academic programs international

SPAIN!

I FINALLY got my final orientation packet from API for Salamanca, Spain! I’m gonna be staying at the Residencia de la Torre dorms. Just in case any of my lovely tumblr followers care enough to write to me or call me, here’s the info:

Residencia de la Torre

C/ Rodríguez Fabrés, 1, 3º

37005 Salamanca

Phone: 923 60 16 65

My roommate’s name is Alanna. Apparently she’s already in Salamanca cuz she’s doing the Early Start program. I realized today that she added me on facebook a few weeks ago. I guess she already knew we were gonna be roommates!! HAHA! And I’m SOOOO happy to say that I’ll have wireless internet in my dorm so I won’t be alienated from the whole world, haha! I was so worried O_o

I know my itinerary for when I arrive in Madrid and I CANNOT wait!! :D I will be there for the first four days next week. :) Goodness, this will be the experience of a lifetime. I love my life right now. 

After my four months was nearly up, I learned about Breakfast in America, an American style diner. The cute restaurant had red vinyl booths, checkered floor tiles, and unlimited percolated coffee–of course it was founded by an ex-pat who had studied abroad and yearned for scrambled eggs covered in cheese and ketchup.

My assistant resident director had heard me complain about the lack of veggie burgers in Paris and sent me to Breakfast in America. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize how much I would miss veggie burgers and unlimited coffee until I got there.

Totally immersing yourself in a country’s food culture is an amazing experience. I never knew how to cook until I began experimenting my dorm kitchen with my French cookbook. I had never thought I’d like Camembert more than Brie. I never had raw milk (turns out the lactase in raw milk works with the lactase in my body so I can digest lactose!) or raw cheese. But, seriously, there is nothing more comforting than a little diner-away-from-home like Breakfast in America. 

If there is a favorite food you are missing while abroad, talk to your RD and see if they can give some recommendations. In Paris, they also have the Thanksgiving Store, a store that carries American “staples” like Pringles, Lays potato chips, Skippy peanut butter, and other grossly over-priced American treats.

Spain!!

Sooooooooooooo…. turns out I won’t be in Spain this fall. Couldn’t get my student visa in time for fall quarter and since I’m doing a 90+ day program in Spain, I’m just switching it to Spring. It will almost be half of next year! :D I’m even more excited for this! :) It should be fun to be gone for half of the year. I’ll miss Cali… or maybe not. :P

Interested in cooking?

Every spring, Anne-Marie, the API Paris resident director, teaches a class about French cuisine. Half the class is based on cooking while the other half focuses on the history of French foods.

I just found out that this class will be offered both in the Fall and Spring semesters! Just another great reason to go to Paris. Maybe I’ll even go back! ;)

For more information, go to apistudyabroad.com. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask me too! I love and miss studying abroad!

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Congratulations to NUI Galway graduate and former lecturer Michael D. Higgins, who has been elected President of Ireland. Check out this video of his visit to NUI Galway during the election campaign.

When Worlds Collide: Reflections on Culture Shock

Over the past couple weeks, I have been doing a lot of travelling outside of the UK.  First, I went to Ireland.  One of my friends from Colorado State, Meghan, is studying in Dublin through API.  Once my parents flew back to the U.S.  I went to Paris to meet up with another friend from CSU, Kevin, who is studying abroad through API in Seville.  None of us knew that we were all going to be studying abroad in Europe in the same semester through the same program until just before we left.  We’ve been abroad for the same amount of time and are coming from the same university culture, that of Fort Collins and CSU.  We even have a lot of the same friends.  Our experiences while abroad have been different, but we’ve had similar fears, reactions, and reflections.  I think we will also have similar experiences once we return to CSU. 

In study abroad orientation, they warned us about culture shock.  At first I didn’t know what they meant; I had been to England before and even third world countries before and thought I wouldn’t go through culture shock.  I did and all of the phases of shock they talked about have been happening.  When I talked to Meghan and Kevin about this, they had gone through the same types of shock.  We’re all pretty much on the same page now.  At this point in the semester, we have our routines, we are comfortable with the cities we live in, and are overall enjoying life.  I found it interesting, though, that we were so similar and seeing them recently has opened my eyes to how studying abroad affects a person. 

If you haven’t seen them, meaning if you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, there are videos of “Stuff people say”.  The videos are of phrases and moments that a certain group of people share, like “Stuff theater kids say” or “Stuff hipsters say and what they actually mean”.  When we were in the Louvre in Paris, Kevin and I met these two girls from Wisconsin.  They told us about this video called “Stuff study abroad students say”.  We looked it up when we got back to our hotel, and while it was really funny and very true, I thought one of the sayings was questionable.  The phrase was, “This has changed my life.”  When Kevin asked me if this was true for me, I said that it was hard to say one thing changed your life when your life changes every day.  I have changed as a person, I won’t deny that.  When you live in a different country, you have a new life and a new world to get used to. 

In the beginning, you can’t believe that you’re an ocean away from home.  It feels like you could drive back to your campus and it would take half an hour.  By this time, about half way through I guess, you know that you are here and your friends and family are somewhere else, but you like knowing this because you don’t want those two worlds to collide.  Like I said, I realize I have changed as a person.  I didn’t want to when I first got here, but now I’m really glad I did. 

One thing I’m glad about is knowing that I was not the only one who was afraid.  I’m happy I got to talk to Meghan and Kevin about their experience so far and knowing that the fears of making friends, changing, getting lost, and stressing about grades weren’t just in my head. 

To all the people reading this who plan on studying abroad, there will be a few days when everything goes right, there will be a lot of days when nothing does, but most days there will be moments of normalcy and being comfortable with your surroundings.  You will change, it’s not a bad thing.  You will go through culture shock, still not a bad thing.  And there may even be times when you regret leaving home.  I can tell you truthfully though, despite the bad times and keeping in mind all of the amazing ones, studying abroad is one of the greatest things you could do for yourself. 

Till next time,

Lianna Rose