UMF TRAVEL LOGS
A collection of adventures and stories by students
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I have always had an interest in studying abroad, it was part of the reason I adopted the IGS major in the first place. I actually planned on going to Prague for spring semester 2018. However, this plan quickly changed when I was reviewing my credits in July 2017. I realized I had easily enough credits to graduate in May, making my program 3.5 years in total (I was a spring transfer). I had already done a travel course to Japan in the winter of 2016, which I thought might be enough to satisfy the requirement. When I talked to my advisor, she said that it would be best if I did another travel course, and then they would release my credits so I could graduate. Naturally, I was more than happy to oblige! I had the opportunity to take another course overseas, and I had the budget for it, why argue? I settled on Professor Erb’s Germany trip because I felt like it would be a great final note to end my undergraduate career on. I really did not know much about post-war Germany, other than what I learned in some of my general European/ EU policy courses. Being a history student, I had learned more about Germany (pre and post war) in an American or Global context, how German policy affected the global economy, American policy, etc. I was excited to learn about Germany for Germany’s sake.
I have always loved to travel. To me one of the best ways to learn is to get out of the classroom and seek out new experiences, and travel courses are a great way to do that. It’s also important to me as an Anthropology major to learn about different cultures firsthand. I was told about Andean Explorations by students who took it in the past, who had nothing but good things to say about the course and the professors who led it. Its focus on anthropology, archaeology, and rugged travel really appealed to me, so it was a no-brainer! Going to Peru let me continue my studies of Latin and South American culture, practice a new language with native speakers, and study the Inca Empire. Before I signed up I was already interested in learning about rural Andean communities, and this was the perfect opportunity to do that. The best parts of the trip were all the moments I spent just talking to people. I loved getting to know the students and faculty I was travelling with, making conversation with the drivers and guides who were taking us around the country, even saying good morning to people you pass by. Being able to overcome language and culture barriers with someone and just laugh with them is one of the best feelings in the world. I came home much more certain about what I want to study. I started out in the Undecided program when I arrived at Farmington, but after talking to students and faculty and taking this course, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in anthropology.
My family frequently travelled when I was younger so I definitely grew up with the travel bug. Due to the Anthropology degree I am working towards, studying abroad was very important to me both personally as well as academically. I chose Costa Rica because I have a Spanish minor so being in Latin America was amazing! It allowed me to complete a language intensive semester that got 12 of my minor credits and an overall more immersive language experience. I also chose Costa Rica because I heard that it was one of the world’s happiest countries, and I wanted to know and experience why. One thing that was different about my travel abroad experience was that I stayed in a homestay instead of staying in a dorm. This definitely gave me more of an insight to what the culture of Costa Rica was like, not to mention the huge difference in food! The home cooked meals my Mama Tica made were one of the semester highlights for me. The food, as a whole, was very different and physically transformative, as well. I ate a lot of fruit, ate meat from local cows, and ate lots of rice and beans. I found myself craving less sugar because I was getting it from all the fruit I was eating; and due to all of the meat cows, there were much less dairy cows so any sort of cheese was very expensive and not commonly consumed. It made my entire body/mind feel better within the first month of the dietary changes. Handling all of the ups and downs of a semester, as well as those of travelling, on my own throughout the trip was, though sometimes challenging, very empowering. Now, I feel that I can handle anything, and I’m more confident in my ability to adapt to any situation; and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!
I spent the spring semester of 2018 studying abroad in England. While studying at the University of Winchester in Hampshire, England, I got to further my degree in Rehabilitation Services. This school was perfect for me because I had some family close by and the campus itself and the campus atmosphere was very similar to UMF's. The campus was in a central location that was perfect for travelling around England. While there I took some gen ed courses as well as some courses in Autism and Dementia. I wanted to see how people in England viewed others with disabilities compared to how we view people with disabilities in America. I’ve always wanted to live abroad so I felt that spending a semester abroad would be a good way to test it out. Because of this experience I’ve decided that living abroad is the best choice for me because it feels more like home.
I spent Spring 2016 adventuring through New Zealand's South Island. While furthering my degree in Outdoor Recreation Business Administration and International and Global Studies at the University of Otago, I was able to experience the "Adventure Capital of the World" in all its glory. She completed coursework in marketing, adventure education, tourism, and Pacific Island studies during the week and took off on the weekends with a commitment to see and hike as much of New Zealand as possible. One of my top moments has to be walking across the swing bridge to finish the 60km (37mi) Kepler Track. My legs hated me for two weeks post-tramp and I'm still not sure if I have recovered from the calorie deficit, but I am struggling to think of a time where I have ever been more satisfied and genuinely happy with myself for what I accomplished. I never imagined my new friends and adventurous spirit would push me to such heights, let alone such beautiful ones. Gazing at the breathtaking ridges and fiords on the second day of the tramp, I could only continue to think "This. This is why I came to New Zealand."
I completed my abroad experience in the fall of 2015 in South Korea. I was a teacher Intern at the Daegu International School and fell in love with the idea of being an international teacher. So far I have been to the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and France with plans for Ireland, Denmark, Portugal and Morocco in the coming year.
The friendships I have made throughout the past few years are some of the most memorable I have had. Experiences like watching Jimmy Fallon in the streets of Korea, learning to navigate the London Tube, and attempting to order Pad Thai in Swedish seem to bond me with colleagues like a brotherhood. I currently teach 6th grade students at the Internationella Engelska Skolan, in Eskilstuna, Sweden. I owe this job opportunity completely to my experience in the study abroad program at UMF. Without the help from the advisors, professors, and international liaisons at UMF this experience would have only been just a dream rather than a reality.
My name is Emma Pidden. I studied in Havana Cuba for two months summer 2016. I am a creative writing major with a double minor in Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. I had been interested in Cuba for a while and I chose to visit due to the amazing art culture and creativity. It was an amazing experience that pushed me in many ways.
I was in a homestay and had to speak "Cubano" Spanish at home and in class. It is truly incredible how much my Spanish skills improved in two short months. Cuba in fun, multi layered, very complicated, but also beautiful in every way. I was able to learn so much about myself and grow in so many ways that I have brought back to UMF and have made Fall 2016 my best semester at UMF.
The French have a saying that that goes “les voyages forment la jeunesse” which means travel shapes youth. After my year studying abroad in Le Mans, France I couldn’t agree with anything more! I studied abroad as an international & global studies student during the 2015-2016 school year. Along with improving my French, this experience helped me grow in more ways than I can count. Coming from a small town in Maine, it was an adjustment to think of living in a city let alone one in which I had to live my life in a different language.
My time in France, however, pushed me to be independent and from that I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to cope with many situations that were new to me. To study abroad is to be willing to leave behind everything familiar and embrace a new culture and place for all that it is. This wasn’t always an easy concept but having overcome the challenges that I encountered is one of the things I am most proud of from my time abroad and I think many other study abroad students would agree with this feeling.
My name is Hannah Somes. I studied abroad at the Université de Montréal in Montréal, Canada in the spring semester of 2016. I studied there through the National Student Exchange program.
I have a minor in French and the experience of being abroad allowed me to use the language on a daily basis. I was very grateful for the experience to be immersed in French. I met friends from around the world; France, Australia, Mexico and the U,K. for example.I have kept in touch with them since, and plan on our friendships lasting for a very long time. I sang in the choir at the university which was a wonderful experience for me because I love to sing and was a part of my high school's choir. I really enjoyed being able to experience living in a new place, and my experience in Canada has inspired me to continue to travel in the future! I plan to visit the friends I made there in their home countries.