Five to follow: Travel the world via Instagram with these students
Travel the world via Instagram as these five students study abroad during the spring semester.
Five to follow: Travel the world via Instagram with these students [View Image]
Friday, Jan. 16, 2015
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” This quote, attributed to St. Augustine, rings true for many of the roughly 550 students at Virginia Commonwealth University who study abroad each year. Whether they go to Italy, Guatemala or China, almost every one of them reports having an unforgettable, eye-opening experience where learning about other cultures, their chosen academic subjects and themselves is all rolled into one.
At VCU, study abroad comes in all shapes and sizes. Coordinating through the Education Abroad office, students can study in another country for a week, a month, a semester or even a full year, and VCU’s partnerships with other universities and membership in the International Student Exchange Program network mean students can choose from a huge variety of programs in more than 150 countries around the world.
The opportunities are impressive. But as we all know, sometimes pictures speak louder than words. That’s why we’ve selected five VCU students to follow on Instagram as they study abroad this semester in Jerusalem, England, Seoul, Morocco and rural South Korea. To see more examples of real study abroad experiences, visit the “Postcards from Afar” section of VCU’s Education Abroad website.
1. Anna Jane Glascock, @annajanee [View Image]
Major: Dance and choreography, School of the Arts
Study abroad location: Jerusalem, Israel
Host university: Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Instagram handle: @annajanee
Why I chose this location: Because of the vast difference in culture, and because of the ability to study the repertory of world-renowned dance companies such as Batsheva and Vertigo while also being exposed to the innovative research method of the movement language, Gaga, which developed here in Israel.
Biggest lesson to take back to my studies at VCU: Your work and knowledge are a product of your own effort. Your professors and assignments are solely there to provide you with direction to supplement your education. In all reality you have to realize you aren’t doing assignments for your professor, you are doing them for yourself, so put into it what you wish to get out of it. You pave the way for your own future.
Biggest moment of culture shock: Taking the bus to Tel Aviv casually surrounded by 10-plus IDF soldiers holding machine guns.
What I miss most about home: Real coffee: Nescafé life is the definition of a struggle.
Last time I called home: Yesterday.
See more on Instagram.
2. Jennifer Membreno, @Jenxx94 [View Image]
Majors: Political science, College of Humanities and Sciences, and homeland security, Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Study Abroad Location: Seoul, South Korea
Host University: Yonsei University
Instagram handle: @Jenxx94
Favorite thing about studying abroad so far: As nerdy as this sounds, my favorite part is the diversity in my classes. Political science is all about open discussion and open-minded conversations. So when our class breaks out in discussion it’s really interesting to not only be able to listen to the perspectives of American students from different states and schools, but you also get to listen to opinions and points of view of international students from many other countries too!
Biggest moment of culture shock: My biggest moment of culture shock occurred when I first arrived in the country and attempted to order food at a busy restaurant in the city. The menu was in Hangul (Korean alphabet), and it ended up taking me over 50 minutes to order food because I had to play a mini game of charades with the server as he tried to explain what the dishes consisted of.
Favorite food in host country: Dalkgalbi, a Korean stir-fried diced chicken in a gochujung (chili pepper paste) sauce mixed with many different greens and veggies on a hot plate. SO GOOD.
What I miss most about home: My dog Toby. There are a ton of dog cafes in Seoul where you can have a cup of coffee, do your homework and pet a cute puppy all at once! It made me miss my own puppy at home like crazy because they were all so adorable.
See more on Instagram.
3. Garrick Danko, @garrickdanko [View Image]
Major: Biology, College of Humanities and Sciences
Study abroad location: Bristol, England
Host university: University of the West of England
Instagram handle: @garrickdanko
Why I chose this location: I chose to come to England because I had never been to the U.K. before; also VCU has a good relationship with UWE and I was able to stay in contact with the school throughout the process.
Biggest lesson to take back to my studies at VCU: Something I have picked up on here is no one takes their computers to class. Everyone handwrites their notes here. Computers are still welcome in classrooms, but most students don’t take them so they don’t have the option of being distracted in class in the first place, and that’s an attitude I will bring back to the states.
Biggest moment of culture shock: How differently degrees and class schedules are made here. You don’t have free range to pick whatever classes you want. You choose your degree and from there they tell you what classes you will be in and at what times. But all of your professors know each other and know what work you get and when it’s due, so all of your classes and professors work together so you will never be overloaded with work.
Last time I called home: I talk to most of my family at least once a week if not more.
See more on Instagram.
4. Lama Elsharif, @Lama2.0 [View Image]
Major: Political science, College of Humanities and Sciences
Study abroad location: Rabat, Morocco
Host University: Mohammed V
Instagram handle: @Lama2.0
Favorite thing about studying abroad so far: My favorite thing about study abroad so far is being able to travel so cheaply. It’s really easy and cheap to travel throughout Morocco, and it’s really easy to get to Europe. I’ve found a roundtrip ticket from Rabat to London for under $80! But besides traveling, my host family is probably the best part of this whole experience.
Biggest lesson to take back to my studies at VCU: I think the biggest lesson to take back to my studies is to ask more questions about what I’m learning and to ask for help when I don’t understand something. I get shy sometimes to ask questions during lecture or to ask for help after class when I don’t understand something; but I’ve learned that asking questions and asking for help has really helped me to fully understand what I’m studying.
Favorite food in host country: Chicken Tagine and Baghrir, and the tea; it’s too hard to pick one! What I miss most about home: I’m a big family person, so what I miss the most about home is my family and friends, and also just the comfort of being able to do what I want. And I can’t forget about Chipotle!
See more on Instagram.
5. Kyle Clyde, @kyleclyde [View Image]
Major: Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
Study abroad location: Gwangju, South Korea
Host university: n/a; working abroad via the Teach and Learn in Korea Program
Instagram handle: @kyleclyde
Why I chose this location: I enrolled in the TaLK Program at the end of the fall 2014 semester. Though I wasn't able to choose the city in which I will be teaching English (Gwangju), I chose South Korea for a few reasons: 1) I really want to learn the Korea language (I think it sounds awesome); 2) I LOVE LOVE LOVE Korean food; and 3) Korea is an amazing country in itself, and I would love to learn more about it.
What I look forward to most during my study abroad: It sounds a little odd, but I really look forward to being thrown into an environment which is completely foreign to me. Ultimately, I will be pushed to improve my Korean language skills and learn the social culture firsthand.
What I will miss most about home: Hamburgers ... and of course my family and friends.
Anything else you want to tell us about your study abroad experience?: A little more about the TaLK Program: It is a scholarship program offered by the South Korean Ministry of Education for native English speakers in at least their third year of college. It sends these English speakers to elementary schools in rural areas of South Korea to help the students receive a better and more efficient English language learning experience.
*Note that Kyle leaves for South Korea in early February.
See more on Instagram.
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