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.

DSC04641.JPG

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!

Advertisements

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.

Dunning, Haley2.JPG

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

 

27067103_1774504332593933_4133069485090417023_n

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: Its 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

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 9.49.07 AM.png

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 Hungarian!

COLA: Any last comments?

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

 

Thank you Olivia!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustment & Comparison- Lauren Lappas- Granada, Spring 2017

Hello everyone! My name is Lauren Lappas and I am a Senior at the University of New Hampshire studying Spanish. In the spring of 2017, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain.

COLA: Describe your biggest pre departure challenges? Did you have any idea to what living in your host destination would be like? 

My biggest pre departure challenge was that I had a lot of anxiety about knowing I wasn’t going to be able to see my family for 5 months during my time abroad. It was also nerve racking because I had no idea what to expect in terms of my life abroad.

COLA: What has been the biggest challenge you faced abroad?

The biggest challenge I faced was not being able to communicate with people at all times (meaning if I needed to reach someone at a specific time).

COLA: Describe the adjustment process like when you arrived in your host destination?

I just dove right in. I knew I wasn’t going to be comfortable or happy if I didn’t get to know my host family and be myself.

COLA: What advise could you share with other students regarding adjusting?

Be polite but always speak your mind. They are your family — they will treat you like theirs if you do the same.

COLA: What was the biggest surprise during your abroad experience? 

I met people I never would have otherwise and made life long friends.

COLA: What was your most rewarding moment when you were abroad?

Gaining independence had to have been my most rewarding moment during my time abroad.

COLA: What changes have you/your guardians/friends seen in yourself after your study abroad experience?

After this experience, I am more open to taking different paths and opportunities the world has for me.

COLA: What were your thoughts when you were sitting on the plane to your host destination? What about the plane ride back to America?

On the way there I was so nervous I  actually cried the whole time. On the way back to America, I was so anxious I also cried the whole time.

COLA: What challenges did you face when you returned home/back to UNH if any? How did your friends and family react to stories of your experience abroad? 

Honestly hearing other people’s stories of their abroad experiences and thinking I missed out if I didn’t do something they did, etc. Everyone loved hearing my stories, I always talk about my spring break in Italy and how amazing it was.

COLA: Did you experience culture shock at all? If so, describe how you dealt with this? 

Not as much as I thought. The people in Europe just always dress up no matter the occasion, so that was different compared to life here in Durham. I also have to say it was hard eating dinner at 10pm every night.

COLA:  Did you experience homesickness abroad? If so, how do you suggest others cope with this when they study abroad in the future?

Yes, I did experience homesickness quite frequently. But, you just have to remember that you are never going to get this time back or this experience back. Enjoy it. The people, the food, the wine, the views, everything.
Thanks Lauren!

Adjustment & Comparison – Carlos Martens – London JTerm 2017

Carlos Martens graduated in 2017 with a BA in English Journalism from the University of New Hampshire. During the J-Term of 2017, Martens studied abroad in London, England.

COLA: Describe your biggest pre departure challenges? Did you have any idea to what living in your host destination would be like?

Being a non-traditional student, I have traveled a lot already prior to this trip. I honestly did not have any challenges and I did know what to expect for the most part.

COLA: What were the initial differences in your host destination versus America?

The people were more different then they are here in America

COLA: What has been the biggest challenge you faced abroad?

The biggest challenge I faced was actually coming back to America and the adjustment I had to then deal with again.

COLA: Describe the adjustment process like when you arrived in your host destination?

I just began to meet as many people as possible.

COLA: What advice could you share with other students regarding adjusting?

Immerse yourself in the local culture and get to really know your study abroad destination.

 

COLA: What was your most rewarding moment when you were abroad?

Meeting people from all over the world had to have been not only my most rewarding memory and part of being abroad in general.

 

COLA: What changes have you/your guardians/friends seen in yourself after your study abroad experience?

The realization that there is more to life than your hometown, your friends,  and the area you currently live in.

 

COLA: What were your thoughts when you were sitting on the plane  to your host destination? What about the plane ride back to America?

My thoughts to Europe: “I can’t wait to see who I’ll meet” My thought back from Europe: “How and when will I travel abroad again?”

 

COLA: What challenges did you face when you returned home/back to UNH if any? How did your friends and family react to stories of your experience abroad? 

The challenges I faced was mostly the realization that I don’t want a traditional lifestyle in the states any longer.

 

COLA: Did you experience culture shock at all? If so, describe how you dealt with this? 

Yes, but it is always expected and welcome. I just let the culture envelop me.
Thank you Carlos!