World Journal: Taariq Adams

 

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I am Taariq Adams from Fort Washington, MD and a student at Towson University, double majoring in Electronic Media & Film and Mass Communication. I am currently a Junior, expected to graduate in 2018.

Earlier this summer, I was part of a faculty-led study abroad program for Summer 2016, “Global Competence and Communication in Barcelona, Spain.” It all started when I came came across a flier for the program when I was in Van Bokkelen Hall. It caught my eye and made me want to look into it more. In the description, it said the purpose of this program was to understand the importance of global competence, knowing how to act as a representative of your home country when traveling overseas and on the side, learning about Barcelona’s culture and history.

I chose to participate because, as an aspiring journalist, I will be expected to go to unknown places and adjust to different customs and to work with the people there. I took this course as a means to improve my communication and social skills. I also went because at the time, I had never been anywhere overseas, unlike the rest of my family. At the same time, I wanted to see what it was like to be away from home for a while, so this was for personal character building too.

After participating, I can easily say that my experiences were above and beyond my expectations. Not only was I given an idea of how important global competence is and not only was I taught how to act as a representative of my country, but I was taught how it correlates with Barcelona’s culture and why it would be wise to understand cultures different from our own. Through this program, we immersed ourselves in Catalan (Region of Spain we traveled to) culture and understand how different it is from our own. However, were were also taught that it is okay to be skeptical of cultural norms and on what the people believe.

For instance, as the result of many wars and conquests throughout history, Barcelona has adopted a collectivist mindset, meaning the people see themselves as one whole, not as individuals. This seems to have contributed to Barcelona’s desire to gain independence from the rest of Spain. I personally disagreed with that idea because the risk to Barcelona’s economy is too great. The people will then have to sustain themselves without outside easy to obtain Spanish funding and I don’t believe Barcelona is capable of doing so, not yet anyway.

Throughout the program, we participated in lectures discussing global competence and Barcelona’s history. We even went on many tours around the area, each of them being unique. These tours included the Salvador Dali Museum, the Picasso Museum, Montserrat and one of the most ambitious and most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen: The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia.

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Outside of lectures and tours, we were also expected to explore and immerse ourselves in the local culture, as well as communicate with the locals. During the program, my favorite spot for free time was Plaça de Catalunya (a local town square).

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It was next to a large shopping district as well as a local marketplace and there were many restaurants there, though I did not end up eating at most of them.

We were also expected to take care of ourselves. This meant buying our own food and navigating around the area ourselves. I cannot say what everyone’s main concern was, but not getting lost was one of my main concerns, especially because every street corner looked exactly the same. Unless you knew where all of the landmarks were, you would surely lose your bearings. However, I was prepared for this with the use of Citymapper, an app on my phone which operates as a GPS. This app maps out specific cities around the world and it became my best friend throughout the program. That, and Barcelona’s subway system, which I ended up using as my main method of transportation.

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Before the end of the first week, I had developed a schedule in which I would get up, fix breakfast, take the subway to the study abroad center where lectures took place, take part in class, come back, complete homework assignments, get dinner and buy groceries. I was also living with a roommate, so we supported with each other by splitting chores and helping each other however else we could; whether it was regarding food, supplies, navigating or homework. I was enjoying my time in Barcelona, so much so that the two weeks seemed to just fly by.

Even though it’s over, I still want to go back and see everything that I had missed out on. I’m sure anyone who travels abroad would feel the same.

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To read more about Taariq’s time abroad, check out his personal blog!

Are you interested in one of our Faculty-Led programs? Check out our Minimester and Summer 2017 offerings!

 

Laura Bastings for CEA

We are proud to share that Towson sophomore Laura Bastings will be blogging for CEA Study Abroad during her time abroad this Spring 2016 in the French Riviera.

Follow along here on Laura’s adventures!

Learn more about CEA Study Abroad programs here.

My Heart and Seoul: South Korea

Did you know that we recently had a Towson student in South Korea? Check out her awesome blog page and enjoy reading about her adventure!

http://seoul-searching.weebly.com/

Here’s a preview:

“Hyunwoo and I left for the airport around 8am (my flight was set to depart from Incheon at 10:30am), but perhaps we should have left a bit earlier… Although the transport from the hotel only took 10 minutes, the airport itself was packed — so many people everywhere!

Even with checking myself in via my e-ticket, I still had to wait in such a long line to check in my luggage… After the luggage was checked in, Hyunwoo and I grabbed some food (we hadn’t eaten breakfast yet). We had a few more minutes together before it was 9am and I had to start heading towards the security checkpoint. Although it was hard to leave him, I knew that he would be back in the U.S. only a week from then and we would see each other then.”

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España & Spain: A blog in two languages

The Towson University Foreign Language Department has several faculty-led study abroad opportunities for students who are studying a foreign language. Currently, Dr. Colleen Ebacher is abroad in Spain with a group of Spanish students. Lucky for us they are blogging about their adventures and even better: it’s in two languages!

Enjoy the blog! http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/cmebacher/5/tpod.html

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If you’re looking for a Spanish study abroad opportunity with a Towson faculty member, check out the Minimester 2016 program in Guatemala or the Summer 2016 program in Spain, following a similar itinerary to our students on site right now.

Italy: Culture & Psychology blog

Did you know one of our student groups in Italy is keeping a blog of their time abroad? See their posts and mouth-watering photos on our blog: http://wp.me/P2S0DC-wL

Here’s a sneak peek!

“Viewing and learning about these works allowed me to better understand how the history of each piece is linked to the cultural beliefs, mental practices, and behavior.  I am excited to experience more of Italy’s artwork and cultural works.”

“The architecture and design of the gallery was my favorite part. The light was a warm glow and made the experience feel welcoming while the ceilings were meticulously painted with various portraits and depictions of historical or religious scenes. Though I wish I understood more of the Italian language, in reality, the beauty of the artwork needed no explanation.”

Student Blogging: Oldenburg, Germany

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a whole semester as an exchange student in Oldenburg, Germany, studying at the Carl Von Ossietzky Universitat? Then follow along with Michele’s blog as she explores this historic city over the Spring Semester! Join her on this adventure into the heart of Europe as she discovers new foods, new places, and new people!

Airplanes and Wanderlust

https://airplanesandwanderlust.wordpress.com/

Michele Chen

Oldenburg, Germany

Spring 2015

Do’s and Don’ts of Studying Abroad with Friends

This helpful blog post comes to you from Towson senior Bianca Auriemma.

Dos and Don’ts of Studying Abroad with Your Friends

Usually, when someone begins the process of looking into studying abroad and researching all of the different programs and countries, one of the first thoughts that come to mind is, “well, I’m not sure I feel comfortable traveling to and living in a foreign country alone.”  That’s actually completely normal and makes a lot of sense considering that the unknown can be very frightening.

If you talk to anyone who has studied abroad alone, they will tell you that it was one of the best experiences of their lives because they were able to meet new people, make new friends, and form lifelong connections from all over the globe.  I encourage you to go alone, to test your limits and learn about who you are while exploring a whole new world full of independence and adventures.

However, if you feel more comfortable knowing that you have a familiar face by your side, or if you and your best friend have been planning to go abroad together since you were kids, then by all means, do it!  I studied abroad with AIFS during the summer of 2013 with my two very best friends, and it’s been the greatest experience we’ve had together.  Nevertheless, there are still some dos and don’ts that I recommend in order to get the most out of your time abroad.

Friends

DO: Embrace the touristy and cliché together

            Let’s be honest here, we all see the artsy pictures on Pinterest of a pair of friends candidly laughing next to the Eiffel Tower or pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Ask someone to take your picture and don’t be afraid to look silly because I promise you that memory will be worth it.  Take a million photos. Sightsee. Try new foods. And do it all together! You’ll gain so many great new inside jokes and stories that will only strengthen your friendship!  Did my best friends and I all hang outside of a classic London photo booth and make telephone shapes with our fingers?  You bet we did!

DON’T: Miss out on what you want to do

A great aspect of studying abroad is that you’re inevitably going to meet other Americans on your trip, as well as the locals where you’re living.  If there is something that you’ve been dying to do, but the friend(s) you came with aren’t interested, do not sacrifice it.  Make a new friend who shares that interest and go together!  In fact, it’s sometimes easy to miss out on meeting new people if you’re constantly in your tight-knit circle, so I encourage you to make plans with different people, and encourage the friends you came with to do the same. It’s okay to leave the group and explore new things.  Make a list before you leave of the things that you don’t want to miss out on, and hold yourself to that.  One of my best friends went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour with a few of the other girls in our photography class and she’ll tell you that it was one of her favorite things she did in London.  Which then leads me to my next point.

DO: Explore on your own

You’re in a foreign country, you may not speak the native language, and you aren’t familiar with the area, so obviously use caution and common sense when exploring independently, but don’t miss the chance to do so.  Sometimes it’s nice to be alone with your own thoughts instead of constantly doing things with the same people.  I attended the Aston Martin Centennial Celebration car show in Kensington Gardens alone and had so much fun.  No one was interested in going with me, but I knew I didn’t want to pass it up, so I went anyway.  You’re a college student, you’re young, and you’re figuring your life out.  Why not do it in a beautiful foreign land?  Grab some coffee, take a stroll, find a bench with a nice view, and journal your thoughts.  You’ll be amazed at how you see things differently in solidarity.

DON’T: Let your friends define your experience

            Ultimately, this is a once in a lifetime experience and something that is so much more meaningful than the fact that you’re traveling with your besties.  Don’t forget to really take in your surroundings and the culture.  Define your time there independently from the way that your friends define it.  Challenge yourself to discover new things and to change your outlook on the world.  Your friends are going back with you to the States, but your time abroad is limited, so don’t leave with regrets.

 

Student Blogging: Tsamaya Botswana

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Working with children in Botswana. Photo: CIEE

 

Wondering how you can make an impact? Take a look at Erin’s blog to see the incredible work she’s doing while in Botswana this fall! In case you’re wondering just how her journey’s going, you can also read about her work in the latest CIEE newsletter! That’s right: Towson students are so incredible that they get featured in the newsletter’s published by the providers! Read about her work in that newsletter by visiting http://study-abroad-blog-gaborone-as.ciee.org/2014/10/fall-2014-issue-ii-sos-volunteer-day.html. And since we’re sure you’ll be looking to read more about Erin’s African adventure after that, be sure to check out her blog:

Tsamaya Botswana

http://tsamayabotswana.wordpress.com/

Erin Kelly

Gaborone, Botswana

Fall 2014

 

The American Way of Life from Australian Eyes

Exchange student Stef is studying at Towson for two semesters from the University of Tasmania. Follow Stef as she documents her crazy experiences through her blog!

“Fresh daily waves of culture shock were repeatedly buried under layers of distraction with the relentless schedule of orientation activities. That was a clever tactic on their part. The endless jet lag held me in a petrified zombie state most of the day. The intense heat and humidity of Maryland in August was also a shock to the system after Hobart’s icy winter. We went on several tours of the university campus. We met ‘Doc’, Towson’s official tiger mascot. I noticed a funny parallel between the Tasmanian Tiger and the Towson Tiger and I wonder if I will start barracking for the AFL Tigers when I return to Australia?”

Student Blog: The Jordan Experience

Riding camels through the deserts of Jordan. Photo: Charles Carrington

Ever wondered what it would be like to sail across the sandy deserts of Arabia on the “Ships of the Desert” – or what you and I would call camels? Then read about that and much, much more in Charles Carrington’s blog for a taste of his incredible journey through Jordan during the Summer of 2014!

As part of his incredible voyage, Charles received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. This prestigious, national program awards study abroad scholarships to Pell Grant recipients who are going to nontraditional locations (like Jordan!) or studying critical languages, such as Arabic, Russian, Turkic, and Indic languages.

Want to know more about what a Jordanian summer is like? Check out his blog:

The Jordan Experience

http://www.myexperienceinjordan.blogspot.com/

Charles Carrington
Amman, Jordan
Summer 2014