(Me jumping out of B’ham!)
Hello! My name is Carissa Loft and I am a senior at Western Washington University starting Fall 2017. I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology.
I am studying abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy through the USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) program. The classes they offer are education, communications, health/nutrition, and Italian studies.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” –Marcus Annaeus Seneca
The eve of our departure is quickly approaching, and as always, there is just one more thing to be finished before we leave. Preparing months in advance sounds like a better idea with each day that passes. Our hotels have been booked, almost all of the gifts for our relatives have been gathered, and I’m giving the cats extra attention to try to make up for my upcoming four months leave of absence.
The time leading up to this trip has been stressful, exciting, scary, and overwhelming. But I would not trade it for the world. This is my first time out of the country (other than Canada and Mexico) and off of this continent. I am not excited for the plane ride(s) I am about to embark on, but the destination will be worth every second in the air.
I cannot wait to see where I will be staying, the sunsets in the morning and the amazing food after a long day of classes. To wake up there and believe I am actually there and not still dreaming. I plan on learning as much Italian as I can. The classes I am taking I hope will change my outlook on life and culture. I get to learn about the great artists of the past and the current ones in the cellars. I am lucky that my family has traveled and can give me much needed advice, tips, and tricks on how to travel well and travel smart. I am still nervous since I will be alone in the beginning but that’s a part of life right? New beginnings, and experiences that will hopefully lead to more adventures in the future. The resources Western and CEA offers have also helped prepare me for this trip, with setting up STEP and making sure I will be as safe as possible.
More pictures and stories to come!
Ciao Bella <3
- What do you hope to gain and how much research have you done on your host country and culture that will better prepare you for this experience?
- I hope to gain many things, mostly knowledge of Costa Rican historical impacts, the social dynamics of the Costa Rican people and a deep appreciation for Costa Rican Culture! I have done an immense amount of research in several areas surrounding Costa Rican life, food, historical context and current legislation. I know that this research is not the entirety of the country, as well as surrounding countries.
- What are you most excited about? What are you most scared or nervous about?
- I’m most excited about the food, language, and people. Specifically, I am very excited about Afro-Latinx communities in Costa Rica. I know that within Costa Rican culture there are different segments of the culture that vary between populations, and I intend on learning about this differences. I’m also nervous about the entire experience! An excited, joyful nervousness, but nervousness none-the-less.
- What strategies have you implemented that will allow you to overcome these challenges and take full advantage of your opportunities?
- Since I have completed so much research on Costa Rica, I have a better basis of comfort for myself. Things like gestures, cultural norms, slang, and social disparities are all things in the back of my head to the coming experience. These researched areas will not overshadow my interactions but they will give me a little more confidence with social interactions.
Hello!!! Thank you so much for deciding to read this blog, it means the world to me! As I finish up my spring quarter here at Western Washington University, I find myself extremely excited for the journey I’m about to undertake. This summer I will finally be fulfilling one of my childhood dreams of going to France. I will be studying abroad in Lyon, France, for 4 and a half weeks earning credit for my French minor and traveling as much as possible. After the end of my program, I intend to travel for a bit and make my way to Poland where I will visit family and an old childhood friend for a few weeks, and then finally head back to the States. This will leave me with about 2 months in Europe.
One week from tomorrow I am driving up to Vancouver, BC to catch a flight early the next morning to Copenhagen, Denmark. WOW! To see this all come together has been so surreal to me. It still doesn’t feel real. I’m pretty sure it won’t feel real until I am sitting on that plane. Maybe not even until I touchdown in Copenhagen (honestly though, maybe not even then).
Am Samstag fliege ich nach Deutschland.
Are you excited about study abroad, but stressed about navigating your housing situation – before you leave, while you are away, or when you return to WWU?
We are here to tell you that it IS possible to work out housing during the school year and that you are NOT limited to only summer programs. Education Abroad, University Residences & Off Campus Living are here to help you navigate your housing situation with resources and tips!
I am so excited to go to Korea and begin my student teaching! I’m really hoping to learn a lot about the Korean language and to have a unique experience within a school. Because I will be teaching in an elementary school, I am excited to gain more experience and pick up some new skills in working with students who are English language learners! I am also excited to learn about Korean culture and how it is both different from and similar to my own culture.
I landed in Seattle only a month ago, and today I started packing to leave again on Friday. It has been a whirlwind of just over thirty days. Landing the night before Thanksgiving after almost three months in Madagascar with Stony Brook University‘s biodiversity and culture study abroad program, I have just begun adjusting to the cold and rain here in the Pacific Northwest. After four weeks of unpacking, writing a research paper, catching up with friends at holiday parties, and spending time with my family, it is time for my next adventure!
T minus three weeks
December 18, 2016
Hey everyone! Thanks for tuning in. At the moment I am waiting at the airport waiting for my flight to leave. It is pretty exciting and scary at the same time. (I ran into a big glass window while trying to text, so tip: Don’t do that) This first blog I hope to detail out what I am expecting and why I would be going abroad.