Archive for the ‘StudyAbroad’ Category

hello america

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

home again home again, can’t believe it has been a month!

we traveled for 16 hours today including all the busses, trams, and flights. then i had a 2 1/2 hour drive home after all of that.

the flights went well our first flight we had a 2 hour delay on which ended up not being terrible and we were lucky because we originally had a 4 hour layover in London so we weren’t cutting our flights close. when we reached london, nicole, mary and I ate at a restaurant called Giraffe which is something we should bring to the states. its like Chili’s only a healthier selection.

Tram at the London Airport

Our second flight was not crowded at all. it was LOVELY. mary and I even scored an entire center row just for the two of us which we took over spreading out happily watching movies for the 8 hour flight. flying in style thats us. When the attendant came around asking if we wanted anything to drink i asked if they had ice tea which he thought was hilarious and said “We don’t believe in that in the UK!” then i asked for  a coke instead and he was still in a good mood and gave me two with a large cup of ice. hey ill take it.

We were so happy to see the “Welcome to the United States” sign. we got through customs easily AND all of our suitcases made it. man we are lucky. After exiting i had a very welcoming sight of my parents and Kyle waiting for me :) Kyle even made a shirt with kissing fish (if you don’t understand our nicknames are “fishy”) a bouquet of roses and a HUGE bottle of water. happiest thing ever. I said my goodbyes and left. (i already miss having everyone everyday). the 2 1/2 hour ride home was the killer for me. i was just ready to be back and done with traveling at this point. we got silver diner for dinner (it was like 4am for me at this time) and when i got home i quickly passed out. its so nice to be back in my bed! i miss mary a lot (i was with her 24/7 literally) but lets just say I’m not losing sleep over it haha

i miss everyone from the trip!



this trip was absolutely amazing. i made great friends, saw great places, and learned so many interesting facts all at the same time. I WOULD highly recommend other students to take this opportunity only this is actually the last year it was available. both professors (WHO WERE FANTASTIC!) have been doing this together for 20 years and have finally decided they are finished and no one is left to take their place. HOWEVER, i strongly believe everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad should take it. its an experience like no other and its great to actually get shoved in another culture and see how they live day to day. my two favorite cities would have to be prague and london. i thought they both just had so much history to offer as well i had a ton of fun at these locations. thanks so much for reading everyone! and if you have anymore questions about locations or anything feel free to ask!

Long Days and Long Nights

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Ahh… it is Sunday meaning the end of a very long week. It has basically been raining all day so far, but that’s okay because Sunday tends to be “recovery day”. This past week my friends and I went so many places and did so many things that I can’t even believe that it all happened in just one week!

First, CIDE (my program) took us to the incredibly famous Guggenheim Museum that stands right across the river from my university. The Guggenheim was INSANE. I’ve never really been a huge fan of art museums. I never understood the artists true meaning of what they were painting or sculpting or anything. I just don’t have that artistic mindset. However, the Guggenheim was absolutely amazing. It was all modern art and it all had to pertain to something going on in the world today. There was one room with just one artists work in it, and all of his work was made out of trash. He would find things in the trash and then construct art with them to show how much we waste. It was incredible.

There were many other rooms that I found fascinating, but there were two pieces of work that I liked the most. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the pieces of artists since we weren’t allowed to take pictures :( The first I think was actually  called “Milk” but I could be wrong. It was made out of entirely pink yarn to resemble a grocery store. However, the actual scene was of a grocery store bombing that took place by a suicide bomber who was a 16 year old girl. The shelves were knocked over and there were just piles of yarn in places, I thought to represent people, as well as yarn hanging from the ceiling to represent the actual explosion. It was really cool. I wish I could have taken a picture.

My second favorite was a cage. It was just a cage built out of incredibly strong, razor sharp wire. I think (if I remember correctly) it was the same wire that Hitler used in his concentration camps. The artist was going to make the cage larger, but he was not allowed to get anymore of the wire after a certain point. The piece was really interesting and I really liked it.

Another famous piece of work is actually outside of the Guggenheim. It is called “Puppy.” “Puppy” is a giant dog made entirely out of flowers. You probably think I mean just an oversized dog, but no, I’m talking massive…

Cool, right? Well anyways… some friends and I decided we wanted to go to the beach and spend some time in the neighboring city of Getxo (the “tx” in the basque language makes a “ch” sound… so it would sound more like Getcho in English). Unfortunately, the day we went decided to be cloudy :( We had fun anyway though. The water is beautiful, as well as the scenery. I snapped a few photos to show everyone.
This is the view from the beach where we were all sitting:

View from the beach

A view of the marina:

Getxo Marina

As we were walking back to the metro, we passed these random, HUGE, booeys in the shape of heads:

Floating heads

Getxo was really fun and its incredibly beautiful. People there are incredibly carefree and nice. I’m hoping the weather doesn’t get cold anytime soon so we can make another day trip back there with some nice weather!

In between all of these trips, I have actually been going to school! Woo! I’m taking six classes, which include: business Spanish, Spanish composition, Europe in the world, international financial systems, economy of the EU, and transatlantic relations: the EU and the US. I really like all of my classes. Europe in the world is probably going to be my hardest class, mostly because it’s taught entirely in Spanish and I don’t exactly know all the terms to talk about politics and the economy. Other than that though, I really like the class and all my other classes. Except that I have class til 7pm everyday. Womp.

We, meaning basically the entire CIDE program, all went out this past weekend. It was incredibly fun and I am still loving the nightlife here. It’s also pretty funny when other people just see this massive group of people walking into a bar. On Saturday, four of my friends and I took a day trip to San Sebastian. San Sebastian is amazing. It’s beautiful, historic, and has so many things to do and see. It’s about an hour away from Bilbao so we all took a bus. We got to see some amazing sights, including a famous church, the ayuntamiento (city hall), the beach, a famous castle, and some incredible views from atop a mountain. The most amazing of these was definitely our trip up a mountain. On top of this mountain is the famous Castillo de Santa Cruz de la Mota. This is a castle that was built a very, very long time ago that has incredibly views from the city. Apart from that, it has a famous, large statue on top of it. It was a pretty gloomy day when we went, but being with good friends and in a beautiful city makes the day much more beautiful. It still shocks me that the cities here can be so magnificent even in the worst of weather. Some pictures of our trip to San Sebastian:
Famous, gothic style church:

Famous Church

Ayuntamiento (city hall, where a wedding had just taken place):




Marina (check out how blue the water is):


Castillo de Santa Cruz de la Mota (it was really foggy, sorry):

Castillo de Santa Cruz de la Mota

The rest are photos from our journey up the mountain to the castle. They are all pictures of the city from where we were:

View 2

View 3

View from the Top

The last one is from almost the top. It would be my luck that my camera battery would die when we were almost to the top.  So unfortunately I don’t have any of those pictures. However, when I get some of those AMAZING pictures from my friends I will be sure to post them on here.

All in all, I’m having an amazing time here still. I am really, really homesick but I know that will pass. I do wish my entire family were here to share this experience with me, but I know I will be seeing them soon enough. I love and miss everyone back home but this experience has been incredible so far and I’m excited to have more months ahead! Next weekend the CIDE program heads to Madrid and Toledo. Expect lots more pictures in that post! Now it is time for lunch and to begin homework. Adios! :)


Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Hello everyone! This is Katie’s Bilbao Blog that documents the life and times of a girl studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain for a semester. Bilbao is located in northern Spain, in the Basque country near the Bay of Biscay. It is a beautiful city with lots of history and culture that I’m hoping to learn throughout this semester.

First off, Goda Euskadi basically means “Viva the Basque.” It’s like “Viva Espana” except since the Basque people wish to be separated from Spain, I made it Viva the Basque in Euskera, which is the language of the Basque people. Second off, the picture at the top of my blog is of the Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim is a very famous museum in the city of Bilbao and one of its main attractions. The museum is literally right across the river from the University of Deusto, where I’m studying. Third off, Hasieran means “the beginning” in Euskera (at least that’s what GoogleTranslate told me..) because that’s where I’m starting. So.. here we go!

I’ve been here for about a week and I cannot believe how much I have done and seen. The city is absolutely breathtaking. I live in the dorms with some other kids in the program. Everyone has been so nice and it’s always good to know that there are other people in the same boat as you when you arrive.

When we first got here we checked into the dorm and got our rooms. We were told to try and stay awake until 8 or 9pm Bilbao time in order to try and get rid of the jet lag quickly. I fell asleep around 6pm and then was off and on the rest of the night. The next day we had orientation. I got to see just how many people were here in the program and everyone was really excited. The teachers of the program welcomed us to Bilbao and explained a few things. We took a placement test and sat through some useful presentations about the city. After we went and had lunch with the group. Lunch was interesting. It’s very different than lunch in the states and we eat so much later. We started off with a big pasta dish that was DELICIOUS. There was so much of it though that I probably could have eaten it and taken some home for leftovers. This was just the first course. The second course consisted of chicken and fries. I don’t eat chicken so they gave me fish and it was so yummy. It was hard though because even though it was so good, it was just so much food and I wasn’t accustomed to eating that much. The people at my table and I sat around and ate the delicious meal and got to know each other a little better. It was nice to really meet people for the first time. After the second course, we had dessert. We had this incredibly sweet cake… and they gave us all two pieces. It really baffles me how much the Spaniards eat for just one meal, but yet they all seem to be skinny as sticks!! It was delicious but I could only take a couple bites before I felt like I was going to burst.

After the delicious lunch, we went on a tour of the city. It was nice to finally get my bearings. My favorite place by far in Bilbao is Casco Viejo, or the Old Quarter. It has all these cute little shops, coffee shops, bakeries, and the plaza nueva is so much fun. A couple of friends and I went there the other day and just sat and watched all the kids playing around with the parents. It was really enjoyable.

Here is a picture of the city from atop the Funicular, which is like a little train that goes up a mountain to a park where you can see ALL of the city. It was incredibly cool.


After the tour, we were in Moyua (I think) which is near the center of the city (I think) and there was this fountain:


You might think these pictures are lame, but I really want everyone to see how beautiful this city is. Its architecture is absolutely amazing, and everything from the houses to the fountains to the plazas are beautiful.

On Friday night, a bunch of the CIDE (my program) kids went out to the bars in Casco Viejo. It was so much fun! The way they do it here is to go to one bar, get a drink, go outside and hang out and once everyone is done with their drink, continue on to a different bar. We hit up like four bars that night and they weren’t all close together. It was so much fun. I have become very fond of the kalimotxo which is red wine mixed with Coke. It has definitely become my drink of choice and I highly recommend it. Saturday night we went to Plentzia, which is a beach near Bilbao, about a 30-40 minute metro ride. There was a huge fiesta there. The train was packed that we were on, and as soon as we go there, we looked across the bridge and the entire street was FULL of people. It was amazing. There was a carnival, outside bars, people selling hats and sunglasses, and everyone was just chilling outside drinking with their friends. We walked around a lot and it was so amazing. We were right next to La Ria. We didn’t get  home until around 5am, which for me was very late, but early for the locals.

A couple days later we took an excursion to Plentzia. It looked MUCH different than when we were that at la fiesta. It was such a colorful and pretty city. I took a picture:


The excursion was fun and I’m looking forward to the other ones we have going to Madrid and the south of France.

School started a few days ago. It’s been very different than UMW. I like it, though. I am taking six classes, which at first seemed like a lot, but now I think I can handle it. I feel like I have already learned so much more Spanish and I’ve only been here a week. It’s incredible. I really hope that I become fluent, or close to fluent, by the time I leave. I try and speak in Spanish as much as possible and just listening has helped me learn.

Okay, this post was incredibly long, but solely because it was my first one and I had a lot to catch up on! I really love this city and still can’t believe that I actually get to live here for four months. I do miss my family, my friends, and my dog, but I know I will be seeing them before I know it! Thursdays are our last day of classes here so we are all going out tonight again and I’m really excited! We are also visiting the Guggenheim tomorrow afternoon which is going to be so cool. I’ll be sure to update everyone and take lots of pictures! Adios! :)