Island than people. So I've met a ton of kids who have come from all over the world with the same mentality as me - wanting the purest experience of nature as possible. I've met kids from 23 countries if I quickly count it up in my head (I have kids from Russia and Singapore living with me), and hiking around and staying in huts in the mountains I've met countless other people of all ages who are here from every corner of the world.
I've checked off all but two places I want to go in NZ so far (I've seen more of NZ than most of the locals), I've been to Fiji, I'm headed to AUS later this month for 10 days, and I come home Nov 14th and I think I'll be ready. I haven't really experienced any of the phases, not drastically at least, and I think it's in part because I've met so many people and have so many other travel plans now. I met a girl from Copenhagen and we're going to visit each other (we aren't in love - do not fall in love abroad, it's dumb!), I have a 6 week trip planned (after I talk to the religious department at EC) where I'll be heading into the mountains of China with my South African friend to study at a monastery for 4 weeks, then I'll stay with my friend from Tokyo for a couple days, then fly to St. Petersburg to see my Russian roommate, then Germany, then Norway/Copenhagen/etc etc - all hoping around homes of people I've met whilst being here. I've travelled extensively before this, but New Zealand has been the greatest experience thus far just because I have a home all over both islands, and now I have homes all over the world. It's opened up endless possibilities in terms of future exploration and while New Zealand isn't that much different than America and I have almost no culture shock, CHCH specifically is a melting pot of international students and I've gotten to learn about every part of the world.
I know this is more of a conclusion rather than a 'first impression', I've been here for 3 months though and I've taken so much in. It might sound boring but I miss working and my usual Midwest routine, but that's not to say that I haven't cherished and loved every moment here. I'm just not someone to get overly attached I guess, I'm not sure because I have met kids here who don't know how life will go on when they leave, and it's just sort of whatever to me haha. I think only a specific kind of person would like CHCH; I think Europe is boring and I don't care about art or that culture, I just wanted to be outdoors and away from big cities and stuff. Down here, every one wears hiking boots and if you're going to go on a date or go out to a bar, to get ready you basically just take a shower. It's simple here and everyone, no matter where they're from, are similar because you wouldn't come here unless you were ok with going out at night to look at stars instead of drinking (which I must admit I do miss!). I've slept in a tent almost every weekend. I picked up skateboarding just because I wanted to get around the city/neighborhoods on foot so I could take more in. We don't even have wifi here so most of the time I'm without a phone, and while it's allowed me to focus more on the moment around me, that's one of those things that I'll be pretty excited to get back to the states and take in all the unlimited data I want haha. But all in all, I wouldn't trade my experience here for any other place, I knew that I was either going to study abroad in CHCH or not at all because I could travel where ever I wanted, but you really need to be down here for an extended amount of time to really appreciate the nature and how it's all tied into the Maori's beliefs and how such a young country has such an ancient feeling most places have seemed to lost.

Tatiana R - Freiburg, Germany - Fall 2014

My First Impressions of Living in Freiburg

When I chose Freiburg im Breisgau, I had not expected it to be exactly the type of town I was looking for. With the view of the surrounding hills/mountains, the perfect suburb to city layout (with quick and easy transportation), beautiful buildings, the friendly people, the almost staggering amount of cute little kids, and even the green/liberal attitude. That being said, I've grown up bilingually, English and German, with both citizenships, so Freiburg has been my window into future opportunities and lifestyle, not just here but also the rest of the country. So far I've been living in Freiburg for almost a month, and its been really wonderful, but has also had some very strange issues.

Most German students are still on vacation until school starts late October, meaning that our apartments are pretty empty. This means the rest of the students in my program almost feel like the only people we can talk to are the other people in the IES Language and Area Studies program, which has already become an issue. Most of us have already gotten so used to seeing each other that we have already gotten slightly sick of the others.

This is the first time I can completely say I'm on my own, so this has been not just an adventure of life abroad but also my first stroke of independence. With that there have been some things I really had not expected. First off, finding garbage cans has been difficult, something I would have taken for granted back in America, but when you do happen to find one, you will have to sort it in some weird system that only Freiburg follows. Also if you happen to be away from your apartment and need to find a bathroom, it can be very difficult to find one that is readily available, i.e. not in stores. Wifi, or WLAN, is non-existant unless you have an awesome roommate who lets you use his on your phone, so you will definitely buy a data plan with either AldiTalk or O2. Side note, Freiburg has one of the highest populations of dreadlock wearers. Okay, I don't really know if that's
true, but they are everywhere! Lol.

Theodore C - Hirakata, Japan - Fall 2014

For my study abroad experience, I knew that I wanted to go somewhere truly different. I did not want it to be somewhere that I could easily get around using only English as I felt that it would take away from my experience. This in turn ruled out most of the western world, so I then turned my search eastward. One country that immediately came to mind was China, but political developments at the time me uneasy about studying there. I also want to be somewhere that I could easily study the influences of the western world and learn about the current state of East Asian relations. So I ultimately decided to go to the land of the rising sun: Japan.

Usually when you bring up Japan, most people begin to conjure images of Geisha, Sushi, Samurai, or Anime in their heads and while these are certainly all aspects of Japanese culture, I soon discovered that they were only fragments of a much larger and beautiful picture.
Upon my arrival in Japan, I was instantly hit with a sense of euphoria and wonder that has yet to dissipate.  Japan has one of the oldest and most unique cultures in the world, and its presence can be felt in everything from basic house manners to social interactions. Everyday feels like an adventure as I try to adjust to this fascinating culture and begin to understand its inner workings. Learning how to speak and write, while difficult, has been extremely rewarding. I get a rush every time I am able to successfully read a sign or menu. The people I have met here are also one of a kind. Two of my good friends are Argentinean and have helped expose me to the surrounding area and life at Kansai Gaidai in general. One of the things I enjoy about my University is the diverse student body. I like going to the student lounge and just talking with random people about where they are from and what their views are on current events. I find it fascinating to hear about how people perceive the events and getting to learn about their individual countries. I can’t wait to continue my adventure and further expose myself to note only Japanese culture, but those of my fellow students as well.

Jennifer G - Oxford, England - Fall 2014

What to say about Oxford in just one post? Extraordinary. I have been in Oxford for just over three weeks and I feel as if I have learned and experienced so much. In this short time here I have been able to travel and see Bath, Wells Cathedral, Glastonbury Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, and London. The CMRS program is heavy with work and time management is key (as I’m beginning to figure out). But while work is heavy here, it doesn’t mean I cannot go out and have an adventure every now and again. The professors here (called Tutors) care about your education, but they also care about your life. They don’t want you cooped up in the library all day studying; they want you to go out into the world and experience everything life has to offer in Oxford. As the saying goes, some people live to work while others work to live. People in Oxford are definitely the latter. I am expected to work hard but I’m also expected to have some fun once in a while.

The biggest difference between this program and Elmhurst, besides being in a different country, is the responsibility we students have. I meet with my tutors only once a week to receive an assignment and then don’t see them again until that assignment is due. The responsibility of my education falls on my shoulders from start to finish. I don’t have a professor helping me out every step of the way. I am expected to do my work and ask for help when needed. This may seem daunting for some, but believe me when I say this is the most gratifying work I’ve done since I started college. I am in charge of my own education and my own work.  This may be a tough program academically, but it can also be the most rewarding.
Studying abroad can be intimidating for most, but for me, studying abroad has helped myself become more independent and has helped me realize that taking chances is well worth the risk. This trip was a risk for me and so far has been the best experience of my life.

I know I cannot possibly sum up all of CMRS in a single post, but for any who are interested, I post occasionally on this blog to let people know what I am up to here. Feel free to browse my blog and ask any questions you might have.

Sharon C - Derry, Northern Ireland - Fall 2014

Hi, I am Sharon, a Junior studying in Northern Ireland. This is a wonderful country. It is really green! Something that I wasn't able to see a lot in California. Classes had just begun and it is really different from back at home. I am studying at University of Ulster at Magee Campus. It is a pretty small city but it is an old city with lots of historical buildings and stories. 

For the past 3 weeks that I've been here I had visited many places but one of the best places I would pick so far is the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. They were just BEAUTIFUL, so amazed the whole time. Everyone was just repeating the phrases, "WOW!" "That is so amazing!" "It's so beautiful" It was indescribable, So far my experience here has been awesome, except the fact that it is a little hard to understand English with the accents. But other than that it is just an incredible country!

Alex M – Limerick, Ireland – Fall 2014

Hello from Ireland!  I can’t believe that I’ve only been here for about three weeks so far. I already feel as though I’ve done so much! I’m studying abroad through IFSA-Butler, so as a part of my study abroad experience all of the students studying abroad in Ireland through IFSA-Butler met up in Dublin a couple days early for a few brief orientation sessions. We spent two nights in Dublin before heading off to our respective Irish universities, and doing so was an amazing way to start off my time in Ireland. I got to meet a group of other student who were also studying abroad at the University of Limerick, and we all got to know each other pretty well by the end of the weekend! Dublin was a beautiful city; while we were there we were able to visit some of its most famous attractions like the Guinness Storehouse and Temple Bar, while the experience also served as a great way to introduce us all to life in Ireland before heading off to our schools!

The University of Limerick is located just outside of the City of Limerick. Buses regularly travel between the campus and the city center, making transportation between the two really simple! I have heard many people say that the University of Limerick’s campus is the most beautiful campus in Ireland, and I can see why! From the building designs to the pieces of art located all over campus - not to mention to amazing view of the surrounding landscape – the University of Limerick is gorgeous. That being said, one of the first things I noticed was how friendly everyone was. Every person I met - be it another student or someone working in a shop in the city - was genuinely friendly and helpful. Making friends wasn’t difficult.  I live in apartment-style housing on campus in a flat shared with five other people: a guy and a girl from the United States, a girl form Canada, a girl from Belgium, and a girl form Ireland. In the short amount of time that we’ve been here, we’ve all gotten to become really close friends.
I joined a club on campus called the Outdoor Pursuits Club (OPC), through which I’ve been able to do a whole range of great activities like rock climbing in The Burren and hiking in the Ring of Kerry. Additionally, through the International Society on campus I’ve been able to achieve my life-long dream of visiting the Cliffs of Moher. So far my trip has already been unbelievable, and it’s still only the first few weeks.

So far I haven’t had any huge moments of culture shock. While at times the accent can be hard to understand, I really haven’t had much trouble with it, and the words/phrases that they say differently here haven’t been too difficult to pick up on! Not to say that the culture over here isn’t completely different from that of the United States, but I like the differences and actually feel like I can often relate to the way of life over here than I can back at home. This so far has been an invaluable experience, and I already feel like I’ve made what will become life-long friends from all over the world. I could write for hours about my experience so far, but I think I’ll leave it at this for now.  If there’s any question in your mind of whether you should study abroad or not, just do it. You’ll never regret it. 

Rebekah S - SIT Chile - Fall 2014

SIT: Chile, Comparative Education and Social Change

It has been a month since I left the good ole USA to embark on a new adventure in Santiago, Chile.  The city is a lot bigger than I had expected. Santiago is about double the population of Chicago…you can just imagine what that means for the buses and subway during rush hour! Santiago is very diverse and lively all day, overall great atmosphere.

Chileans speak very fast and that is still something I’m getting used to. They also like to cut off the end of words and they have a lot of “chilenismos,” which are slang words that are specific to their country. The people are very friendly though and everyone loves to talk to us foreigners. We have noticed they ask where we are from, what we are doing here, and then the third question is always “Do you have a boyfriend?”
Every day I take the bus to the university. Our program consists of 17 students from all around the U.S. Our schedule this month has been having class from 9-4, Monday-Friday. It has been grueling but we’ve had the chance to go on class field trips to museums, visit schools and have attended seminars at the university we attend. I knew very little about Chilean history so it has been eye opening to learn about all that has shaped the country and the people here. With that it has been fascinating to then meet those people who lived through so much!

One of the best things about this program has been living with a host family. I now have a younger brother and sister. They seem to love having me here. I’ve had the chance to go hiking with them and we’ve played lots of soccer (fútbol). Talking with my host mom as well has helped me a lot with the language.
We just finished celebrating Independence Day! It was fun to be here for, what I think, is their largest celebrated holiday throughout the year. My host siblings had the whole week off of school. For most jobs the workweek ends on Wednesday at about 1pm and every business is closed on the 18th (Independence Day) and the 19th. They basically party from Wednesday night until Sunday night. I spent the 18th with my family and we had a BBQ at our house and had other family over for the day. We ate so much meat. They also put avocado on everything, which I think is fantastic! Around the city in a few neighborhoods there are “fondas,” which are large community festivals where lots of families go to celebrate. It reminded me of a county fair kind of event. There was TONS of food, drinks, games, a small concert playing, little shops, and of course it was all overpriced. Overall, it was a great 4-day weekend for our group.
We are going to start traveling around Chile more this month and even get to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 2 weeks! Seriously let me know if you have any questions! Nos vemos. ¡Chao!

Will H - Bamberg, Germany - Academic Year 2014/15

Hello my name is Will. I am currently spending the year studying in Bamberg, Germany.

When my plane landed in Nuremberg I was amazed at how easy it was to get around. I took a subway, a train, and a short bus ride in order to get to my flat in Bamberg. The whole trip only cost around 15€.

When I finally arrived at my flat after a long day of travel I was ready for sleep. For about the first 5 days I was in Germany all I did was sleep. The jet lag was a lot to handle.
Since I have been in Germany I have been to Nuremberg and Munich. I have a trip planned to England for in week to visit some friends.

Compared to Elmhurst the school in Bamberg is completely different. The campus is spread out all over the entire city. You could have a 40 minute walk or a 10-15 minute bus ride from your flat to a university building. The bus is free when you have a student ID. With 15,000 students Bamberg is similar to a big state school back home. In addition the class are also very different. The registration is very different and is done entirely on your own.

The language barrier is not to much of a problem. Almost everyone under the age of 50 will speak decent English.

Managing your expenses is a very important part of living and traveling abroad. The easiest thing you can do is buy your own food from a local supermarket. If you don't know how to cook, learn. I spend about 30€ a week on food and I am eating very well. I eat different types of meat, vegetables, fruits, and various snacks. I have only eaten out 2x since I have been in Germany. Making your own food or bringing your own food will save a lot of money. A meal out will cost on average around 6-8€ and that doesn't include a drink.

Although I have only been here a few weeks it has been an amazing experience that I never want to end. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Katie B - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

Ireland is amazing! I can't believe that I have already been here for almost a month already. The first few weeks were a little rough, having to get settled, get ready for class, and get accustomed to the various differences in Europe. Now that I am back in a routine and learning my way around Dublin, I am able to relax more and I am starting to plan other trips. Class is quite different from my nursing classes at home. Instead of continuous assessment, they only require wither midterm exams or papers along with a final exam or paper. I don't mind it, but I need to keep up with my studies. As for Ireland, it has been beautiful. Everyone says that it rains so much here, but we have had wonderful weather! That can change at any moment though so I am cherishing the weather we have had now. I joined the International Student Society that offers cheap trips throughout Ireland. I am going to Donegal in two weeks as well as Northern Ireland the following week for a great price. I also joined the college co-ed slow pitch softball team to try and keep up my skills for my season at home. It has been very fun so far and I'm meeting some great people from all over. I can't wait to see what the rest of my trip has in store!

Thomas G - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

Dublin is an amazing city with all the old buildings and churches it looks so historic. I got the chance to travel down to Cork and kissed the blarney stone inside the blarney castle. It was one of the coolest and prettiest places I have ever been. I have booked other vacations like to Budapest, Hungary in October which I am very much looking forward to. The nightlife is very fun with tons of cool nightclubs and pubs to meet some locals and chat over a Guinness. There is so much to do here in such little time I have taken every minute I can to explore more.

Brandon W - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

My experience thus far in Ireland has been amazing to say the least. Before I made it to Ireland however, I did take a week long "vacation" in Palermo, Sicily. Palermo was a beautiful city with tons of history and old buildings. I actually went to one of the squares where there were buildings that had been bombed from world war 2. Pretty amazing to see. There was definitely some obstacles to overcome during my week in Palermo. I assumed that being the biggest city in Sicily there would have to be a fair amount of people that would be able to speak English. This was a very poor assumption on my part. I actually only met maybe 3 people in an entire week that were able to speak fluent English, everybody else didn't know the slightest bit of English. But I go through it.

The past month in Dublin has been great. The city is nice and small which makes it easy for navigating around on foot. The first week here I did the touristy thing and got a picture in the historic "Temple Bar". That whole area is really nice and fun to go to but the drink prices are outrageous! Speaking of prices, everything here is so expensive! This is probably the biggest downside to being over here, and the exchange rate isn't in our favor either. Budgeting will be key in the next few months.
I had the opportunity to make it down to cork last weekend with the whole nursing gang. We made a trip to Fota, which is an animal wildlife sanctuary, and had the chance to pet some kangaroos and see the cheetahs chase down their dinner! Really neat. I also made it to Blarney castle, kissed the blarney stone, and of course had to go to the Jameson distillery. It happened to be my birthday when we went to the distillery and the bartender gave me a free shot of "Middleton" whiskey (about a $200 bottle) which is only made right there in the town of Middleton and cannot be purchased anywhere outside of Ireland. Let me tell you, it was the best shot of whiskey I have ever tasted.

Traveling to Budapest Hungary in three weeks with Tommy, and then planning on a trip to London in the future.

Chloe S - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

Dublin, Ireland~
Time is flying by.  I have been here for a month, and it seems like I’ve got here yesterday.  But, with that said, I am settling in nicely.  Every day is an adventure.  Meeting people from different countries is eye opening.  You realize, dumbfounding, that America is not the only place is the world.  This world is huge, and everyone has significance.  It is amazing to see different cultures, but the similarity of humanity.  Everyone has hard times; everyone wants to love and laugh. 

The landscape here is breath-taking and refreshing.  I have the luxury of being 20 minutes (running) to the sea, and I’m never bored of it.    The architecture is historic and creative.  The people here are overall friendly, and a pleasure to talk to.  The pubs and the music are lively, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.   I see the beauty of people and environment, here, everyday.  It is a blessing to be a part of such a crazy cool experience. 

Megan W - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

My First Impressions of Living in Dublin, Ireland

This is a lake in the Wicklow Mountains in Glendalough, which is
one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

Living in Dublin, Ireland has been everything I expected and more. So far I have been having the time of my life in Dublin. Dublin is a beautiful city with a lot of entertainment and Irish culture and history. I have travel a lot around Ireland in the past month. I been to the coast, the country and the city. Some places in Ireland that I have travel to in Ireland is Glendalough, Cork, Cobh, Galway, Blarney Castle, Aran Islands and Howth. Each of these cities were beautiful in their own way. I have been to the Dublin  City Center a lot and feel comfortable walking around the city without getting lost. The only thing that is a challenge for me is that class is very different from what I am used to at Elmhurst. Here at University College of Dublin we only get assessed on our learning two times in the whole semester where at Elmhurst we have quizzes everyday and test every two weeks.  My advice for anyone studying abroad is to take every trip you can that your university offers you since you will be able to see the country you are studying in. Another advice I would give a person who is going to travel abroad is to go travel to other countries since it is so easy to do while you are here in Europe but remember your school and studies come first. And just live life to the fullest while you are studying abroad because you might not get this opportunity again so take full advantage of it. 
This is when I went to Cork and visit Blarney’s Castle and kiss the Blarney stone, which was an amazing experience. 

Amy C - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

I would say the first day or so were the only stressful days so far. This was because we had no means to getting basic apartment necessities including sheets and dishes and common every day items. We slept on our mattresses with only a mattress pad! Once we had the opportunity to go shopping, we settled in very quickly. We discovered how to get into downtown Dublin our second day where I took this picture, my new home! 
This picture was taken one of my first days in Dublin. I love it because I cross this liffey nearly every time I go into town, which is very often. 
This picture was taken in Glendalough, with some of my Elmhurst friends and some of my new friends. I love this picture because I already can’t imagine this semester without them, and I had no idea who they were before I came here. It is true what they say, that you meet some of your best friends abroad!

Darinka P - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

Hello fellow study abroad students!  Get ready to have the time of your lives abroad!  I’m Darinka, a senior nursing student studying in Dublin, Ireland.  I remember being in your shoes and being both excited and terrified at the same time, but honestly I did not realize what I got myself into until I arrived at O’Hare airport to start the adventure of my life.  So far, my experience here has been unreal!  Ireland is absolutely breathtaking!  From the city, to the hills, to the cliffs and to the sea, every ounce of it is stunning (Google images doesn’t do it justice).  Dublin is small in comparison to Chicago, but enormous to every Irish person I have met.  The city has so much
culture, history, pride, and energy!  Grafton Street, one of the main streets in the city, is always booming.  There are street performers day and night and people out and about all day.  Also, I have never ate as much gelato as I have since I have been here.  Okay now, let’s get serious for Alice.  When it comes to culture shock, I can’t say I have experienced it yet.  It definitely helps that English is the common language here.  Granted they have accents that can be difficult to understand at times.  I would definitely encourage everyone to always stay busy and join as many clubs or activities as possible to get your mind off not being at home.  Another piece of advice, (provided by Alice), pack half as much clothes and twice as much money! Everything abroad is expensive and whatever you can’t bring, you can buy. Save your money to explore, it’s worth every penny!  So far, all I have been doing is traveling within Ireland, but my abroad adventures are soon to start and I cannot wait for them to begin! Enjoy every minute of your time abroad and say yes to everything! …unless you are about to get taken.

Katie V - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

Hi CPP Class!
My name is Katie and I’m a senior nursing student spending the semester in Dublin, Ireland. So far, I have been having the time of my life! Dublin is such a fun city, and Ireland is incredibly gorgeous. Everywhere I go is beautiful- the coast, the countryside, even the downtown. It’s fun being in a country that has so much history. I have been here for about a month now and I am already comfortable navigating the city. Almost every time we go to downtown Dublin, we run into someone we know. I’ve met so many people here from the US, which I wasn’t expecting. It truly is a small world. 
Fota Wildlife Park in Cork, Ireland. It’s about 3 hours away from Dublin and it is one of the most fun places I’ve ever been! Kangaroos are everywhere, not in cages or enclosures.

Class here is very different than at Elmhurst, especially concerning nursing classes. At Elmhurst, we (the nursing students) usually have a quiz every morning before class starts, and several assignments due per week. Here there are 2 large assignments at midterm and final for each class, and that is the whole of our grade. That is probably the biggest change for me, but I’m confident that I will do well in school here.  If I could give any advice to those studying abroad, it would be expect to spend much more money than you plan on spending (especially if you are going to a country that uses the euro), to not stress yourself out about packing (you can always go shopping for things your forgot-pack light!), but most of all have fun and soak everything in because I’ve only been here a month and it’s gone by so fast! If anyone is going to Ireland to study abroad or has any questions about anything in general, please don’t hesitate to ask me! J

The coast that is about a 20 minute walk from campus. It’s such a calm place that is different from the beaches at home.

Rachel T - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

I am currently studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland at the University College of Dublin. The car ride to the airport was a silent and awkward one filled with anxiousness, fright, doubt, you name it! But when I landed and got on the bus to campus, my first thought was that Ireland wasn’t very different than the US. They speak English and a lot of the buildings are pretty new and modern. I feel comfortable here and I’m looking forward to all the new experiences I will have in the near future.
It has been about a month since I’ve landed here and I already feel comfortable navigating the streets of Dublin’s City Centre. 
In front of Temple Bar, a place I typically gravitate to at any time of the day because of the liveliness and music. There are tons of great restaurants in this area too!

Ireland as a whole is a beautiful country and there are plenty of tours and weekend trips you can take part in. My advice for anyone going abroad would be to take advantage of the trips that the University offers; they plan tours, activities, lodging, etc. Sometimes trips are free and other times they are at a great discounted price. I have already had the opportunity to hike the gorgeous Wicklow Mountains in Glendalough! Additionally, I am looking forward to traveling to Donegal, Ireland for a weekend of adventure which includes kayaking, rock climbing, and sailing. The weekend after I will be traveling to Northern Ireland to visit Belfast, Giants Causeway, and Dunluce Castle! The Fota Wildlife Park in Cork was amazing, Blarney Castle was a sight to see, and I’m still waiting to see Trinity College’s library! The point is, you will find plenty of things to do in your host country. You will learn so much about the country’s history and culture if you just explore!
The river running between the Wicklow Mountains. This place is one of the most beautiful I have seen in my life! 

There are so many opportunities to travel and meet new people while you are out here. Try to keep an open mind and it’s not so bad to have a casual conversation with a native at a pub or even in a cab. One night, while taking a cab, a friend and I had a friendly chat with the cab driver. Turns out he was a firefighter for Dublin’s Fire Brigade! He invited us to the firehouse the next day and he gave us a tour of the trucks and even let us spray the hose! You really never know who you will meet when you are out here!

I hope all of you are excited as you plan your study abroad experiences! Get ready for the time of your life! If anyone has any questions feel free to respond to this Blog!  

Colin C - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

It is a dream come true to finally arrive in Ireland. My whole life I have wondered where my family comes from and it is exceeding all of my expectations seeing it in person. I am having a grand time in Dublin and exploring around. It is some good craic (or how you say in the states fun)!  Everyone here is very nice and helpful! They are willing to talk off your ear while you listen to a great story!

My advice is to work hard before you study abroad and save up. When you get to your choice of destination you don’t want to say “no” to some experiences of a lifetime. I am excited for more to come and see more surrounding areas! Cheers, be patient soon you will be abroad and love the experience! 

Ellie A - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2014

Hello all!
My name is Ellie Anderson and I am a senior nursing student studying in Dublin, Ireland! I am so glad I chose to study abroad, it was really one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I love exploring our campus (University College Dublin), Dublin, and Ireland itself. I have not really experienced any culture shock yet, but I’ve been so busy with exploring, traveling, and joining clubs (like windsurfing!), and that’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give, stay busy! Join clubs, go on day trips, and travel as much as you can. I’ve done things I never would have done before, like standing on the edge of a 400ft cliff, and have plans to travel to places I couldn’t have imagined I would go, like Morocco!! Traveling can get expensive, but it’s worth every cent and keep telling yourself that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it will make looking at your bank statement a little easier. Time flies by so fast when you’re abroad, I cannot believe we’ve been here a month already! So enjoy every moment, take a day to sit at a park or peaceful place to take it all in, do everything you possibly can, and have the time of your life!!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Shelby S - Kansai-Gaidai Exchange, Japan - Spring 2014

Study Abroad Kansai Gaidai Spring 2014, Hirakata City Japan
I knew that I had always wanted to study abroad in Japan I just was not sure exactly where in Japan. I have been in the Tokyo area many times before so I knew I had to do something different this time. I choose to go to Kansai Gaidai University which is in the Kansai Region of Japan. It has been such a great experience so far. In my seminar house I meet people from all over the world. Many of the friends I have made here do not speak English as there first language. I am not only learning about Japan’s culture but cultures around the world (Korea, China, Sweden, etc).
The atmosphere at Kansai Gaidai is so friendly. Everyone on campus is willing to help you and in the Seminar houses everyone is so friendly as well. It really makes the experience much more special knowing that people are so willing to help. I’ve only been here for a couple months now but the friendships I have made are stronger than my friendships back home. Coming abroad really opened up my eyes to how different people are but so similar at the same time.

Famous Tori Gate at Miyajima Island, depending on the tide level you can go and touch it.
Since being in Japan I have been to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima island, Yokohama, Yokosuka and a few more places. It is so easy to travel in Japan, and the train are so “Benri” aka, convenient.  What I like about the Kansai region compared to Tokyo is that it is much more relaxing here and there is so much history to see. When I go to Tokyo it is exciting but I only go shopping. In Kansai I site see at temples, shrines, and see many wandering friendly deer! I have seen so much already but still have much more to see. Coming to Kansai Gaidai has been a great experience and I wish I could extend my stay. If you come here you will not regret it.

The campus seems much bigger compared to Elmhurst.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Carmen S - Gold Coast, Australia - Spring 2014

Hello from Australia!

My name is Carmen and I am currently spending the semester at Griffith University in Gold Coast.  I live a block away from the beach in Sufers Paradise, Queensland where I relax at almost everyday.  My experience has been undescribable so far.  My first few days were in Brisbane, where we walked along the river and through the Botanical Gardens.  It was the most beautiful city I've ever been to.  Jessica and I then flew up to Cairns for orientation where we went scuba diving (I touched a sea turtle and got stung by a jellyfish but it was totally worth it!), hung out with Kangaroos and Koalas in the Rainforestation, and hiked through the Botanical Gardens.  I highly recommend going to Cairns, it was well worth the trip and there were so many things to do there!  Jessica and I later went to Sydney for the weekend!  Although it was raining the whole time and I didnt pack well, we still were able to see everything we wanted to in the short amount of time.  Bondi Beach was only an hour bus ride from Sydney and that was probably my favorite part because it was the most beautiful beach I've ever seen.  We then hiked through the Blue Mountains where I was attack by leeches and we saw the 3 Sisters, still worth it. 
 Lately, Ive been doing my best to stay focused on my school work in this beautiful weather.  I tried Kangaroo meat and LOVED it.  A group of us also took surfing lessons last week and I just signed up to become a licensed scube diver!  
We plan on traveling to New Zealand soon and hopefully see more of Australia.  I've loved every second of the trip so far and I cant wait to see what else I can see and learn!