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!
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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!

Expenses and Funding- Kelly Marko- London, 2017

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COLA: Intro: What is your name? What year are you at UNH? What is your major? When/Where did you study abroad?

Hi! My name is Kelly Marko and I am a senior at UNH this year. I am a information systems and finance major in the Paul College. During my spring semester of junior year in 2017 I studied abroad in London, England at Regents University.

COLA: How did you prepare for financing your trip abroad?

The summer before my junior year, I worked a lot in order to save up for this trip. I was planning on going abroad so I knew prior that I had to save up money during the summer in order to fund my trip. I also worked over winter break before my trip which helped!

COLA: Did you spend more or less money then you planned when you were abroad?

During my time abroad, I spent around what I thought I would. I went to study abroad meetings before so I had a good idea on what my expenses would go to and how much I would actually need when studying abroad in London.

COLA: For students looking to study abroad in the same study abroad program that you took part in, how much spending money do you suggest they bring?

What was great about the London program was that we had a meal plan so most of our meals were pre paid for so I didn’t really need to think about buying groceries. After 5 months and traveling to 8 different places I spent around $5,000 which was expected.

COLA: What are some suggestions for students to experience their host city on a budget?

In London specifically, all of the museums are free so I would suggest to take advantage of that. Also, walking around your host city is free and when you walk opposed to use transportation, you can see every inch of your destination and get to know your way around by foot which is a great feeling. I would highly suggest walking over taking public transportation for most of your time abroad!

COLA: What did you spend most of your spending money on while abroad? 

I spent money of my money on travel and transportation. It was the most costly expense because you have to get to and from the airport in various places which always costs money and then going to and from your hotel/hostel/airbnb  and then the plane ride as well costs money. It defiantly adds up way more then we expected.

COLA: If you could go back and change one thing about how you budgeted/spent your money, what would that be?

I would have stayed in more airbnbs to give myself to option to grocery shop. When staying in hostels, you have to eat out for your meals which we found to be more expensive when compared to staying in an airbnb which a kitchen and being able to cook our own food.

COLA: Generally, how did other students/friends studying abroad with you spend their money compared to you?

I would have to say we spent around the same amount. We all usually kept each other in check and made sure we weren’t making irrational purchases or going to places we knew we couldn’t afford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Site Director Tips- Budapest- Professor Stephen Trzaskoma

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Stephen Trazakoma is a professor at the University of New Hampshire. He has served as an on site director for the Budapest and Greece programs . He studied abroad when he was a student which influenced his decision to be involved in study abroad at UNH.

COLA: describe your program and the types of students who may find it appealing?

Budapest: all kinds, looking for Discovery classes and for something a little unusual compared to most destinations. Greece: a wide variety with some interest in ancient world, looking for short-term but high impact program

COLA: What are some of the challenges students have experienced in the past while abroad on your program?  How have you helped them adjust?

Recently mental health issues have become quite common. UNH’s procedures have changed quite a bit for the better, as have the resources and arrangements such as international SOS which is a service for UNH students abroad. Otherwise, happily, I haven’t had any recurring major problems. UNH students tend to adjust well to new environments and thrive in them.

COLA: What has been your favorite memory so far?

Too difficult to choose!!

COLA: How do you recognize when students are starting to adopt their host destination as their new home?  

I notice that when the students begin to report back to me things they have been discovering on their own that are out of the way or unexpected.

 

COLA: Is there any advice you would give to prospective UNH students that are planning on participating in this specific study abroad program?

I would suggest to plan to figure out your personal balance between academic work and enriching extracurricular activities.

COLA: What positive impacts have you seen on students who have studied abroad on this program?

I think all study abroad changes perspectives and opens students’ minds to all new possibilities for themselves and how they want to live their lives

COLA: Any last suggestions/words/advice?  

Go abroad! Go early and, if possible, go often. Studying abroad is one of the very best things you can do to boost your education.

Travel Tips-Granada Spring 2017- Lauren Lappas

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Lauren Lappas studied abroad in Granada, Spain during her junior year in the spring of 2017. She is a Spanish major at the University of New Hampshire.

Lauren traveled over 15 places and to 7 countries total. She lived in Granada but traveled all throughout Spain including Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Ronda, Malaga, Nerja, Segovia, and more! Also, she went to Italy and within Italy she went to Rome, Sorrento, Positano, Capri and Pompeii. She also went to Greece and went to Athens and Corfu. Since Spain is also relatively close to Africa, she had the chance to go to Morocco! Lauren also went to Amsterdam, Paris and Lagos, Portugal.

When asked what her favorite place besides Granada was, she said that Italy or Amsterdam had to have been her favorites. She said that Italy was amazing because she got to meet so many people from the United Sates that she is still friends with today. Additionally, she loved the beaches and obviously the food. Lauren said that the sandwiches and wine were absolutely amazing. As for Amsterdam, Lauren advised that everyone should try to go if they can because the city  was just nothing like she has seen or experienced before. Her least favorite place she went was Lagos, Portugal but added that the weather defiantly affected her choice. Since it is such a small place, there wasn’t much to do there she thought compared to all of the other places she went.

The place that surprised her most was Paris. She heard prior to visiting that the people would be rude but when visiting, she found that the stereotype was not true. She thought that Paris was amazing.

Two travel tips that Lauren gave to future study abroad students would be to plan far ahead and to save as much money as possible prior to studying abroad. She also said that when packing for a weekend of travel outside your host city, remember that less is more!

She thought that in terms of transportation, flying is more beneficial because it has more speed. She really was not a fan of the 8+ hours of traveling by bus. The main airline she used when she flew was Iberia and when she traveled by ground, she usually used ALSA buses. On the other hand, Lauren’s favorite form of accommodation was Airbnb’s. Although, she wished she could have been able to afford staying at more hotels. There was one hostel that she used that really stood out to her. This hostel was in Sorrento and according to Lauren, it was an amazing experience because it was a log cabin which made the trip that much more fun.

When traveling, she always made sure to be with at least one person in her program. During her first travel experience, she had one freak event but it allowed her to learn the lesson of making sure to always travel together with friends and stick together.

 

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Thanks Lauren!

 

 

 

 

COLA Study Abroad Interview- Jillian Tiberia- Costa Rica

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Junior Kinesiology major from Long Island, NY. I studied abroad in Costa Rica for 6 weeks during the summer of 2017.

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

I have hopes to become a Physical Therapist. My major is Kinesiology, and I am following a rigid course load with the plan to start graduate school right away. I didn’t think studying abroad was going to be an option for me. When I found out about the Costa Rica Summer Program, I knew I would do anything I could to go. I have such a passion for the Spanish language and there really was no better opportunity than to be immersed in the culture in Costa Rica.

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

My Grandfather was born and raised in Italy. He was given the opportunity to come to America when he was 23. He worked very hard and made a life for himself here. He married my grandmother and had two sons, one of which being my father. For his 80th birthday, my grandparents, my dad and his brother and their wives and kids went to Italy and went to a few tourist spots, but spent 3 days in his hometown. My Grandmother, my dads mother, was born and raised in Scotland. She was given the opportunity to come to America at 20 and married my grandfather. For her 80th birthday, our whole family again went to Scotland to travel around but most importantly stay with her family where she was from. These experiences showed me the importance of family, but also the importance of opportunity. My grandparents took a chance in coming to America and inspired me to see what more is out there in the world, and I could not be more grateful.

COLA: What were your expectations of Costa Rica before arriving?

Honestly, I really had no idea what to expect. I remember being a good combination of nervous and excited. I was concerned about what my host family would be like, but now I look back and laugh at that. My host family is made up of some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life.

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

I learned the value of kindness. My host family, most importantly my host Mom welcomed me into her home with open arms and such a big heart. She made my experience absolutely incredible. I want to be as welcoming for traveling students one day.

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

I learned that there is so much more out there to see and experience than New York and New England. I hope to go back and live there some day. And if not Costa Rica, somewhere else I can use my knowledge of the Spanish language.

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

Yes! I traveled to Cartago, Playa Agujas (Jaco), Tortugero, Monteverde, Playa Hermosa, La Fortuna, and Tamarindo. Out of all those places, I think my favorite is not really a tourist location. I didn’t have classes on Mondays, so my host Mom took me to the town where she grew up in San Antonio. We took the bus together for 2 hours and went to this huge piece of land with 15 cows and a small house on top of the hill. I met her 4 other children and her parents. My host Mom and her parents and children all sat together and we had dinner together. She was so happy that I came with her and it was easily one of the best days I had with her.

 

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

My professors were amazing. At UNH, students are so wrapped up in grades and doing well, but my professors in Costa Rica could care less. We had a jar that we had to put colones in when we spoke English. We would talk just to practice. It was a great learning environment overall.

 

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

Well, Costa Rica is an incredible country and the institute offered a variety of great classes. I was able to put 8 credits toward my spanish minor and also gain an advantage. Learning to use the language when you actually have too and being immersed in that culture is really the best way to learn.

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

Do not waste time or energy worrying about how you are going to use your phone, honestly leave it behind. You do NOT need it. To fully immerse yourself, you need to unplug and focus on the present.

COLA: Any last questions, suggestions/ advice?

Tranquilo, pura vida!

 

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COLA Study Abroad Interview- Hannah Matillano- Granada

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself! 

My name is Hannah and I am a junior Communication and Spanish double major. I’m 20 years old, turning 21 in May! I studied abroad in Granada, Spain in the spring of 2017.

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

I chose Granada because it seemed to promote language learning by having the students stay with native host families and classes taught in Spanish. That was my primary criteria, but it was a bonus that it was a UNH managed program because that meant the tuition remained the same as if I were living on campus. It also helped greatly that a UNH faculty member was abroad with us, so that we could go to her if we ever had any questions or emergencies. It was also easy to transfer credits back to UNH.

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

Yes, I have been out of the country before. My parents came from the Philippines–and most of our family is there–so we go there once every few years and stay for a couple weeks or more. I have also been to London for a vacation with my family, as well as Niagara Falls (the Canadian side) and Quebec City, Canada.
In a way, my travel experience did influence my decision to go abroad. I felt more secure about spending four months abroad as a sophomore in college, because I knew I had developed the independence that would help me thrive.

 

COLA: What were your expectations of Granada before arriving?

Based on pictures I saw and using Google Street View, I kind of expected that Granada would be confusing city that I would easily get lost in. It was really intimidating. I also thought that Granada would be pretty warm all year round, because some program alumni told us that it doesn’t get much colder than fall in New Hampshire. That turned out to be not so true.

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

I learned that trying things out of my comfort zone is almost always worth it. I also learned that I could only get better at speaking Spanish by practicing as much as possible, even if I make numerous–stupid–mistakes. I’ve learned to try new things so that I could be glad that I had experiences rather than regret never getting out there.

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

My experience in Granada has made me realize that as much as I think that I can easily try new things, at times it was hard to put myself out there. I grappled with some self-doubt, but eventually I was able to overcome it with the help of other people in my program. I also realized how much the world has to offer, and it made me more determined to get out of my bubble and experience all of it.

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

Yes, I did travel outside my host city, mostly in trips that were planned by the program. However, my favorite place I went to was Barcelona during our spring break. It was the first trip that a friend and I planned by ourselves, which was something really exciting by itself! We stayed for five days, exploring the city the way we wanted to and learning to budget our time and money. We rented an apartment for our stay, so we both learned how to cook our dinners and pack our own lunches and snacks for the day. On top of that, Barcelona was a large and beautiful city and there was so much to see. We had a blast there!

 

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

The classes that we took overall had significantly less workload than typical UNH classes. However, they were more oriented to the (pop) culture and history in Spain, which I found to be quite educational. I especially liked my writing and oral production class, where we learned a lot of Spanish slang and street talk!

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

I recommend the Granada program to anyone who is looking for a rich cultural experience and an improvement in Spanish speaking. It’s easy to sign up for classes that transfer back to UNH, and the tuition price is hard to beat! You also get put with awesome host families who make you feel as comfortable as possible and who help you practice your Spanish. If you ever need support, not only is your host family there to help you, but you have other people in the UNH program who’ve got your back and the program director who is abroad with you. On top of that, Granada is a small, but manageable, breathtaking city that is sure to steal your heart as soon as you see your first sunset from El Mirador de San Nicolas. You also get reasonably priced high-quality wine that comes with FREE tapas. I’m pretty sure Granada is the only place where the tapas are free! 🙂

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

One piece of advice I’d have for students looking to study in Granada is to not be afraid of exploring alone. Honestly one of the best days was when I wandered Granada by myself, and I found a whole new part of my neighborhood that had an ice rink and a nearby mall with clear views of the mountains! Also, pack your warmest winter jacket because it is very cold when you first arrive. I didn’t pack mine and my host mom ended up giving me her daughter’s old winter coat. Don’t be me. Bring a winter jacket!

COLA: Any last comments?

Regardless of where you study abroad, it will be one of the best experiences of your life and is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Take it!

COLA Study Abroad Interview- Wyatt Gantenbein- London

 

 

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hello! My name is Wyatt Gantenbein and I am a senior mathematics education major. I studied abroad this past spring at Regents University in London.

COLA: Why did you choose to study in London? 

I chose to study abroad in London because it offered me a piece of everywhere, it had numerous cultures embedded in the city and allowed me to see more than just Durham, NH.

COLA: Have you ever been out of the country before? Did this influence your decision to study abroad in London? 

Prior to studying abroad in London, I had never been out of the country. This made studying abroad that much more exciting!

COLA: What were your expectations of London before arriving?

I expected London to definitely be a change in pace and lifestyle compared to Durham. I knew that London was a very large city but once I had arrived I truly realized how big the city actually was.

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

The most valuable lesson that I learned from studying abroad was to need sit still. There is so much to go and discover and you can’t find anything by just staying still. Go and explore and find new places- you won’t regret it!

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Regents University London

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

After studying abroad I learned that there is so much in this world. I was able to see so many different cultures while abroad and its opened my eyes to just how different someones life can be from mine. I also learned that I am a very adventurous person and thrive being immersed in a different culture. Studying abroad forced me to leave my comfort zone and for that I am forever grateful.

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

I did leave London a handful of times. My favorite place I visited was Copenhagen. I loved everything about this unique city. It had history but also modern touches, and the food was absolutely amazing.

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

I took a range of classes form Modern European History to Intro to Social Media. I enjoyed the classes that I took and found them to be a change from my normal courses that I would take in Durham. I really enjoyed my Media and Culture class. I got the change to watch and analyze numerous shows and movies that I had previously seen.

COLA: Why do you recommend London? What are some of the benefits of studying in London?

I would recommend London to anyone who has an interest in studying abroad. It gives you the change to step outside your comfort zone without the experience of a huge culture shock. It can be similar to a distorted version of New York City. It also offers so many different areas to explore.

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

The best advice I could give to a potential study abroad student is to walk every where. That was the best way that I saw London was on my feet walking to a new coffee shops or exploring a new neighborhood. Taking public transportation can be extremely convenient but will limit your view of the city and the community around you.

Cheers!