First Week in Sydney!

Submitted by Anna Hintz on the 2024 Winter NURS program in Sydney, Australia…

I had a great first week in the land down under! After the long 17 hour flight to Sydney, we wasted no time to start exploring the city. My roommate and I started off the trip by stopping by Bondi Beach to get some sun. We were very surprised by how easy it is to use public transportation in the city! We mainly use the train and the bus to get around. The next day, I finally got to see the famous Sydney Opera House and explore the historical Rocks. We also toured the Botanical Gardens within the city. We learned about the native flora and fauna and the healing properties they offer to the Australians. We even got to taste some plants and berries! I was very excited to learn about Australian healthcare during our visit to the Ministry of Health and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. It was interesting to hear how different their nursing programs are compared to the United States. Can’t wait for this upcoming week of adventures! (Submitted on January 21, 2024)

Simulation room in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

A Week of Museums and Stones

Submitted by Griffin Smith on the 2024 Winter ENGL program in London…

My second week in London was packed full of fun outings and sightseeing. Some of the excursions
included tours of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the British Museum, a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum,
and trying out some new restaurants. The V&A was particularly enjoyable because of the immense
amount of art housed within it, with rooms three stories tall filled with statues and columns, and gallery
walls plastered with so many paintings. One of the coolest rooms was the jewelry room, filled with glass
cabinets of beautiful necklaces and gemstone rings. But perhaps my favorite thing I did was a day trip to
Stonehenge and the city of Bath. The coach ride to Stonehenge was just under two hours, and when we
finally got there, another bus took us up to the stones. It was spectacular seeing them in person, and to
wonder how we were standing in the presence of something that was built by humans before the
Pyramids of Egypt. It is crazy to imagine how they were able to build the monuments, move the rocks,
and lift them up into place. It was definitely a sight to see, and the weather was really good, not too
cloudy allowing the sun to shine through. After soaking in the sight, we visited a small museum about
Stonehenge before getting back on the coach to head to Bath. Bath was one of the most beautiful cities I
have seen. The architecture was amazing and looked very much like a city in Italy; the city was built
when the ancient Romans invaded England. We got lunch first, and then walked around, taking in the
sights. Before we left, we went into the Bath Abbey; I noticed it had features to both Westminster Abbey
and St. Paul’s. Like Westminster, the floor and walls were covered with tombs and memorials for people
who passed away. However, it did not feel cramped, built with an open feeling much like St. Paul’s. Even
though I was in Bath for a couple hours, it has already become one of my favorite cities, and shows a
striking difference in architecture to that of London. (Submitted on January 21, 2024)

First Week Study Abroad

Submitted by Carter O’Brien on the 2024 Winter MAST program in Florida

The second day of our group trip in Florida was unforgettable. After a long two days of traveling, we had finally woken up at our hotel in Crystal River. Without any breakfast or coffee we waddled our way to the dive shop and suited up. The air was cold, the boat was cold, and the breeze, was colder. Our study abroad lead and boat guides had informed us that we would be the first one’s on the water, and even though we were everyone was regretting it at least a little bit. At the very least the water was warm from the springs. There was very little visibility, but we were lined up in the water waiting for the sun to rise. As we swam into the sanctuary dubbed “the keyhole”, other boats were beginning to pull up. Before I knew it I had gotten separated from the group and found myself face to face with a manatee. It was incredible, at least an 8 ft. animal that weighed as much as my car and it wanted to say hi. Staying as still as I could she put her face up to mine and started to nudge me. She was inspecting me and being curious. After she swam off I was still riding the high of meeting such a gentle giant. Before I knew it something was nudging my leg. There was another manatee being me and was being pretty nosy. This manatee did the same but kept rolling onto its back. Taking the queue I put one hand behind my back and one hand out to try a belly rub. For the next ten minutes my also massive manatee kept rolling over like a puppy for belly rubs and we started to get along. Eventually the other groups rolled in and I had to let my manatee go but it was something I’ll never forget.

Later that day we had a nature talk and took a walk around three sisters spring. All waters there were blocked off for wintering manatees and we saw some of the animals with signs of cold stress from the winter weather. But most of all we saw two mother and calf pairs, each calf only being months old. In the picture provided there’s a mother and her calf who ended up nursing in front of everyone. An especially tender moment to cap off an already amazing day. (Submitted on January 18, 2024)

Washington, D.C.: Embassy Event

Submitted by Kyle Jenkins on the 2022 spring semester program in Washington, D.C. …

On Thursday, February 24th, my colleagues and I attended an event at the Embassy of the Czech Republic; Prague. This immersive experience commenced with opening remarks from the Czech Ambassador himself. We then learned about the capital Prague, with a brief slide show presentation. Afterwards, we gathered for a live opera performance of Prague’s most famous songs and anthems. We eventually ended the night with an intimate dinner of Prague’s greatest dishes. This was just one of the many embassy events to take part in while studying in Washington, D.C.


Hawaii: Harmony

Submitted by Maddison Alt on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

This week had some of my favorite activities yet. We went on another boat excursion to Kealakekua Bay, and in my opinion, it was the coolest snorkel outing on the program. The water was crystal clear, and the corals were incredibly tall and complex. It was like swimming through a little city. Seeing an absolutely massive school of goatfish just feet below you, and coming up to swim in the middle of a school of needlefish, made me feel like I was just part of the environment. The sheer diversity of the fish here was mind-blowing, and it was interesting to swim through warm or cold spots caused by freshwater mountain runoff combining with the salt water. It makes for very blurred visibility in one spot, and completely clear water in the next. The one thing I wanted to see more than anything was an octopus, and right at the end, I got to achieve that goal. It was the first time snorkeling where I didn’t feel like an invader, I felt like part of the ecosystem—just letting the currents take me between coral towers and over huge groups of yellow tang or black triggerfish.

This week was the last week, and as heartbroken as I am to leave, I feel like I learned even more than I expected in the two classes I took. But the most important lesson, learned in this very unique classroom, was how to truly live in harmony with my surroundings.

Hawaii: Mauna Kea Volcano

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…
Aloha! One of the highlights from this week was visiting Mauna Kea Volcano. This was a really cool experience to witness the beauty of the Island. Many people on our program went to the volcano and hiked to the viewing spot right before sunset. Together, we watched the sunset from above the clouds which is something I had never done before. I was really surprised by how vibrant the colors of sunset are once the sun sets below the line of clouds, I always assumed the most vibrant colors were where the sun was.
After sunset, we stayed at the high elevation and watched as the stars came out. It was amazing seeing how vibrant the stars were. We were able to stay at the viewing point and identify all of the constellations that were visible. I really enjoyed pairing what I learned in class about the topography of the island with all of the plants and animals we saw climbing in elevation up to the viewing point!

Hawaii: Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Submitted by Megan Perdue on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

We have just gotten back from Hawai’i… and I want to go back already. While in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, we went to a botanical garden rain forest. I was completely obsessed with the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden. The flowers, trees and wildlife here were gorgeous. We looked at many different plants and learned about their origin and properties. I loved how vibrant the colors were. After spending a long time at the gardens, we drove to Akaka Falls State Park. Here, we walked through a trail that had lookout spots as we got closer and closer to the huge waterfall. We all took pictures, and I took one “drinking” the waterfall.

Hawaii: Missing the Aloha Spirit

Submitted by Abubakarr Bah on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

Now that I’m back home, I do miss the Aloha spirit. When I was in Hawaii, everyone seemed chipper from the tourists to the locals. It could be due to the warm weather, but everyone was nice and friendly. Even my classmates, we all got along well like a family. I could chat up a local cashier or waiter and they would give me suggestions on shops, talk about who’s winning the NFL games right now, or ask about my experiences on the island. The island was teeming with life. Now back in Delaware, I barely even see people. It’s cold and nobody wants to talk to strangers. The only sound you hear is cars going super loud down the highway. Even at stores the cashiers say have a good day, but they all seemed annoyed and ready to clock out. It makes you really appreciate the quiet peaceful time you have when visiting a new place.

Having class on a field near a beach with one of my classmates explaining a topic.


Hawaii: The Big Island

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

Aloha! This past week we transitioned from Oahu to Hawaii (The Big Island). This was a really cool week to compare everything about both of the islands we had been on so far. One of the main things we studied this week was the volcanic rocks on The Big Island, and how the whole Islands structure is different than Oahu. My favorite part of the week was going to Volcanoes National Park. It was so interesting to see how the plants and animals living in the park were so drastically different than other islands in Hawaii.

Something that I didn’t expect was how different parts of the Big Island were to each other. Right after visiting Volcanoes National Park and admiring how rocky and dry it was, we visited the Botanical Gardens which were lush and filled with vibrant plants. I really enjoyed seeing the difference between the two islands ecosystems as well as the difference in plants based on location on the Big Island.

An Orchid found growing out of the volcanic rock in a very dry hot area.


Hawaii: Oahu

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

Aloha! This week in Hawaii, we travelled all over Oahu. My favorite part of this week has been visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center. The center did a great job of teaching guests about the culture of the Polynesian Islands as well as doing it in a fun and engaging way. I really enjoyed walking around to all of the different islands and seeing how differently each of their cultures developed. I wasn’t expecting for the experience to be as interactive as it was, but many of the staff members at the Center called people on stage to actively participate in games and activities related directly to the culture of the island.

I am very grateful to have been able to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, gaining a better understanding of how the culture used to be, and how it has developed today. It definitely gives me a lot of insight and understanding about differences of culture going into the next week on the program.

Picture of the architectural roofing structure you would find in Tonga.