Category: In the World (page 3 of 16)

Stories about traveling regionally, nationally, or globally!

“What I Gained from Studying Abroad for a Semester” by Hayley Whiting

When I graduate and look back at my time at UD, I know that studying abroad will be one of the best experiences I will take away from my four years as an undergraduate. My experience offered a completely unique opportunity to not only explore a new place but also to get to know myself. Here is what I gained from studying abroad in Paris for a semester!

First and foremost, my semester abroad strengthened me as individual. Before my trip, I had to go through the extensive visa process by following all of the steps and gathering all the needed documents, so, with determination, I was able to successfully complete the process on my own. Also, although I have flown with my family before, I flew on my own for the first time going to Paris, and then three more times for my fall break in Italy and my trip back to the U.S. It was rewarding knowing I could navigate the airport process by myself instead of relying on someone else! I also learned how to get around the city on my own. Once I got to Paris, it took me a few tries, but I quickly was able to figure out the metro system and was soon jumping on and off, making transfers, and following the signs in the underground passageways without a problem (but with the help of Google Maps, which is not only useful for metro routes but also for walking directions). I also really appreciated having my own unique experience exploring the city. I enjoyed many days jumping on the metro and choosing from the enormous selection of sights to see in Paris. I also decided to write in a journal consistently while I was there, which I have never done before, so it was nice to reflect on my day-to-day experiences and record my thoughts. Continue reading

Long Distance Friendships: The Struggles of Being Abroad by Jenna Newman

In my two-and-a-half years of being at the University of Delaware thus far, I have had the opportunity to spend time abroad twice. The first time was my freshman year and I spent about six weeks in London during Winter Session. Currently, I am two months into my four months abroad in Cameroon pursuing an internship. I’d be lying if I said that being away for so long didn’t take a toll on my relationships back at home. Especially “college friends” because you are so used to spending practically 24/7 with those people, however, I threw together some tips, tricks, and advice to best manage these friendships.

#1 Recognize that every friendship is different. I have some friends that I need to talk to regularly or else I know we are going to drift apart. Then I have other friends where we can not talk for months and then when we see each other again, we pick up right where we left off. One of my closest friends is AWFUL at showing emotion over text message, so when I was in London for Winter Session I barely heard from her. When I got back to campus that spring she ran up excitedly to see me. I admitted that I wasn’t even sure she missed me. All of that is to say that it’s important to recognize the differences in friendships and respect that not every relationship is going to look the same or have the same upkeep methods once you go abroad.

#2 Know that your real friends will stick around. Some of your friendships just aren’t going to last when you’re not around each other all of the time. That’s just the reality of life. My philosophy has always been that if I can keep one or two close friends from each stage of life I am in, then I’m doing something right. Time abroad will be a good way to tell who your real friends that are sticking around are. The real friends will be the people that check in to see how you’re actually doing, not just how the picture of you at the Eiffel Tower portrays you. They’ll be the friends that when you get back want to hear every single detail of every single day, not just ask you, “how was it?” expecting you to summarize your four month immersion experience in Africa in a sentence.

#3 It takes two people to maintain a relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in whatever is going on while you’re abroad and almost set expectations on your friends to be the ones to reach out to you. However, they could be feeling as though you’re so busy that you’ll just reach out if you have time. This could then lead to just not talking for way too long. It’s important to remember that it takes two people to maintain a relationship and it could be good to set up times that you can talk and catch up. A close friend and I pick a two-hour time frame twice a week that we’ll make sure to be paying attention to our phones so that we can text for a little while.

Long distance friendships can be hard. Especially when you’re used to doing even the mundane, like brushing your teeth, together. However, with a little hard work and determination you’ll be able to enjoy your time away and still come home to a great group of friends that you can pick up where you left off with!

Whitewater Rafting with the UD Outing Club by Brittany Connely

Before the school year began, I made a list of all of the things that I wanted to accomplish within my four years here at the University of Delaware. One of the most important goals I wanted to accomplish was to try many new things. So when the opportunity arose for me to be able to go whitewater river rafting, I quickly rushed to sign up. Little did I know this adventure would allow me to experience more than just river rafting.

We left on a sunny Friday afternoon with a ten hour bus ride ahead of us. I didn’t know anyone else going on the trip, which scared me just a little. I had been used to going on trips without knowing many people, but this was the first time I had done anything like this while I was so far away from home. Therefore those ten hours mostly consisted of me attempting to do homework and napping. When we arrived, I came to my first brand new experience: trying to set up a tent when it was dark and pouring rain. I was used to setting up tents from being in Girl Scouts, but it was freezing cold and all of us were exhausted from the long ride. Luckily with a group of three other girls, we set up our tent and attempted to get a bit of sleep for the long day ahead of us.

Then came the actual whitewater rafting. I expected only to be going into lower level rapids, as this was many of our first times out on the river. However I discovered that we would be going down level five rapids, the highest level anyone is allowed to go down recreationally. Not only did we have to sign waivers with a page full of warnings, but the instructor kept repeating that we could die today. While I knew this chance was slim as we were going with experienced instructors, I still knew that accidents could easily happen. I have always been an adventurous kind of person, but this was the first time I had done something this daring. When we got onto the boat and went through the first series of rapids, I became less worried and was having a great time. Until we made it to our first level 5 rapids. When we were in the middle I remember paddling hard and then just seeing this huge drop of waves before us. We all stopped and just looked at it in shock. After we made it through the drop, we all just started laughing. Even though we still had a bit of fear, it was such a thrilling experience. Making it through these rapids together and spending the day on the boat, brought me so much closer to this group, though I had never met them before.

Later that night, after warming up and eating a delicious dinner, we went to a music performance celebrating the last weekend of the camp, before it closed for the season. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Being from the west coast, everything just felt so different. Being here for the band was no exception. There were so many different people there enjoying the music. There was a old man dancing like there was no tomorrow. A little boy who danced so hard he had to take a break and get water in between the sets. A lady who was aggressively whipping her scarf to the beat of the song. These were only some of the many different people I saw there. I felt like I had become part of a different community, something that I had never truly experienced.

Even though it had been such a short journey, at this point I felt like I had gained so much. I became friends with people that I had barely met a day ago, and we talked as if we had been there for a week rather than just one day. This expanded my horizon, as many of my friends have been honors freshman from living in Redding. These people were from all different places, majors, and years. Hearing their experiences not only made me excited for the future, but made me want to continue going on trips, just so I could continue hearing from people whose lives were so different from my own.

Now that I have gotten this kind of experience, I want to continue putting myself out there, trying things that scare and challenge me. After all you never know what you’ll learn from trying something new until you do it.

“My Fall Break in Italy” by Hayley Whiting

One of the advantages of studying abroad is visiting other cities and countries besides the one you’re studying in. For example, in Europe, a neighboring country is just a short plane or train ride away! So, over my fall break, I left Paris on a blissfully short flight (under two hours) to meet my parents for a week-long trip in Italy.

Our first stop was Rome, where we spent half of the week. Right away from our first day, I was surprised at how crowded the city was, especially for non-tourist season! To get to our Airbnb from the airport, we took a tram that was so packed there was barely enough room for anybody else to get on, and, later that day while sightseeing, I was surrounded by swarms of people in the streets and squares. The city definitely has a crazy, energetic, boisterous feeling to it, even at night, when you can hear shouts in the streets and scooters whizzing by! Continue reading

“My First Week Studying Abroad in Paris” by Hayley Whiting

Studying abroad in France has been a dream of mine since I was in middle school. French has always been one of my favorite classes, and I distinctly remember the day when my friend’s sister (who had studied abroad) told me that if I could study abroad in the future, it would be the best decision I ever made. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, and here I am in Paris, thankful and excited to be here after many more years of studying French, with my aspiration to study abroad no less radiant than back then.

The day of my flight, I was extremely excited. I took a plane overnight, landing in Paris in the morning and basically missing a whole night of sleep with the six-hour time difference. Thankfully, I stuck to my goal of staying up that whole day and only going to sleep that evening (which is the best advice for avoiding jet lag – it worked!). The day of my arrival, I was greeted by my really kind and welcoming host mom, who gave me a tour of the neighborhood and plenty of food. She even prepared a special “apéritif” before dinner to celebrate my arrival. Continue reading

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