Differences in Mundane Culture and the Importance of Prolonged Stay

Studying abroad is an interesting and unique experience. There is something special about interacting with a very foreign and different culture. One may see things that many of those belonging to that culture may take for granted or view as normal. These are things that people often find not worth mentioning when they talk about their home country. I, however, find that these mundane things are the most valuable

An Open Letter to Costa Rica

Pura Vida. In Spanish, it literally means, “pure life”. It is used as a greeting, a farewell, to ask for a favor, to say thank you, and everything in between. Over the course of 11 weeks in Costa Rica, I learned that Pura Vida is more than just a phrase, it is a way of life. I changed drastically this summer, and although I took classes, it was the

A Glimpse Into Tico Time

This summer I spent 11 weeks in San José, Costa Rica. During this time, I completed 19 credit hours, by studying Biology and Spanish. In Costa Rica, I lived with the sweetest host family. I really felt as if I was an integrated member of their family. I went to school 5 days a week, and the work was intensive. I had only heard about the traveling part of

My Trip to Paris

Going to a new country has been a great experience that has broadened my worldview and knowledge base. I have traveled to many new places around the city of Paris and beyond, learned about the city itself, and through my classes learned about the world of luxury goods. This trip has also pushed me to be more self-reliant and flexible as most of the amenities I am used to

Un Mois dans ‘La Ville Rose’ [One Month in ‘The Pink City’]

‘Wow,’ I am thinking, when I look at the kind, older lady with a large dog that I would very much like to pet, ‘my French is really, really bad.’ I frown, trying to recall words that other U.S. students told me numerous times in my first week in Toulouse, France. I look up at the lady and timidly make a petting motion with my hand, as I say,

Studying Abroad in Costa Rica

Before departing for Costa Rica I really wondered what it was going to be like and what I was going to take back from the trip. After going I can say that it was one of the best decisions I made and gave me a lot of memories that are going to last a very long time. Along with the rich cultural history of Costa Rica, the country also

More Than Just “Lion” Around

As much as I’ve heard that every study abroad experience is unique, I know that mine was one of a kind. How many people get to say they were face to face with a cheetah? The answer is not a lot so that is just one thing that made my study abroad experience unique! My program was through Loop Abroad who partners with Iowa Wesleyan and their programs were

Summer in Warsaw

My time spent based out of Warsaw will be remembered as many things. I found happiness in the Mountains of Zakopane, excitement on the streets of Berlin, and introspection at my placement at Collegium Civitas in the center of Warsaw. Reflecting on the overall experience I had, I feel as though it was a very necessary stint living outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself. I spent a

Botswana, Public Health, and Culture Shock

This summer I was lucky enough to experience a two month public health program in Botswana, a small country directly above South Africa, well known for its unique cuisine, wildlife, and very kind people. It was, without a doubt, the best experience of my entire life- but it certainly didn’t start that way! I said a gut-wrenching goodbye to my parents at the airport as my two packed bags,

An Unforgettable Spanish Summer

The summer of 2019 is one that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I was given the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to Cadiz, Spain and conduct international research alongside other amazing peers. As I reflect on nine weeks of research, travel, and new experiences, it’s difficult to reflect on it as a single event in my life. Although nine weeks seems small in the grand