COLA Study Abroad Interview- Abigail McIntosh- London

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Tell us about yourself!

My name is Abigail McIntosh. I’m a Senior (Graduation: May 2019) Communication Major and Art Minor from Nashua, New Hampshire.

Why did you choose London. Why a UNH managed program specifically? 

I visited England a long, long time ago on a trip with family and family friends. It was an incredible experience, and I knew that I would have to return again. London is also a great option in that the primary language spoken there is English, so it is great if you do not have room to take a language requirement, or feel more comfortable having an english speaking country as your home base for travel. Choosing a UNH program was great because it made the credit transfer/application/visa process so easy. Paperwork, credits, and travel documents were all taken care of by UNH and Regents University, which saved me a lot of time!

Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? Did this influence your decision to study abroad in London?  

I have always loved traveling. I am blessed to have had experiences growing up that revolved around travel and exploration. England and Italy were two major trips that I went on while growing up. Learning to value the experience of visiting a new place definitely made me want to study abroad.

What were your expectations of London before arriving?  

I try not to have expectations of a place before visiting, but I cannot lie when I say that I was extremely excited about the prospect of visiting all of the free museums in the city, and I had pretty high expectations for them (they did not let me down). Though I do not set many expectations for a place, I do set expectations for myself. I was absolutely determined to travel alone whenever possible and I was nervous and excited at the prospect of doing it.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad?  What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?  

I have learned that I am just as capable, independent and strong as I hoped to be. Studying abroad taught me that traveling is easy, confidence is key, and traveling alone as a young woman is 100% possible. I found myself in only one scary situation while traveling in Barcelona, and I look back and marvel at my cool and calm approach to getting out of it. I am glad that I faced challenges, because I was able to understand just how capable I am. I remember thinking about studying abroad, and wondering what I would feel and be like once I returned home. I am the same me, but 100x wiser and with way more interesting stories than I ever thought possible.

Did you travel outside your host city? If so where was the favorite place you went and why?   

I went to six countries when I was abroad, and four of them I traveled to alone. I often met up with friends  and people I knew in the countries that I visited, so that made the experience really wholesome for me. My favorite place was Scotland, specifically the Highlands. It was absolutely gorgeous (I am a huge outdoor person) and I couldn’t get over what mountains look like in the Scottish National Parks.

Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes?   

I took five classes and enjoyed them all. My favorites were ‘Society and Mass Violence’ and ‘The Psychology of Fashion’. They were taught by incredible professors from different parts of Europe, and they each taught me a ton about the country I was living in, which was really really cool. The unit about the punk movement in London was by far one of my favorite lectures in my Psychology of Fashion class.

Why do you recommend London? What are some of London’s benefits?  

I recommend London because it is a city that has absolutely everything. When staying at Regents University, you are literally on a property in one of the queen’s parks, so there are trees and green space everywhere. If you want the city feel, you just walk four minutes out of the back gate of the park and you are at one of the largest Tube stations in London. It is a diverse city, a clean city, and a city with a really rich art and history scene. You could spend your entire semester in London and surrounding areas and never get bored. It is that fantastic.

 What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study in London?

DO NOT be afraid to travel and explore alone. You will learn so much about yourself and the kindness of others, I cannot recommend it enough. Also, take up a hobby or activity that you’ve never tried or had time for. After becoming good friends with a photography grad student in Wales, I started shooting film. I had so much fun going out into the city on a whim and bring my hand at street photography. I took my camera with me everywhere, on every trip, and connected with wonderful people all because I had my camera around my neck. It was an absolute blast, I found a small photo shop on a beautiful tiny street about fifteen minutes away from my school, and really immersed myself in photo and art culture. All of the photos that I shot and developed are near and dear to me, and I have those memories all because I tried something new.

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COLA Study Abroad Interview- Justin Missert- London

 

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Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Justin Missert, I’m a dual major in economics and history. I’m a junior and will graduate in 2020. I’m from Windham, New Hampshire.

Why did you choose London? Why a UNH managed program specifically?   

I chose London Spring 2018 because 1. They speak English there, 2. It is a hub of  travel, I could, and did, go all through out Europe, and 3. The weather was much nicer! We only had about a little bit more than an inch of snow… compared to the six plus inches in New Hampshire. I chose a UNH managed program because it was very well supported by UNH and it was easier than doing it on my own.

Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? Did this influence your decision to study abroad in London?  

Yes, but not as far or as long as when I was in London. I went to Canada for about a week with my high school band and also to the Bahama’s. But I haven’t travelled nearly as long as January to June.

What were your expectations of London before arriving? 

Wow, going in I knew it was going to be like this huge city and traffic would be different, but other than that I had no idea how beautiful London could be, especially central London. You see all the movies and you realize it’s very different than what you expect… it’s better. It looks big and spread out but in central London, it’s only maybe a 20 or 30 minute walk to anywhere. This was very surprising because oh, you’re in Piccadilly and you can skip over the Buckingham and more!

What is the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad? 

I guess, learning I can be very independent when I need to be, I did a lot of traveling both in the city and in Europe in general just by my self.

What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?  

That the world is a bigger place than I thought it was. I was sheltered, had only minimally travelled, and to going to a metropolitan with people and cultures from all over the world really opened my horizon.

Did you travel outside your host city? If so where was the favorite place you went and why?  

Oh boy, I travelled so much I can’t choose. I will say, top three places would have to be Switzerland, Rome and Amsterdam. But London goes with out saying.

Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes?  

Yes, I took two really fun classes, one called “The History of London” where the professor took us into London to visit historical sites. We were also able to see many plays, my favorites were Book of Mormon and Pippin. My family actually came to visit, and I originally booked tickets to see Book of Mormon, made a mistake and had to move the date, so we also saw Phantom of the Opera. One memorable moment was meeting Ian McKellen, he was bumbling around a pub and I saw him and talked to him. He had his Gandalf staff around the counter. I had to control my inner fanboy from screaming, “ahhhh it’s Gandalf!”

Why do you recommend London? What are some of London’s benefits?  

Yes, highly encourage. Oh boy, so again you open your experience to a more localized culture which isn’t isolated. You learn how to be independent, that’s a huge thing, but you also learn how to navigate and become comfortable in a large city. If you don’t come for that, it’s somewhat of a culture shock. Another large thing is becoming more financially aware. You need to watch what you spend.

What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study in London? (ex. don’t be afraid to explore alone, don’t pack your warmest jacket, be open minded)  

Definitely do it, I think it should be mandatory to study abroad. No one has said I never had fun. It’s an opportunity that might only come once in your time, so you might as well jump at it.

Any last comments?  

My stay in London was brilliant.

Professor Linda Thomsen- Granada Spain, On Site Director

COLA: What is your role at UNH? 

Linda: I am a Principal Lecturer in Spanish in LLC. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I have been active in encouraging our students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities here. I have been the Resident Director of the Granada, Spain program several times: Fall 2001, Fall 2008, Spring 2015 and now, Spring 2018. I also have worked with Lina Lee with out summer study abroad programs, first in Puebla, Mexico and now in San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica. Also, I served as the Resident Coordinator of the Costa Rica program in the summer of 2014.

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Photo by: Jim Parsons 2016

COLA: Did you study abroad as a student? Did this impact your decision to be involved in the study abroad programs here at UNH?

Linda: I did study abroad in Mexico City, Mexico when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. The experience of living in another country, learning language, and viewing my own country from another perspective did have a profound effect on me. I do believe that my study abroad experience helped me decide to take an active role with our study abroad programs. I attend the study abroad fairs and throughout the years have helped to inform our students of the various study abroad options.

COLA: Describe your program and the types of students that may find it appealing.

Linda: I believe that any student who is studying Spanish, whether as a major or a minor, would benefit from this Granada program. I have observed some students who were rather shy, or who have never traveled abroad, adjust fairly quickly to life here in Granada. Much of the positive experience here is due to the Spanish host families who take the students in and treat them like their children. The families offer support and insight into Spanish family life and help them understand the culture and traditions.

COLA: What has been your favorite moment so far as an on site director?

Linda: I don’t really have a favorite moment during the semester, but each semester I spend with the students, the overall enjoyment of watching the UNH students adjust and grow as individuals, and as a group is very satisfying and reinforces my belief that a study abroad experience, wherever it may be, is a valuable, and often life changing, experience for the students. Also, I have seen students become more self reliant, independent and self confident as they realize that they are capable of living in another culture, traveling alone, or in small groups, within Spain, and to other countries. They observe life here in Spain alone, or in small groups, within Spain, and to other countries. They observe life here in Spain and compare and contrast it with life in the USA.

COLA: What makes your host destination a great city?

Linda: The Granada Program offers students the opportunity to live with a Spanish family while enjoying a very interesting city. Granada, although a fairly large city in area, has a downtown center which is full of restaurants, historical sites, theaters, cafes and a blend of several cultures. It is a mellow and friendly environment. Also, the public transportation system is easy to use and low cost allowing for travel throughout Spain. In addition,  there are airports in Granada, and Malaga which offer affordable flights to other countries in Europe.

COLA: Any last words of advice or comments?

Linda: I always encourage students to take the risk.. and even if they have some reservations, or fears of leaving the “known” environment of UNH, they won’t regret the decision.

 

Thank you Professor Linda Thomsen!

5 Ways Studying Abroad Can Jump Start Your Career

5 Ways Studying Abroad Can Jump Start Your Career

By: Kirsten McDonald

Studying abroad can lead to a plethora of benefits. It is an aspect of your college experience that you can capitalize on to be more marketable after graduation. Not only does it allow you to gain experience and see the world beyond your home base, but it allows you to gain qualities that many employers are looking for in their prospective candidates. Here are a few essential professional qualities that study abroad can enhance:

  1. Problem Solving & Independence

When traveling, it is normal to run into a few mishaps along the way. Traveling can sometimes be as difficult as it is glamorous.  These problems can include lost luggage, missed flights, or a language barrier. You can be thrown unexpected problems at various times and you learn to think on your toes and act with confidence. It is possible that you will encounter unfamiliar situations that will lead you to adapt and respond in efficient ways.

  1. Expanding Your Network

Living in a different location for a certain amount of time can introduce you to a wide variety of people you may not have met otherwise. Taking classes abroad can connect you to professors and lecturers who have advice and connections. Certain institutions may offer courses that your home institution doesn’t necessary offer. You never know, developing relationships with your professors, advisors, and fellow students may aid you in landing your dream job or internship!

  1. Language Skills & Cultural Fluency

Studying abroad may be one of the best ways to further your language skills. Being able to learn about a language by living in the environment is more beneficial then simply just learning through a textbook at your home institution. Immersing yourself in different cultures and exposing yourself to more languages through travel can put you ahead of other applications in the professional world. In addition, studying abroad experience will hopefully result in being better able to respect, listen, and value another culture or individual that may be different from your own.

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Photo by: Haley Dunning- Spring 2017 Chengdu
  1. Teamwork & Collaboration

You may find yourself traveling with a group of individuals on your weekends and visiting other destinations. Traveling as a group can be difficult because certain people may have different priorities than others. But, these problems when traveling together can be solved through compromise, time management, and listening.

Or, you may find yourself immersed in a course with others who are not from your own. Learning to collaborate with others who have a different perspective than your allows for open mindedness and patience, understanding, respect and responsibility. All of which are qualities that employers expect from successful applicants.

  1. Independence

Being a study abroad student, you learned in a diverse culture, gained knowledge in an international education setting, traveled to another part of the globe, and probably stepped outside your comfort zone at one point or another. All of these experiences you did all on your own. This shows confidence, resilience, open mindedness, and courage. Again, all of these are qualities that correspond with independence, employers would highly value in a candidate.

All in all, it is no secret that studying abroad will have an impact on your career. To find out more about the programs that can amplify your career development visit https://cola.unh.edu/study-abroad

 

COLA Study Abroad Interview- Lindsey Bourgoin- Budapest

 

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself

Lindsey: I am a Junior social work major currently studying abroad in Budapest, Hungary (Spring 2018).

COLA: Why did you chose to study abroad in Budapest? Why a UNH Managed Program specifically? 

Lindsey: I knew from the start that Budapest was the right fit for my semester abroad. Financially, it is an extremely affordable country to live in. It has a bustling student/young traveler culture and night life. Not to mention its beautifully vast landscape (the flat, modern Pest side of the river and the hilly, traditional Buda side). Another big selling point to me was that Budapest is very centrally located in Europe which has made traveling to other countries both easy and affordable.

COLA: Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? 

Lindsey: Yes, prior to my semester abroad I had been to London, Dublin, Wales, and Mexico City.

COLA: What were your expectations of Budapest before arriving? 

Lindsey: I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I have never been to Budapest or Central Europe before but I had some friends who had visited Budapest while they were abroad and they all loved it there.

COLA: What was the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad?

Lindsey: It is important to be aware and be prepared. It is much more fun to travel when you know you don’t have to stress about something. On the other hand, don’t over plan. Be able to be flexible and go with the flow if plans change.

COLA: What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you? 

Lindsey: Traveling and living abroad has made me much more accepting of things that seem new and scary. It has made me more independent and vastly improved my communication skills. As someone who was relativity shy in high school, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my favorite things to do was meet and talk to local people in Budapest/ on my other travels. This has given me a better perspective on the mindsets and day to day lives of people in other parts of the world.

COLA: Did you travel outside your host city? If so, where was your most favorite place you went and why? 

Lindsey: Yes!! I did a great deal of traveling because Budapest’s central location made it very easy to do this. So far I have been to: Krakow, Vienna, and Prague. I spent 10 days in Italy for Spring break bussing from Venice to Rome to Sorrento/ Amalfi Coast, to Tuscany. I am also going to go to Amsterdam, Munich for Springfest, Bosnia/Sarajevo, and Paris. So far my favorite was Prague because it was a very hip art centered city. We also made very good friends with a few locals there which really improved our trip because we got to experience the city as the locals do.

COLA: Tell u about the courses you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these courses? 

Lindsey: Our whole program takes the same classes. I took two classes taught by Hungarian professors (in English) a history course and a culture course. Then our program has a field study course in which we go into/around the city and explore different cultural monuments/exhibits-which are always really interesting. Lastly we have a creative writing class in which we focus on travel writing which is amazing because we get to document our experiences.

COLA: Why do you recommend studying in Budapest? What are some of the benefits of studying abroad there? 

Lindsey: YES! Budapest is a beautiful city with kind people and a great student culture. I have no problem getting around with speaking English. Additionally, Budapest is a perfect location to travel to other countries from.

COLA: What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study abroad in Budapest? 

Lindsey: It’s cheesy but- it is the best thing you can do for yourself during your college years. I really can’t recommend studying abroad in Budapest enough!

 

Thanks Lindsey!

COLA Study Abroad Interview- Olivia Olbrych- Budapest

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself

Olivia: My name is Olivia Olbrych and I am a junior Journalism major currently studying abroad on the spring semester Budapest Humanities Program.

COLA: Why did you choose to study abroad in Budapest? Why a UNH managed program specifically?

Olivia: I chose Budapest because I wanted a program that was managed by UNH. I knew that a managed program would allow me to travel with a group of students from UNH and I would still be able to have the same support abroad that I have at home.

COLA: Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? did this influence your decision to study abroad in Budapest?

Olivia: Prior to studying abroad, I had traveled to Europe twice. I have been to England, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden. Visiting these countries made me unafraid to study abroad in a country that doesn’t speak English as their native language.

COLA: What were your expectations of Budapest before arriving?

Olivia: I didn’t have any expectations coming to Budapest, I came in with an open mind and was really happy I went about it that way.

COLA: What was the most valuable lesson you have learned so far from studying abroad?

Olivia: I have learned to be much more organized and efficient while traveling. When you travel  around and stay in hostels with other people, you lean that you don’t actually want to bring a lot of stuff with you in case you loose anything. It is also much more difficult to be responsible for all your belongings if you bring a lot of stuff when traveling. My advice is to pack light!

COLA: What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?

Olivia: I have learned that I am really independent and I am the kind of traveler who likes to be busy everyday. I like to fit as much activities as I can into each day when I am on a trip! I have also learned that people who don’t speak English as their first language are not as intimidating to talk to and you should not be afraid to visit places that you have never heard of or been before.

COLA: Did you travel outside your host city? If so, where was your most favorite place you went and why?

Olivia: So far I have been to Krakow, Vienna and Prague for long weekends. I have also done a quick trip to the mountains in Slovakia. My favorite place I have been so far has to be Vienna because of all the art and music. I also love history and Vienna makes European history come to life!

COLA: Tell us about the classes you are taking abroad. Have you had any memorable moments in any of these classes so far? 

Olivia: I am taking a bunch of interesting classes abroad. I am taking travel writing, history of Hungry, and culture of central Europe. We also have a field study class where we go on field trips every week! My favorite field trips have been the walking tours of the city because you get to learn the significance of where you are visiting!

COLA: Why do you recommend studying in Budapest? What are some of the benefits from studying abroad there?

Olivia: I love Budapest and it is so affordable for students to come here! It is also so easy to travel to other countries, you can travel very easily by bus to a lot of other cities.

COLA: What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study abroad in Budapest? 

Olivia: Do not be afraid of not being able to speak Hungarian!

COLA: Any last comments?

Olivia: Do not be afraid to go somewhere completely unique for your study abroad experience.

 

Thank you Olivia!!!