Notes from Abroad


How To: Study Abroad

Studying abroad is an invaluable experience with numerous benefits: traveling, job marketability, gaining global perspective and cultural competency to name a few.

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The land of Marhaba

As I handed over my ticket, confused, they could barely hold in their laughter over my distressed state. This is Moroccan Time, I remembered, laughing and taking a seat. I was still running on American.

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The unknown story of Costa Rica

The longer that I am here, the more clear it has become that Costa Rica always has two stories. One story is the story that the majority of travelers know: the beautiful tropical country full of natural wonders and national parks, whose government is working hard to protect all of its resources. That story is often true, and is as beautiful as it sounds. But there is another story which is becoming more and more real and frustrating to me.

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The flight and my two new friends

I met Adil and his 4-year-old son Taha walking what seemed like miles across London Heathrow airport. It felt good to stretch your legs after an eight-hour flight from Chicago, and Taha felt like running. Adil striding to keep up with him, the two of them passed me on the left like a car swerving in and out of traffic.

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Living a 'pura vida' in Costa Rica

Pura vida translates to pure life, and is used commonly as a greeting, to thank someone, to say goodbye, and in any other positive context. To the Costa Ricans it means living lightly; enjoying the moment, not rushing through your day, and being happy.

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First impressions of Taipei

We have been in Taipei, Taiwan for a little over two weeks now. Living here is completely different from my life back home with my husband. It is all very strange and exciting too.

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The proposal

Aunt Mary was a large woman. She was the biggest Ghanaian I had seen and truly dwarfed the sewing machine that she sat behind. I approached and greeted her and the other women with my best Fante (the local dialect): “Memoachee.”

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Stonehenge overrun by tourists, but worth the wait

When I had first decided to go to England, seeing Stonehenge was the first thing I put on my list of things to see. Some want to see where Kate Middleton went shopping or Emma Watson lived but me – I wanted to see thousands of years of history, no matter how unsure of it people were.

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Preparing to be second-home sick

It has now been just a few short months since I left the States, and my impending return to the Mid-West is beginning to hit home. In just a matter of weeks, it has been amazing to see the niche you can carve for yourself in a community. Though Sevilla boasts a population of around 1 million, I see familiar faces on my morning walk to school each day, the cashiers at our local SuperSol supermarket know me by name, and I’ve developed strong preferences regarding which Spanish TV shows I will sit through or not. (“Frank de la Jungla,”, essentially the Spanish crocodile hunter- Awesome. “Barco,” more or less a rip-off of “Lost,” but takes place on a boat- Even worse than “Lost.”) Heading for Spain in September, I at least knew I would eventually see my “niche” in Michigan again. Now, saying goodbye to Sevilla will certainly leave a bittersweet taste

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Big Ben never took a bad photo

We have seen London in the movies, read about it in the books, and know that all the cute sexy men with accents come from there, but seeing it in person is completely different. The smells, the atmosphere, the tastes… it’s not something that can be easily explained. One thing I know for sure: Everything is NOT within walking distance!

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The Danube at night

I have long since decided that the most beautiful part of this city is the area adjacent to the river. In fact, I have lived here four weeks now and made this decision on approximately day three, and it has stood quite firm. There is a huge relief in stepping out of the dingy, concrete streets between densely packed four-story buildings and into the open air of the river, with space to breathe and beautiful architecture lining the banks. The rest of the city has its sights — the Opera House, the railway stations — but this is where the postcard photos are made.

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Nigardsbreen

I came to Oslo, Norway in August with a friend from GVSU to study geology and history for the

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