Rachel: Fall in Saint Petersburg

Rachel Neale is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Fall 2016 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  To learn more about her program, click here: CIEE – St. Petersburg.

Neale, Rachel

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    I am a fourth year psychology and international studies double major, with a minor in Russian.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    Yes, once before to Israel in the past week or so. I went to visit a close friend and explore the “Promise land”.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    No, I have not.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I am studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. I chose to study there in order to experience the culture and meet the people I’ve dedicated my education to.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    I’m most looking forward to getting first-hand perspectives on topics in my studies, such as the Soviet lifestyle, Putin’s regime, and what it’s like living in a country that’s been through so much transition. I’m also very excited for the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theaters, which are the venues for Russian ballet!
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    I’m very interested in art, theater, and ethnography and my hobbies are yoga, photography, and cycling!

Besan: Fall in Manchester

Besan Abdel-Khaleq is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Fall 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  To learn more about her program, click here: Advanced Pharmacy Practical Experience – Manchester.

Abdel-Khaleq, Besan

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    I am a fourth year Pharmacy student.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    I have traveled abroad many times. I have traveled to many countries in the Middle East (Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, and Bahrain), Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, Portugal, and Ireland) and have also visited Canada and Australia. They were mainly for vacations or visiting family.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    I took part in the College of Pharmacy’s Short Study Abroad program, PharMItalia in the summer of 2015 for 3 weeks, which included touring many cities in Malta and Italy. We visited a number a pharmacy schools, pharmacies, as well as hospitals and had the chance to compare and contrast the career of pharmacy abroad versus in the US.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I will be studying abroad in Manchester, England for the month of October and will be at the University of Manchester. I have never been to England and it would be nice to learn about the career in this country.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    I am looking forward to all the opportunities the University of Manchester is allowing us to take part in. It seems like they have a busy schedule for us all planned out, including visiting some rural pharmacies and national meetings.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    My interests include traveling and really immersing myself into the cultures of the many countries. I also enjoy just spending time with family and friends.

Chris: Fall in Madrid

Christopher Shirley is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Fall 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  To learn more about his program, click here: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Engineering).

Shirley, Chris

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    Chemical Engineering Major. Will be gaining credits towards a minor in bio molecular engineering on this trip.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    I’m from southeastern Michigan so I’ve been to Canada a few times, primarily Windsor. It’s a fun city.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    No I have not.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    Universidad Carlos III Madrid. I was looking into to fall classes and with the way the ChemE curriculum is set up it looked like I was going to be taking just technical electives. Someone in my study group suggested going abroad and it just made so much sense.Out of the all the engineering exchange programs UC3M was one of the few that was both cost effective and offered a September to December semester. The more I researched about Spain and about the program the more I liked it. Study abroad had always seemed like something I couldn’t do with my major but once I found out it was possible I jumped at the chance to do it.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    New experiences. I think being exposed to different cultures and venturing outside your comfort zone is just a good thing to do. Also I’m going with three of my friends (s/o Esteban, Sarah, and Taylor) and am looking forward to sharing this experience with them.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    Sports, vba programming with excel, sports again.

Briana: Fall in Florence

Briana Lirio is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Fall 2016 in Florence, Italy.  To learn more about her program, click here: FSU – Florence.

Lirio, Briana

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    My name is Briana Lirio and I am a public relations major at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. My minor is in business, which I am planning to continue pursuing in graduate school.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    I actually have never left the country, which makes this experience a lot more exciting for me. I’ve only ridden on a plane once before, and that was at the age of nine and to New York, so I do not remember much about it.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    I have never studied abroad before, so the next three and a half months in Italy will be the first time I experience any type of cultural immersion.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy under the UF approved program “FSU in Florence.” I chose Italy because I wanted to go somewhere I have never been to before where it would be easy for me to become culturally immersed. I believe that because I am fluent in Spanish it will be easy for me to learn Italian, and that language is the foundation of most cultures.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    I am looking forward to exploring the different cities within Italy. I would love to personally experience seeing the artwork I have read so much about growing up.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    I love to read, my favorite book of all time is “Crime and Punishment.” Fyodor Dostoevsky does an excellent job of making the reader sympathize with a protagonist that can best be described as an anti-hero, someone who society would deem as unfit to live among us. However, most of my free time is spent doing the typical college student “stuff.” I love to go out with friends, and spend time with my family. I consider myself a food connoisseur (I once ate a burger that weighed 3 pounds, all on my own. I was so proud of myself I wanted to put it under the skills portion of my resume). I can binge watch Netflix for hours, and will only schedule my bathroom breaks between episodes in order to reach maximum watching efficiency. I love to try new things, even if I regret it immediately after. For my 19th birthday I went skydiving. It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life, but I got some great photos for my Instagram so it was worth it. Fun fact, I am really good at knitting, I’ve gotten awards at the county fair for some of my work. I started knitting in high school because it seemed like an interesting skill to have, and I thought it would impress guys (I was wrong). It has been my dream ever since I was young to visit Italy, and I’m very excited that it will soon become a reality.

Jacqueline: Fall in Poitiers

Jacqueline Chavez is a University of Florida student studying abroad for the Academic Year 2016-17 in Poitiers, France.  To learn more about her program, click here: L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques – Poitiers campus.

Chavez, Jacqueline

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    I am a third year-dual major in International Studies(with a concentration in Latin America) and Political science, with a minor in French.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    Yes, I have gone to Mexico around 10 times with my parents during the summer because all of our family lives in Mexico, and my parents wanted to make sure that my younger brother, and I could appreciate our culture and roots. I traveled to Mexico for spring break 2016 with a few friends from UF.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    I traveled to Paris for spring break 2015 for African Americans in Paris- a UF sponsored alternative break trip. It was a short study abroad experience, but it was enough to make me come back!
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    For fall 2016 I am studying at the University Sciences Po- Poitiers, France. I chose the  Poitiers campus because it is focused on Latin American studies.I believe Sciences Po chose me. Sciences Po is ranked fifth in the world for undergraduate studies in political sciences and international studies. Although there are students here from all over the world, I am the only Mexican, only one of 2 Americans, and only one of 5 exchange students. After applications and interviews, I am finally here to indulge in a rich academia. I also chose the small town of Poitiers, so that I could really indulge in French culture and language. For spring 2015 I will be studying with Semester at Sea. For an entire semester I will live and study on a cruise ship while visiting 11 countries on the cost of Asia and Africa. Since I am studying in Europe this fall, I wanted a trip that would show me another part of the world. I want to see all that I have learned in history books come alive, I want to indulge in different cultures, and I want to discover how people who identify differently are more similar than they think. I hope this discovery will help me better prepare to pursue opportunities in international studies and international efforts towards peace.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    As I start welcome week at Sciences Po, my goals have shifted a little. I am really looking forward to seeing beyond myself. I want to be comfortable with being uncomfortable by pushing myself to indulge in a culture that is different. I am looking forward to not only traveling and seeing new things, but to also pushing the limits my mind creates. I am excited to better my French, and start my fourth language, Portuguese. I want to see how a first-generation Latino on a full scholarship like myself is similar to other students with different identities and how our minds can come together to create a better tomorrow.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    Of course one of my greatest interests is traveling! I also love to cook, although I am not the best! Dancing is my escape from all worries, just as is my violin. I els love to spend time with my family and friends, and I love to scrapbook my life adventures to have for years to come as keepsakes.

Irina: Fall in Bonn

Irina Bigoulaeva is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Fall 2016 in Bonn, Germany.  To learn more about her program, click here: Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn.

Bigoulaeva, Irina

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    My majors are Philosophy and Linguistics and my minor is Math.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    During tenth grade, I traveled to London for six days in a small group with my English teacher. The purpose was to visit and learn about some Shakespeare-related locations, since we were reading his plays at the time. I’ve also traveled to Russia a few times to visit relatives.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    Apart from London, I’ve never studied abroad before.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I’m studying abroad in Bonn, Germany. I’ve been learning the language for four years now and want to become fluent. Also, I’ve always wanted to study abroad, so this program will give me the chance to do both.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    Language immersion and experiencing daily life in Germany.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    Writing, music, walking, and studying languages.

Lauren: Fall in Seville

Lauren Barnard is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Fall 2016 in Seville, Spain.  To learn more about her program, click here: ISA – Seville (Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo Education in a Multicultural Context).

Barnard, Lauren

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    I am a Senior in the Unified Elementary ProTeach Program within the College of Education.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    As a military child, I am fortunate enough to have moved and traveled around quite a bit. I lived in Attleborough, England during primary school and was able to see much of Europe with my family during those years. I have also traveled to Guatemala on a Florida Alternative Breaks trip to study education inequality, and most recently went on a week-long road trip of Canada’s maritime provinces!
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    Nope, never.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I chose to spend my fall semester in Sevilla, Spain! I landed on Sevilla after considering the city’s overall beauty and rich culture, as well as my program’s internship component within local schools. It also didn’t hurt that there’s a Starbucks (kidding, mostly).
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    Siestas, tapas, flamenco dancing, and my photography course. I would also love to watch a few fútbol games and, who knows, maybe even a bullfight.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    I love to run, so I can’t wait to explore Sevilla’s cobblestone streets in my Nike’s. I also love SEC football, cooking for my family, and drinking coffee at all hours of the day.

Jessica: Summer in Rio de Janeiro

Jessica Valdes is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Summer B 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.  To learn more about her program, click here: UF in Rio – Language and Culture.

VALDES, JESSICA

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    I am a rising junior studying Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Portuguese.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    I have had the experience of living in different countries. I was born and raised in the island of Cuba, and later I lived in Santiago, Chile with my family for three years. I have also visited Mexico and Panama.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    I have never studied abroad before.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I am studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I chose to study in Brazil because I believe Brazil is indeed the country of the future. Brazil´s economic power and vibrant culture has always captured my attention. I am invested in fully understanding the Brazilian culture and becoming fluent in Portuguese. As a future international law attorney, I will represent clients from all over Latin America and the Caribbean, especially from Brazil. Understanding the Brazilian culture and language will allow me to serve my clients better.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    I am looking forward to immersing myself in the Brazilian culture by enjoying the food, folklore and history of the country and its people. Of course, I am looking forward to seeing your typical tourist sites such as Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema Beach and living in the famous neighborhood of Copacabana. I also want to work hard in my classes so that I can better communicate and write in Portuguese.  Overall, I want to experience what it is like to live in the “cidade maravilhosa” or marvelous city of Rio de Janeiro.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    I am interested in International Relations, politics, the arts, traveling and foreign languages. As for my hobbies, I enjoy a trip to the beach or swimming in the pool, dancing, music and reading books and articles.

Lauren: Summer in London

Lauren Wittine is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Summer C 2016 in London, England.  To learn more about her program, click here: USAC – London.

WITTINE, LAUREN

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    I’m a sophomore double majoring in Music (Organ Performance—yes, that’s a real thing) and English.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    My grandmother loves to travel and I’ve been lucky enough to go on several trips with her including to Europe and the Bahamas.  This will be my first study abroad experience, though.
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    London.  This was one of the places I visited on my previous Europe trip.  We only spent 5 days there and I knew after the first few hours that I had to go back.  Their history has always fascinated me, not to mention their music, culture (yay English TV) and their fish and chips.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    One of my classes is theater-based so I’ll be seeing plays every week.  It will be great to take in the culture and get to discuss it with other students who are equally excited.  I’m also hoping to venture out of the city and see what else the country has to offer.
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    Much of my life is centered on music (choir rehearsals, organ practice, etc) and I love it.  I’m also a big Disney nerd, cat lover, and a total food snob.

Thanks for coming on this adventure with me!

Teal: Summer in Barcelona

Teal Garth is a University of Florida student studying abroad for Summer B 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  To learn more about her program, click here: ISA – Barcelona (Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona International Studies, Business, & Culture).

GARTH, TEAL

  • What is your year and academic concentration?
    Year: rising junior, Major: journalism, Outside concentration/minor: undecided.
  • Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
    As a graduation present for me/50th birthday present for my mom, my family traveled to Europe for three weeks a couple years ago. We went to the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany.
  • Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
    Nope, first time!
  • Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
    I am studying in Barcelona for several reasons. First, because I have never been to Spain so I wanted the chance to experience a new culture and explore new places. Secondly, I have met quite a few people that have studied abroad in or visited Barcelona and everyone goes on and on about how much they loved it. Lastly, I love that it’s a big city with a lot to offer, which is really exciting, and it’s on the coast and the beach, whatever continent it may be on, is my favorite place in the world to be.
  • What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
    I’m literally looking forward to everything about it so this is kind of hard. If I had to narrow it down I would have to say definitely being in Europe again because I had so much fun last time, meeting new people and experiencing new places, and emerging myself in the culture (AKA eating tons of food).
  • What are some of your interests and hobbies?
    My hobbies mostly consist of online shopping, binge watching Netflix, and spending an obscene amount of money on pizza that my body really doesn’t need. Sometimes I do real things like write for the Odyssey or this blog or, worst case scenario, my classes. On a more serious note, learning about other cultures is something I’ve realized I’m actually very interested in (I’m not just in this to make my friends jealous with all my stories when I come back for fall semester). I’m in the process of pursuing a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication and I’m thinking about doing my outside concentration in Spanish, so maybe this trip will help lock down some of those decisions for me!