Fall 2012

Jen Aceto
ISA Sevilla, Spain – Fall 1 2012
University of California, Los Angeles

Hola amigos! I’m Jen Aceto and I’m a junior at UCLA, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m majoring in Communications Studies and minoring in Spanish. I love food and cooking (but mostly eating), hiking and being outdoors, yoga, and reading and writing. At UCLA I’m active in my sorority (Chi Omega) and I’m also a campus tour guide. I fell in love with Spanish when I took my first class in seventh grade, and have continued to love learning about the culture, food, and people of Spanish-speaking countries. I always hoped to study abroad and ultimately chose Sevilla because I watched one too many Rick Steves about the south of Spain (ha) and fell in love with the sunshine, siestas, tapas, sangria, flamenco… I’ll be taking classes for my minor at the University of Sevilla and hope to come home fluent in Spanish—and finally able to roll my “r”s! I want to become fully immersed in this new culture and get outside my comfort zone to learn as much as I can about the history and people of Spain. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with other prospective study abroad students!

Amanda Arroyo
ISA/ELAP San Jose, Costa Rica – Fall 1 2012
Classmates Connecting Cultures
California Lutheran University

Hi my name is Amanda Arroyo. I was born in Northridge, CA. I currently attend California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. I spend most of my time studying Sociology as my major and miscellaneous subjects to prepare me for nursing school after I graduate. G.K. Chesterton said “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” With a heart determined to immerse myself in different cultures and a mind for finding the value in the little things, Costa Rica seems to fit my personality just right. I want the opportunity to immerse myself in their culture, make a new life for myself in their country, learn their language, volunteer my time to help them and find the beauty in the everyday routine. Not only will I be studying in Costa Rica but I will be a part of the volunteer program ELAP while in Costa Rica and will be working in a children’s hospital. I chose this because I earnestly want to prepare myself for a future in the medical field and for medical related mission work abroad. I hope to give an honest experience to inspire other college students to immerse themselves in other cultures despite their fears and to experience all the natural beauty the world has to offer.

Cristina Benavides
ISA Meknes, Morocco – Fall 1 2012
University of North Carolina-Wilmington

I am a senior at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. My major is Political Science, and I am minoring in French and Philosophy. I chose to study abroad in Morocco because I wanted to practice my French but I also wanted to experience cultural immersion. Morocco’s diverse culture, rich history, and breathtaking sights were an instant attraction to me. I also wanted to challenge myself to learn another language, so I will be taking Arabic classes this semester. I hope that, by the time I return to the United States, I will have improved my conversational French and also will have learned a decent amount of Arabic. However, in addition to my language goals, I would like to make some local Arabic friends and participate in Moroccan culture. Above all, I would like to open my mind through new experiences and make memories which will last a lifetime.

Allison Body
ISA Prague, Czech Republic – Fall 1 2012
Classmates Connecting Cultures
Rockhurst University

I am a senior from Rockhurst University in Kansas City and a St. Louis native studying abroad in Prague. With majors in English and theology and a minor in art history, I am so excited to be heading across the pond to the source of so much history and culture. Prague especially appealed to me because of its beautiful, old-world architecture. I plan to spend my semester visiting as many cities and museums as possible and becoming a natural at sipping coffee and reading books in cafes.

Julie Bourne
ISA Rome, Italy – Fall 1 2012
University of Denver

Ciao! My name is Julie Bourne and I am a junior attending the University of Denver, though I was born and raised in the Seattle area. I am majoring in Communications Studies and minoring in Tourism Studies, with the hopes of working in social media marketing or travel-related journalism in the future. When I am not studying or working, I can be found blogging in a cozy coffee shop, baking gluten free cookies, or jogging around the park in the wee hours of the morning. Since the moment I started learning the Italian language during my first year of college, I knew that I wanted to put those words to use by studying abroad in Rome. As I learned more and more about the language and culture of Italy, I became increasingly interested in getting my own first hand experience with the country’s people, history, and food. I look forward to sharing the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of Roma with readers!

Emily Bowman
ISA Bilbao, Spain – Fall 2 2012
Classmates Connecting Cultures
University of Denver

¡Hola! My name is Emily Bowman, and I am a junior at the University of Denver majoring in International Studies and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. I will be studying abroad at la Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. That’s Basque Country, or Euskadi, as the locals say. I am looking forward to experiencing anything but typical Spain, as I try to get under the skin of Basque culture and understand what makes this corner of the world unique.


Mavis Britwum

ISA/ELAP San Jose, Costa Rica – Fall 1 2012
The College of New Jersey

Hey folks! My name is Mavis Britwum and I will be a senior this year at The College of New Jersey. I am an English major on the Pre-Med route. I chose Costa Rica because of the beauty of the country, to finally be fluent in Spanish, and the opportunity to be in the medical Spanish program at the University of Veritas. In addition to the program, I will be volunteering at a children’s hospital. Outside the literature books and laboratories, I thrill in exploration and adventure. I’ve made it a special hobby to find the best free local events wherever I am because I feel it is one of the surest ways to understand different neighborhoods, people and practices and make new friends while having a fun, “free” time. I am a writer and music junkie currently writing for an online Hip-Hop magazine called Brooklyn Bodega. I’ll be writing this fall from aspects ranging in music, medicine, and culture. Hope you enjoy my blog!
Dylan Chase
ISA Barcelona, Spain
– Fall 1 2012
University of California – Santa Barbara

My name is Dylan Chase, a third-year Communication major at the University of California Santa Barbara. Originally from San Diego, my immersion in Hispanic culture as a child gave me a certain taste for diversity that I haven’t been able to surpass in travels through my beautiful home state; hoping to shock myself out of any sort of routine or cultural comfort zone, I have decided to delve into Spanish culture head-on. I’ll be living with the Roige Rouir family in Barcelona whilst studying at Pompeu Fabra, and I can only hope that I’ll gain a greater understanding of myself within the greater context of a foreign culture. I’m looking to get lost in a beautiful city, because often that proves to be the best way to find yourself. Spain is going through a momentous period in 2012, and I hope I can be here to hold vigil on a singular moment in social progress. Hasta!

Rachel Daley
ISA Madrid, Spain – Fall 1 2012
Soka University of America

Hey everyone! The name’s Rachel Daley, but you can call me Rach. I would be starting the first semester of my junior year at Soka University of America right about now, but my toes won’t feel the warm sand of the sunny California beaches until I get back from Madrid! Studying in the heart of Spain’s huge capital city is going to be a big change for this Orange County girl, but I chose Madrid for just that reason. Sometimes a change of scenery is the perfect thing to open our eyes. And that’s what I intend to do through my blog. I’m majoring in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Humanities, but my passion for photography will allow me to show you all the beauty and reality of the culture and people in Spain. So get ready for lots of pictures and videos, my camera is always with me! !Hasta entonces, saludos desde Madrid!

Mary Diduch
ISA Granada, Spain – Fall 2A 2012
Lawrence University

My name is Mary Diduch, and I am from Park Ridge, Illinois, which is about 15 miles away from the heart of Chicago. I am a junior at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. I am an English major and Spanish minor working toward teacher certification. My goal is to be certified for high school English and English as a second language. For fun, I love to read, play softball, go to the beach, and snowboard. I love outdoor activities! I am not afraid to try new things, and in fact, I thrive on the adrenaline rush of doing something unknown to me. I chose my program location of Spain because I want to really work on my Spanish language skills, and I was especially drawn to Europe as a whole. I specifically chose Granada for its culturally rich location in Andalusia. In addition, not only is it close to the Mediterranean coast, but the Sierra Nevada mountains, as well!

Sierra Funk

ISA Buenos Aires, Argentina – Fall 3 2012
Old Dominion University

Che! I’m Sierra Funk, a 20 year old junior at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, although I was born and raised just outside of Washington DC. I’m a History major, with a specialization in Latin American history, and a Latin American Studies minor, and I’m currently studying abroad in South America’s Paris, Buenos Aires. BsAs was an easy choice for me, as my love for Argentinian history is only eclipsed by my love for shopping and empanadas. (Although that last one is starting to become love-hate.) I hope to get a few things out of studying abroad–A), improve my vocabulary so I don’t sound like a third grader when I try to communicate, B) immerse myself in a new culture and learn to love the REALLY big city, and C) see the world! My blog (http://dontcryformeasado.tumblr.com, in case you want more of my adventures!) will be about my travels, my failures and my successes, and of course, food.

Brandi Gallaher
ISA San Jose, Costa Rica
– Fall 4 2012
Oklahoma State University

My name is Brandi Gallaher. I’m a pre-med student at Oklahoma State University. My major is physiology, but I am also minoring in Spanish which led me to study abroad in San José, Costa Rica. I chose to study abroad in Costa Rica because they offered a Medical Spanish and Costa Rican Healthcare program so I will be able to gain experience in a healthcare system outside of the United States while also improving my Spanish-speaking skills. When I’m not studying for school, I enjoy running (I’m kind of a fitness freak), reading, hanging out with friends, and playing with my two dogs, Kodi and Chace. I also LOVE being outside, whether it be going to the beach or just walking to class, so I’m very excited about exploring the gorgeous landscapes, rainforests, and beaches of Costa Rica. I’m also pretty pumped about trying all the AMAZING coffee in Costa Rica. I can’t wait to capture this unforgettable journey and share it with everyone!

Deanna Gorman
ISA London, England – Fall 4 2012
Luther College

Hello all, I’m Deanna Gorman. I am from a small town in Wisconsin and will be a junior at Luther College in an even smaller town in Iowa. There I am a Business and Music double major. Living in small towns my whole life has definitely had an impact on where I want to go in the future, starting with my study abroad experience. When I began college I didn’t have a strong desire to study abroad, but finally decided that it was an experience I couldn’t pass up. Once I decide to study abroad, there was absolutely NO question where. London, England! I have always idealized London for their diverse culture, high fashion, and above all… their accents! I absolutely cannot wait to arrive in England and be immersed in their culture. I will arrive in September so check back then as I share the many adventures I will experience as I go from an American to a Londoner in 4 short months!

Tegan Hanlon
ISA Barcelona, Spain – Fall 1 2012
University of Pittsburgh

Hi! I’m Tegan: a Pennsylvania native, incessant gum chewer, English writing and business major and University of Pittsburgh senior. Studying abroad in Barcelona marks the first time I will disembark from the U.S. I like a lot of things, including (but not limited to) running, a wide range of music, round-the-clock coffee and writing, scribbling, etc. Hopefully this blog will help you figure out how to fit a winter jacket, among other items, into one suitcase, relearn a foreign language, find cheap flights for lots of globe trottin’ and most importantly the ins, outs and arounds of Spanish culture. This promises to be fun, and quite the adventure.

Mollie Herlocker
ISA Salamanca, Spain – Fall 1 2012
California Lutheran University

Born and raised in Northern California, I am an upcoming junior at California Lutheran University (in Southern California) and a former intern of the Museum Services Division of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. I am a history major with a Spanish minor. My focus with my history major the twentieth century. Through my Spanish minor and this semester in Salamanca, I’m hoping to become fluent in Spanish so that I can have more opportunities in teaching or museum work. In addition to gaining Spanish fluency while in Salamanca, I’m hoping to gain a broader appreciation for the world by traveling and expanding my gastronomical knowledge of Spanish culture. I have been to Spain before on a ten-day whirlwind tour of the country’s highlights. One of my hobbies is cooking and I’m hoping to not only experience Spanish cuisine more thoroughly but also learn how to bring Spanish specialties home with me.

Keron Hopkins
ISA Florianopolis, Brazil – Year 2012
University of Missouri, Kansas City

Keron was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. She lived in New Jersey for seven years and Washington, DC for eight years. Currently, Keron is a graduate student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and majoring in economics. Her future goal is to obtain a PhD in economics with an emphasis on development economics. Keron will spend one year in Brazil studying Portuguese and international economics with an emphasis on Brazilian economics.

Beth Johnson
ISA Barcelona, Spain
– Fall 3 2012
Iowa State University

Hola! Me llamo Beth. I am from Des Moines Iowa. I am a Junior at Iowa State University. I am majoring in Graphic Design and my minor is in Hispanic Studies. I don’t actually have a lot of free time being a student (believe it or not ;] ) so whenever I get the chance to sneak away I get out and meet new people. I am an artist so of course I like to check out the local scene. I try to be involved in as many events as I can…..network network network! I also love being outdoors and riding my bike. I’m sort of a tree huger…except I’ve never hugged a tree in my life. My favorite thing to do hands down is learn! I love watching documentary…..TED talks everyday! I chose Barcelona because numero uno I want to improve my spanish. Numero dos I know I will find intense inspiration from the culture and architecture in the city. I have always had a passion for spanish soooooo what better of a place to learn it then Spain!

Andres Lara
ISA Paris, France – Fall 1 2012
Montclair State University

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a man of humble character and an insatiable taste for language and culture. Call me Andrés, that’s my name, and I’m rather fond of it. I like to add the accent (not just because that’s how it’s written) but I think it gives it character; also I’m hoping it will give you a hint as to the pronunciation. I’m a super senior at Montclair State University (New Jersey) and I’m double majoring in Linguistics and French with a concentration in Teaching and Translation/Interpretation. What’s a super senior you ask? That just means I’m an overachiever and don’t get to graduate in four years. I’m perfectly fine going the extra mile though; as long as it means I get to do everything I set out to do from the beginning. Being the neurotic grammar enthusiast that I am, I couldn’t simply learn the language. I needed to perfect it! This is why I can’t wait to see what Paris has in store for me. Having the opportunity to completely immerse myself in the culture will bring my French skills to a whole new level. I’m absolutely certain that the experiences from this trip will bring about critical changes to all the different platforms in my life. Changes I’ll be recording furiously and diligently, with the help of imagery and an extensive use of hyperbole (all accurate I promise). Just think … all that turtle soup, all the hostel-related information, a genuine French Christmas, and shiny new additions to your French vocabulary. You get to share them all! There’s something to be said for vicarious living don’t you think?

Jazmin Lopez
ISA Barcelona, Spain – Fall 2 2012
Arizona State University

Hello whoever is reading this! My name is Jazmin Lopez and I am a 20 year old Junior within the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. My current major is Business Communication and I am thinking about adding a second one in Marketing- but that is yet to be seen! I am minoring in Strategic Communiations and Public Relations and am studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain to receive my International Business certificate. Overachiever, you say? Well I completely agree, but I think that is what makes me… ME! As my name hints at, I am from Hispanic decent but am originally from Anaheim, California. I have never been out of Mexico and the United States, so this is definitely an adventure I am looking forward to! I am hoping to better my Spanish, since our household has turned, over the years, into a prominent English household. I also just want to experience the different culture because, according to my grandmother, I am 1/4 Spanish, which has ever since made me VERY interested in the traditions, way of thinking and scenery of the Spanish. I look forward to keeping you all entertained while I am abroad, so please let me know if you have questions, requests for specific scenery, or anything else!

Maggie Lowenberg
ISA Valparaiso, Chile – Fall 1 2012
University of Colorado, Boulder

Hola friends! My name is Maggie, I am a senior at the University of Colorado in beautiful Boulder. I am studying international affairs with a concentration on Latin America. I decided if I had be a 3rd semester senior, why not go abroad for the victory lap?! I am studying in Chile not only to learn about Chilean culture, practice my Spanish, and salsa with Chilean friends, but also, to learn about myself. I think there are few students who choose to study abroad their last semester of school for the fear of job insecurity and inability of meeting academic requirements. I want to break those barriers and prove that we can live and love life in the present moment! Can you think of a better way to spend your last semester of undergraduate than in Chile?

Harold Lyons
ISA Amman, Jordan
– Fall 1 2012
University of Maine

My name is Harold Lyons and I am a 20-year old junior at the University of Maine. Currently, I am studying Political Science and Journalism. Originally I am from Beals Island, Maine, a small fishing island situated on the eastern coast. Writing is my passion and I spent last semester writing for our school newspaper, The Maine Campus. Often, my best work comes from late-night writing sessions fueled by copious amounts of coffee. I chose to study in Amman because I have always been fascinated with the Middle East, and I want to learn the Arabic language. Also, I hope to be challenged by a culture completely unlike my own. I enjoy spending my free time outdoors, especially wakeboarding and snowboarding. Hopefully through my blog I can inspire more students to make the choice to study abroad as well as ignite a passion for adventure.

Isabel McCan
ISA Buenos Aires, Argentina
– Fall 1 2012
University of Denver

Salutations Earthlings! I’m Isabel McCan, a feisty third-year undergraduate at the University of Denver. I’m majoring in Journalism and minoring in both English and Spanish. This fall, I’m excited to say that I will be studying at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina! From the gaucho culture to the city life, there isn’t a single aspect of Argentinian culture that I’m willing to miss out on! I’m hoping to meet some fantastic people, travel around South America a bit, and leave Argentina speaking Spanish like a straight pro. But most of all, I just hope to grow as a person through these experiences abroad. I plan to conquer any obstacles like David did Goliath, and enjoy the good times knowing just how lucky I am to be there. Looking forward to sharing my stories and perspectives with you guys! Hasta luego!

Lisa Nikolau
ISA Granada, Spain
– Fall 2A 2012
Lawrence University

¡Hola! My name is Lisa Nikolau. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attend Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I’m pursuing my Psychology and Spanish majors. I’m a friendly, enthusiastic twenty year-old with two passions in particular: people and food. That’s why studying abroad in Granada, Spain this fall is a dream come true for me. I’ve found that traveling is the best way to expose myself to the different people and cultures of the world we live in, as well as the food they eat, so seeing any place outside of the cheese state is thrilling for me. I’m absolutely ecstatic about living with my host family, making friends from around the world, interacting with the locals and improving my language skills in a foreign country. I also can’t wait to learn and share some authentic Spanish recipes, so stay posted if you’re into that! I’m hoping my shared experiences here will entertain and inspire other students to study abroad as well, and to share my passion of exploring the world!

Samantha Philbrick
ISA Florence, Italy – Fall 1 2012
University of New Hampshire

Hello! My name is Samantha Philbrick and I am a senior at the University of New Hampshire. I am a business administration major with a duel focus in marketing and management. I am taking international business classes, fashion marketing, conversational Italian, and even a wine tasting class here in Florence, Italy (can you guess which one is my favorite?). I decided to travel to Florence because of its fascinating history, art galleries and exhibits, delicious food, beautiful language, and the rich culture. I can’t believe that I am living in an apartment between the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo! To be able to live in this proximity to such awe inspiring pieces of art, unparalleled and iconic fashion and the best gelato in the world is an absolute dream come true. I hope I can share with you tips on traveling around this amazing city, my numerous accounts of Italian culture, and stories about my adventure abroad!

Adrienne Prillaman
ISA Salamanca, Spain
– Fall 4 2012
University of North Texas

Classmates Connecting Cultures

I’m Adrienne Prillaman, and I am a Texas gal hailing from Fort Worth. I currently attend the University of North Texas in Denton, and am pursuing a double major in Psychology and Spanish, with an expected graduation date of December 2013. I chose to study in Spain because of my major, to allow myself to improve my Spanish by being completely immersed in it, and because it is one of the most prominent locations in Europe I have not visited yet. Of course I absolutely love to travel, and have been to at least one country in every continent (minus Antarctica) but have never had a chance to live anywhere outside of Texas, which is one of the many reasons I decided to study abroad. I hope to gain magnificent cultural learning experiences, improve my Spanish, share my experiences with others to encourage them to travel and study abroad, and make lots of new friends as I am in Spain!

Audrey Rattay
ISA Hyderabad, India
– Fall 1 2012
Thiel University

Namaste! Following my march to Morocco last summer, I have decided to hike to Hyderabad, India for my final semester of my undergraduate studies. I will be immersing myself into the Indian culture by attending classes with Indian students at The University of Hyderabad. Back home, I am a student at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania and study Business Administration. Business woman by day, and travel bug by night, I would like to work in Operations and Planning (which involves traveling) after graduation. What brought me to study in India was a mixture of culture and how progressive the country is towards international business. While in India, I plan to gain a higher tolerance to spicy foods, attend an Indian wedding, learn Kuchipudi Dance, and find myself through the practice of Patanjali Yoga. My blog is based around tickling the senses and allowing readers to feel as though they are traveling right beside me. So put your boots on, tie them up, and let’s go on a hike!

Marissa Ruxin
ISA Panama City, Panama – Fall 1 2012
University of California, San Diego

Hola! I’m Marissa Ruxin. I’m a third year at UC San Diego where I’m studying sociology. I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee and I love swimming. I decided to study in Panama because I wanted to have an immersion experience with another culture. I love learning about different societies and this seemed like a great opportunity to do so. I chose to study in Latin America because I do not know much about this area which is rapidly growing and because I wanted to improve my Spanish. I then decided upon Panama City because it has so much to offer including amazing beaches, rain forests and a fun city life as well. I hope you enjoy reading about my travels as I take you along through parts of this exiting trip.

Lydia Shippen
ISA Amman, Jordan – Fall 1 2012
Classmates Connecting Cultures
University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Ahlan! My name is Lydia Shippen and I am a senior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  I am double majoring in Spanish and International Studies as well as minoring in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.  In the summer of 2010 I studied abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile and came back with the “travel bug.”  Now I am studying abroad again, this time for a semester in Amman, Jordan.  I chose Jordan so that I can work on my Arabic and learn about the Jordanian culture, food, music, and of course make a lot of amazing friends.  When I am in Wilmington, I can be found with my friends or in the ocean snorkeling, body surfing, and embarrassing myself on a longboard surfboard that is nicknamed “Big Bertha.”  After college I hope to work for the U.S. Department of State using my Arabic and Spanish skills, preferably in a job field that includes a lot of travel.

Haley Snyder
ISA Granada, Spain – Fall 2A 2012
University of California, Santa Barbara

Hello curious inquirers, I am Haley Snyder.  I temporarily left the University of California Santa Barbara so that this fall semester I can absorb all that is Spanish in Granada, Spain.  I am a Global Studies major specializing in Spanish and the European continent, but have more specifically taken an interest into Sociology and social issues.  I am fascinated by Spain’s history and its political transformation. Its current relationship with the European Union is reaching a critical point.  I am excited to not only detail my adventures but also create vignettes that reflect the feeling and lifestyle of Granada and Spain.  I have written for UCSB’s newspaper and Sociology website, but I most enjoy writing stories and blogging.  I have a story to tell and I hope you listen as I begin as a tourist and end as a global citizen.

Jill Swanson

ISA Lima, Peru
– Year 1 2012
College of Charleston

Hola! Mi nombre es Jill Swanson and I’m studying abroad in Lima, Peru this fall. I’m a junior at Arizona State University pursuing degrees in Psychology and Family and Human Development. I stay plenty busy coaching volleyball, working as a habilitator for children with autism, serving on the Camp Kesem ASU board, exercising, and relaxing with great family and friends. I can’t wait to escape the sweltering Arizona heat and head off into my great unknown- aka Lima, Perú. Machu Picchu, the Amazon and Lake Titicaca have been the destinations of my dreams and it is hard to believe that I will be there soon! While in Perú I plan to learn more Spanish, eat as many potatoes as I can, hang-glide over Miraflores and have a new adventure every day!

Katherine Taylor
ISA Valparaiso, Chile – Fall 3 2012
University of Denver

Hola amigos! My name is Katherine Taylor and I’m a junior at the University of Denver majoring in International Studies with a minor in Spanish. I chose to study abroad in Chile because of its beautiful culture, interesting political history and of course its proximity to the beach! I’m a mountain girl at heart and Chile has the best of all landscapes, including some mountains for me to climb. I wish to delve deeper into the beautiful Spanish language and travel all around the country. I am also excited to learn more about the political issues of Chile from the perspective of the natives. Studying abroad has always been a lifelong dream of mine and I can’t wait to share my adventures in Chile with you!

Claire Turner
ISA Reading, England – Fall 1 2012
Indiana University – Bloomington

Hello Hello! I’m Claire Turner and I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I am a Senior majoring in Telecommunications at Indiana University. I am spending this fall at the University of Reading!! I’m a kind of person who loves to have fun and isn’t afraid to try something new I’m a self-declared anglophile and have wanted to go to the UK since I was in middle school. I could not be any more excited to be spending three months in the United Kingdom. I am super excited to be attending the University of Reading because I will get the best of both worlds. I am close to the city, but I get to see other parts of England. There is more to the UK than London and I expect to see as much of it as possible!! It really is a dream come true (my 14 year old self is so jealous)! I am the kind of person who is constantly trying to find the humor in situations. Between you and me I plan on taking every opportunity presented to me while abroad even if I make a complete fool of myself, I will be making a fool of my self in the UK sooo I think I can be okay with that. So come along and be there to witness my attempts at all things new and feel free to laugh along with me as I venture from foggy London town to the rolling hills of the English country side and everything in between!

Katherine Vilchez
ISA Cusco, Peru
– Fall 1 2012
University of California – San Diego

I was born in La Oroya, Peru and immigrated to California when I was 3 years old. I grew up in Northern California and moved down to San Diego for college. I am currently a 5th year at the University of California, San Diego. I am a double major in Spanish Literature and Sociology. I chose my study abroad program location because I hope to gain a more rounded understanding of Peru as a student who will be studying and living there. Peru is part of my identity and it shapes my experiences here in the US. I am a person of many layers and a complex identity. I am neither fully from Peru nor fully from the US. I am in between. As Gloria Anzaldua, a queer Chicana writer once said, I am nepantla and I am the border that lives between both identities. I know that as a “study abroad” student I won’t be able to get a full perspective of permanent life in the beautiful sierra of Peru. I hope that my time and study there will humble me to see the beauty and strength in an indigenous culture that has persevered across ages of Western colonialism and globalization.

Lauren Weihe
ISA/ELAP San Jose, Costa Rica – Fall 1 2012
Classmates Connecting Cultures
Doane College

Hola! My name is Lauren Weihe and I am a junior at Doane College in Nebraska (that state in the middle of the country you either think is boring if you live there, or didn’t know existed if you don’t live there). I am majoring in psychology and Spanish, minoring in biology. This semester, I will be studying in San Jose, Costa Rica and participating in ELAP by volunteering at the zoo. I guess you could say I’ve always had a passion for travel; there’s something so exhilarating about breaking out of your routine and finding adventure by visiting someplace new or learning about a way of life that, for better or worse, is different than your own. My eventual goal is to become fluent in Spanish, so I knew that I wanted to travel to a Spanish-speaking country. Costa Rica was not my first choice, but the programs better fit my academic interests, and I can’t wait to live the pura vida life. I firmly believe that I didn’t pick Costa Rica; it picked me.

Rachael Wetzel
ISA Valparaiso, Chile – Fall 1 2012
Classmates Connecting Cultures
Westminster College

My name is Rachael Wetzel, born a spunky, creative, curly headed adventurer in Sligo, Pennsylvania. I currently attend Westminster College, PA. I spend most of my time studying Spanish as my major and Secondary Education as my minor (with a focus in ELL). Chilean legend says, “God first created the wonders of the world but has many beautiful left over pieces. He put them together and cast them to the remote corner of the earth for protection and that was how Chile was born.” With a heart for adventure and a mind for finding the value in the everyday, Chile seems to fit my personality and adoration for natural beauty. When it came to my partnering organization, I didn’t even bat an eyelash; I knew I wanted to work with my Study Abroad, Spanish and Academic advisor, Dr. Bersett at WC. The love that he shares for culture, language and humor makes him a great partner is this blog’s focus of promoting an authentic and educational experience for students. I earnestly want to prepare myself for a future of ELL related mission work while also, hoping to expose an honest experience of travel-meets- education to inspire other college students (myself included) to learn more, breathe more, smile more and experience more.

Allison Zaucha
ISA Paris, France
– Fall 1 2012
East Carolina University

Allison was born in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania; located right outside of Philadelphia. Currently, Allison is a junior at East Carolina University and majoring in Business Management as well as minoring in Art. This fall 2012, she will call Paris her new home as she studies at The American Business School Paris. Taking on Europe by storm, Allison hopes to gain personal growth, make many friends, and understand different cultures by traveling to various countries within the next few months. So keep this blog on tab, and follow her journey!