Monday, May 14, 2018

Erica in Uruguay!

¡Hola todos! ¿Cómo andan? *leans in for a hug and kiss on the cheek*

My name is Erica Yepiz, and I am a Spanish (K-12 Teacher Licensure) major and a Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor.
As I type this, all of my friends back home are posting on social media about final exams and graduation. My friends abroad are currently winding down and making plans to come home or travel after finals. Meanwhile, I just took my midterms. I didn’t arrive in Uruguay until March, so I spent nearly three months waiting and watching as all of my friends either went back to school or went on their own journeys abroad -  Delvin and Ethan to Japan, Christian to Spain, Hannah to Denmark, and, lastly, Lillian to Australia. It honestly got to be stressful and lonely, but, when I finally got here, I was so excited to begin this chapter of my life (also because it was technically mid-summer here, and I live a five-minute walk from the beach).

I had two main goals before I left the United States. One, improve my Spanish. Two, learn to relax a little.

As a Latina, I always hated that I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish, so this goal wasn’t just for career purposes; it was very personal. I felt very confident in my reading and writing skills in Spanish, but I felt that my conversation skills greatly lacked. HOWEVER, just a few weeks in Montevideo, I automatically felt the improvement. Obviously, I still stutter or mispronounce something, but I have been able to communicate with locals pretty smoothly. (But I haven’t adopted the interesting way they pronounce their “ll” and “y” or use “Vos” and “Ta”).

I think that I’ve relaxed a little. I generally stress and overthink anyway, so I knew A LOT wasn’t going to change, but I was hopeful. Mostly I’ve learned that I have to adapt and go with the flow. And, finally, that voice in my head turned on to give me advice when I needed it. I missed a connecting flight. There is nothing you can do in this moment except buy a new ticket to get to Uruguay. I didn’t read the bus route correctly, so I got lost. Just walk until you recognize some street signs or buildings. I don’t know exactly how to translate what I want to say. Stick to what you do know because you know more than you sometimes give yourself credit for. These experiences were frustrating and a bit scary in the moment, but they have helped me to not be so discouraged when doing something for the first time.

Considering I still have about two and a half months in this small country, I still have time to grow and learn. I plan to go to Argentina soon and, even though it’s getting colder, hopefully Punta del Este is in my future, too. Maybe even a trip to Chile if my bank account is looking up for it.

¡Que la pasen bien, chicos! ¡Chau! *leans back in for a hug and kiss on the cheek*

Erica Yepiz
Universidad Católica del Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
One of the first big events CBU (welcoming committee) held for the international students to get to know each other. Asados are very common here, and the food tasted amazing!

Like all tourists, we just had to take a picture with the Montevideo sign.

Fun Fact: There are 3 million people in Uruguay, but 10 million cows! So meat is a pretty big deal here. Chivito literally means little goat, but this sandwich is just steak, ham, cheese, lettuce, egg (hard-boiled or fried), bacon, and mayo. Some people like tomatoes, olives, and peppers on their chivitos, but I'll pass.

View of the city from Playa Ramírez

When I was picking the name for my dragon, i anted something very Uruguayan (or reuruguayo). I decided on Gaucho because Gauchos, similar to cowboys, are an important part of Uruguay's history. I got a chance to go to Museo del Gaucho, and I brought my dragon to meet his people. 

 Murals and graffiti can be found on pretty much every building of the city. "The difference between who we are and what we say is what we do."

 International students from the US, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Spain, France, and Germany.

Mate (pronounced mah-TAY) is a very common drink here. In this photo, some friends and I are sitting in a circle looking at the sunset by the beach and drinking mate.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sarah in England!


My name is Sarah Seyler, and I’m a Media Studies Junior studying abroad in Plymouth, England this semester. Plymouth isn’t a very big city, but it is a college city, as we have another university in the area. I think I chose to study in England because something in me was just drawn to Europe more than anywhere else. It’s hard to explain, because it is more of a feeling than it is something I can verbalize. Besides, I knew that they had a decent program in Media, and public transport is extremely good and cheap in England.

I could spend time telling you about my adventures. But the truth is that many of them probably won’t sound as interesting as they were to me. So instead, let me tell you about the things that I noticed are different; the general feeling, the tea, the sausages. Fried chicken is NOT fried chicken, and there is probably a strange British colloquialism for just about any word you can think of. I can touch cobblestone and know that it has history, it has weight to its existence. That stone may have been there longer than our country has been around. People go outside when the sun is out because it’s such a rare occurrence.

Let me tell you about the things I love; I was given constant sass for our lack of kettles. People refer to me as ‘the American’ more than they do my own name sometimes. It’s hilarious saying ‘North Carolina’ and watching them try to work out where exactly that could be. People ask me about Trump, but they ask me about the Kardashians more. My flatmates spent the entire first month I was here cramming every British food I had never tried into my face. Sometimes they ask me to say words, and listen with their eyes closed when I sound out the syllables. One of my friends tells me she’ll miss that accent when I go.

It’s been an amazing few months. I’ve definitely discovered a different side of myself. I’ve grown. And as much as I can’t wait to go home, I know I’m going to leave part of my heart here.

Cheers, as the Brits would say,

Sarah S.
This is where I am, right on the coast. They call it ‘The Hoe’ here, and this is where everyone has barbeques when it’s actually warm.

This is an olddd old old cathedral in Exeter. The statues were chipped, but you could feel how much they had seen, how long they had been there.

I really like street art ya’ll I have no other excuse alright? This was in London.

I really like street art ya’ll I have no other excuse alright? This was in London.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Olivia in Scotland!


            When I was choosing a country in which to study abroad, my mum gave me a great piece of advice. She said not to pick a country for the primary reason of being able to get new veterinary or animal experiences there and to good to a country for the culture. As a pre-veterinary student and talking with others, I felt pressure to get veterinary or animal experience wherever I went.  I also had quite an extensive decision process before deciding on Scotland. Originally, I wanted to study abroad in Scotland because I have wanted to live in the U.K. for a while, was very interested in Scottish culture, and Scottish music is one of the ancestors of Old Time folk music, which I play. The decision felt right in both my gut and my heart, so I went with it. As to the possibility of getting veterinary or animal experience in Scotland, I thought that if it was supposed to happen that it would happen.

             Well, in all regards the experience was more than I could have possibly imagined. 

I still have a little over two months left, but already, it has been more than I could have ever hoped. I’ve met many different people of many different nationalities, made really interesting friends, traveled around Scotland, and have traveled to Ireland with a dear friend from UNCG and LIHC who is currently pursuing her masters at St. Andrews University. And, the universe gave an amazing gift in the way of veterinary/animal experience. I recently finished volunteering for two months on a Lleyn sheep farm in Cupar, Fife just south of St. Andrews. I was able to stay almost half my week there every week with the farmer and his wife. It was one of, if not the best animal experiences of my undergraduate career and my life. I got to be right in the thick of it before lambing and during lambing and learn so much, including how to internally assist an ewe with giving birth. Equally enjoyable and enlightening was the opportunity to live with and get to know the farmer and his wife. I fell in love with sheep and North Fife on the farm and miss it and the farmer and his wife very much. I won’t forget this experience for a very, very long time. 

              After finals, I will be doing a home stay on a Highland Cow and sheep farm (with Scottish Blackface Sheep) near Dunoon, Arygll and Bute in Western Scotland. Until then, studying for finals awaits.          

Liv Dietrich 

Near Inverary in Western Scotland

On the top of Arthur's Seat on the most beautiful day in Edinburgh I have seen yet

Beautiful ewes

A Wee Widdle Wambie
A sunny view of the sheep farm in Cupar near St. Andrews

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sarah in Northern Ireland!

Hello fellow Spartans! My name is Sarah Shackelford. I am a Nutrition/Dietetics student with a concentration in human dietetics. This semester I am studying in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. I have been in this small, quaint, Irish town for about a month and a half. It is one of the most beautiful places to study, I can look out my window and admire rolling hills spotted with sheep, or take a walk into the nearby town, grab a coffee and a bag or two of groceries (don’t forget a reusable bag!). Walking down cobblestone streets, I am still look around in awe of the fact I am in another country for entire semester.
Why Northern Ireland? Well, why not? Yes, it is not the most popular destination such as England, Germany or France, but in my time here I have come to see it is equally as historic and beautiful. When many individuals think of Ireland, they may imagine a rainy, dreary place, with a pub in the middle of nowhere, or they may automatically think of St. Patrick’s Day and a pint of Guinness. Only a few things out of that list have some truth. Northern Ireland has its’ perks and I would love to share a few with you! I made a small list of some interesting facts about my host country:
  1. The national color is not green nor is it orange, it is actually St. Patrick’s blue. But the shade of blue may differ depending on if you speak to someone who states they are “British” or “Irish.” There is a distinct difference- not everyone here considers themselves to be Irish, some are still very loyal to the crown.
  2. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is a thing here, and yes, schools do let out for an extra day to celebrate the holidays. I can assure you many people will have a pint or two of Guinness to celebrate the occasion.
  3. It does rain here, but it does not always pour. Around this time of year, I have seen (and walked through) rain, sun, sleet and snow within the span of a few hours. But, we do have glorious days of sunshine, that one takes full advantage of.
  4. The manner of speech is quite different from The States and even Britain. Many individuals will use words (for lack of a better term, slang) throughout everyday conversation. For example, “bap” means bun, “grand” means lovely, “craic” means fun. I applaud my friends who speak English as their second language, because I would be completely lost coming here if English was not my native tongue (and even then, I am lost).
  5. Tea is almost, if not more, popular than coffee. Many time you will be offered tea or coffee, and there is only one type of tea served-Teatly Black.

A group of the International students in front of the town hall when we visited Belfast for the day. Fun fact: Belfast was where the Titanic was built!

A panaroma of the infamous Giant's Causeway where all the rocks are shaped as hexagons. This was the day we walked in wind, sleet, and rain, and then the same finally came out. 

The Northern Irish landscape is not complete without its' sheep. So, we decided it was a must that we take a picture with them. (Not pictured: the sheep running away from us)

One of the sunny days that we had, we visited the nearby coast and took some pictures at the coast in a nearby town called Portstewart.

I know many of you reading either will, have or are thinking about studying abroad. I am not going to sugar coat the fact that there will be difficult moments, or the fact that you wonder how you were brave enough to get on a plane and travel half way across the world for four months. These thoughts will come up, but you will never, ever regret the decision to get on the plane and explore a new place. In the past month I have made friends with people from all over the world, learned how to say “goodnight” in Greek, and learned things about myself and my faith that I may not have seen if I stayed home. So, if you even have a little bit of interest, I would encourage you to go, the experience will change your life!

Tristan in Denmark!

Hej from Odense, Denmark,

My name is Tristan Johnson I am a Sophomore and I am currently spending a semester abroad at University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark. Studying abroad has given me the chance to not only learn about another culture but also to step out of my comfort zone. The most important fact about Odense, Denmark everyone needs to know is that it is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and his fairy tales. The second most important thing to know is how to bike. Everyone bikes everywhere here. Most people do not have cars so that was the most difficult thing to get use to. Thus far, my semester abroad has been an amazing experience. It has also given me the opportunity to meet and become friends with Danish students and other exchange students from around the world. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the opportunity to do so. I would also recommend study abroad at University of Southern Denmark.

Greetings from Odense Denmark

Hans Christian Andersen

Middle of the City Center in Odense

Main entrance to the University of Southern Denmark

Streets of Odense, Denmark

Studying abroad gives you a chance to travel and also find friends who want to travel with you. (Photo taken in Copenhagen)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Cheyenne in Northern Ireland!

Magnificent white waves sucked at the large hexagonal stones, splattering them with seafoam.  Gentle rumbles of the ocean echoed in my ears. As I scanned the scene before me, I could feel my jaw begin to go slack. The was sea so vast and thick with creamy foam, it was reminiscent of a fresh latte. In fact, glancing at the shimmering black stones lining the ground, I couldn’t help but smirk at the piles of accumulated sea-fluff playfully dancing in the ocean breeze.  This place…how could this be real? In my life I had only dreamed about taking grandiose adventures, but now I stood half way across the world.
                Twisting to get a look behind me, my gaze became met with yet another picture-perfect scene. Luscious, supernaturally green grass spanned across awe-inspiring mountains, as ocean spray hung like fog. Thousands of years of natural history towering above me. I had heard time and time again that Ireland was an extraordinary place, a land filled with awe-inspiring views, and castles straight from your childhood fantasies. But nothing could have prepared me for this. Back home I was a nutrition major, a junior who was trying the best she could to get things right despite the circumstances. Here, I was free. As I stood atop my slippery stone tower admiring the Giant’s Causeway, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was in a fairy tale.

Since arriving in Northern Ireland, something inside me had changed. Perhaps maybe, a part of me felt more grown. Stronger. Or maybe it was the realization that once my journey here would come to end, I could never be quite the same again. Either way, It was surreal. Not only that, but this place was only one of several adventures I had already experienced since landing here. I had stood at the exact location of the tragic bloody Sunday massacre in Derry-Londonderry, and witnessed tremendous cathedrals that were thousands of years in age. I had trekked the capital city of Belfast for an entire day, stopping to explore the marketplace, and eat traditional food in the oldest pub in the city. Heck, I had even sat in an ancient throne inside the historic town hall! The best part about it all, though, is that even though I had already done so much, I still had 3 more months to go. Although I couldn’t know exactly what the rest of my time would bring, there was one thing I could be certain. As the locals like to say, I was going to be having a lot of “craic.”

Town hall at night, Derry-Londonderry 

Sitting in the Lord Mayor's chair, Belfast city town hall

Irish food in the oldest pub in Belfast city

Famous leaning clock in Belfast city, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway Coast as depicted

The famous St. Columbus Cathedral, Derry-Londonderry

The famous St. Columbus Cathedral, Derry-Londonderry

Famous church wall of Derry-Londonderry


Giant's Causeway Coast as depicted

Famous natural hexagonal shaped stones of Giant's Causeway

The beautiful mountain scenescape of Giants Causeway from the coast, as depicted. 

Giant's Causeway: Giant's Gate

Giant's Causeway Coast with distant mountain backdrop 

Little Groose enjoying the supernaturally green hills of Northern Ireland

Friday, December 15, 2017

Arianne and Little Lloyd in Cape Town!

Howzit! (Cape Town greeting)

My name is Arianne Ouedraogo and I study political science and business with a pre-law concentration. I am currently studying at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town South Africa. Being able to study here in Cape Town has truly been an enriching experience for me thus far. Cape Town is a lively and beautiful city that I will never get tired of!! During my time abroad I have really been able to challenge myself to engage in experiences that I would not dare do at home, and that has allowed me to gain both academic and personal growth. I am excited to take everything that I am learning in Cape Town and sharing it with other Spartans once I return to UNCG!

University of Cape Town Upper Campus

Tierra Morre and I during our first week in Cape Town posing with one of the Drum Cafe leaders.  The Drum Cafe is a local drumming group that taught the exchange students about African drumming.

There is such a variety of delicious foods in South Africa in general.  This is some lamb curry I had in Johannesburg at a restaurant called Pata Pata.  It was the bomb!!

Cape Town is characterized by beautiful views from both the mountains and the beaches.

Little Lloyd and I relaxing at Clifton Beach.

Demonstrator at the UCT student and faculty forum regarding the Fees Must Fall Movement.  The Fees Must Fall Movement is a student-led protest movement that has happened across South African universities since 2013.  Students protest with the goals of acquiring free education, decolonization of education, and policy change regarding mental health on college campuses.  UCT's student body population is very politically active and very vocal when it comes to expressing their political views.

Me learning about South African apartheid history.  In the picture I am sitting next to someone who lived through the implementation of apartheid.

Arianne Ouedraogo
University of Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa