Q & A Spotlight: Jessa Coulter

Name: Jessa Coulter
Major: Psychology
Grad Year: 2012
Location: Peru
Program abroad: ISA

Volunteer Experience:

  • Students Helping Honduras – week long service trips: (January 2010, January 2011, January 2012, January 2013, January 2014)
  • Un Techo Para Mi Pais (Peru, October 2011)
  • Sonrisas en Peru Westfalia Orphanage (Peru, December 2011-January 2012)
  • Safe Passage (Guatemala, November 2013-Present)

Q: How is your study abroad experience different from your volunteer abroad experience?
Volunteering abroad has been quite different than studying abroad for me. In Peru, my study abroad program helped coordinate my classes, my homestay, and excursions to travel within Peru. In Guatemala, I am much more independent- I found my own housing, pay rent and monthly bills, and do my own shopping and cooking. I enjoyed living with a host family in Peru- it was actually one of the aspects of the program I was most excited about and I believe it deepened the cultural experience I had. However, now that I have graduated college, I do appreciate being more autonomous and living on my own in Guatemala.

I had more free time as a study abroad student- I was able to arrange my schedule so I take a full course load but only have classes three days a week. This allowed me the freedom to travel throughout Peru and explore Lima- where I was living.

Here in Guatemala, I lead week long service-learning trips for Safe Passage. When I am leading a team, I work seven days a week from 7am until 10pm. When I do not have a team, it is a more typical Monday through Friday job.

Q: How did you choose your location for study abroad and later for volunteer abroad?
To be perfectly honest,  I had no specific country in mind when I decided to study abroad. I knew I wanted to be in Latin America, but other than that, I did not have a strong preference. I spoke to different people, did research on various programs, and decided on the program in Peru.

For volunteering abroad, I again knew I wanted to be in Latin America, but rather than choosing by country, I focused on the various programs and volunteer positions available. I used the website idealist.org and searched for positions in Latin America. When I came across the posting for Safe Passage, it seemed like a perfect fit for me. I was impressed with the work that Safe Passage was doing- working to empower the poorest, at-risk families of the community of the Guatemala City Garbage Dump by creating opportunities and fostering dignity through the power of education. I definitely lucked out by finding Safe Passage, it is an incredible organization and I truly feel honored to be a part of the work that is being done in Guatemala.

Coulter

Q: Have your experiences abroad met your expectations? Exceeded them?
Exceeded all expectations, for sure.

Q: What would you say to students worried / concerned / afraid of going abroad?
Going abroad can be difficult- in terms of studying abroad, it is definitely easier to stay at Towson than go through all the logistics of coordinating a study abroad experience. But easier does not mean better.

The opportunity to live and study abroad is somewhat unique to college students. I actually never had planned to study abroad. It wasn’t until a conversation with a friend one day that changed my mind. We were chatting about her incredible year studying abroad. She asked if I would study abroad and I told her I was happy at Towson and extremely busy with different organizations on campus and I could just travel after graduating. She replied, “Sure you can. But will you?” It was then that something clicked and I realized that the opportunity for this type of experience would pass if I did not take it in college.

Utilize the study abroad office- it is a great resource to navigate the process. It is very unlikely that at any other time in your life you will have people dedicated to helping you travel, study abroad, and gain invaluable experiences.

My first trip to Honduras opened my eyes to extreme poverty and left me feeling empowered me make a difference- which is what motivated me to continue on this journey of volunteering in the world of international development. Going abroad in any capacity will hopefully get you out of your comfort zone, try new things, and allow you to gain a more global perspective of the world.

Finding Balance in France

This post is the fourth installment in a semester-long series of posts from Towson senior Allie Woodfin. Allie is studying this Fall 2014 semester at the University of Avignon. You can also follow along on her tumblr at:http://provisoirementprovencale.tumblr.com/

Confession time: I had an unfair expectation for myself when I came to France. I’ve studied French since I was 11, majored in it in Towson’s remarkable French department, and am lucky to have an aptitude for the language as well as a deep interest in it. That being said, I had an “all or nothing” attitude about it when I came. For several reasons, that did not last very long.

First reason: while I’m the only U.S. American on exchange at the University of Avignon this semester, many other students speak English. Rather than isolating myself from them, I’ve decided to pick my battles and agree to speak English with some of them when we occasionally cross paths.

Second reason: many people don’t speak much English, and are very excited to learn that I’m American. My last name is British in origin, and I still have a noticeable American accent. So, people sometimes try to start conversations in English or throw out a word or two. At first, I took that really personally—I assumed that they thought I spoke poorly. However, I have learned that many of them are just deeply curious. (Aren’t I the same way?) Many adults I’ve spoken to were dissatisfied with their English education in lycée, and are looking to practice.

Third reason: being willing to speak English some of the time allows me to teach while being taught. I became an English teaching assistant at a private high school, and have had a unique opportunity to talk about American culture, learn the ins and outs of the French education system, and even help students proofread letters to American penpals. Someone also recently suggested that I post an ad on LeBonCoin (French Craigslist, basically) for private lessons. I have 5 clients and am making 15 euros an hour to help people. It has been more gratifying than I ever could have imagined.

Additionally, I’m taking a translation course, in which I and the other students work hard to learn each other’s mother tongue. If there’s a course in which the “playing field” is pretty level, that would have to be it.

As long as these paragraphs were, English makes up very little of what I’m speaking here. I roll out of bed, rub the sleep from my eyes, and speak French with my host family at breakfast; listen to French podcasts on my 20-minute walk to the university; listen to an average of 4 hours of French lectures a day; ask other students questions about the library; speak French at dinner; and do my homework in French.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, switching from one language to another feels a lot like baking in a sauna, diving into a cold lake, and scuttling back to the sauna. It’s a shock to your system, but you get used to it—right now, I’m typing this in English and listening to my host family banter in French. Getting over myself and  being judicious about speaking English in certain situations has given me a much richer and more connected experience than I would have otherwise had. Instead of burning the bridge between myself, my native language, and my place of birth; I’m learning how to build a bridge, and weave these two lives together.

Q&A Spotlight: Kristen Coffey

Name: Kristen Coffey

Graduation Year: 2015

Major: Mass Communications Major with Tracks in Public Relations and Advertising as well as Minors in Business Administration and Marketing

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Program: TU Dublin Summer Internship Program

Q: You decided to pursue an internship abroad, how did you choose between studying and interning?

I wanted internship experience in my field different than my previous internships.  As a senior, I thought it would be beneficial to expand my professional skills and experience by interning in another country.  By interning in another country, not only did I get valuable work experience and expand my skill set, but I also experienced another culture. IMG_1227

Q: Did your internship meet your expectations in terms of work and office experience?

Yes!  I loved my marketing internship with The Helix.  Dublin is very similar to the United States in terms of work and office experience.  The work days and hours were the same, as I worked full time Monday through Friday.  The workplace culture varies in each workplace, and I found it very easy to fit in and become a part of my workplace culture.  Marketing is a global industry and is used all over the world so I enjoyed learning how The Helix markets itself as not only a theatre, but a conference and events venue as well.

Q: Did you have any unique, challenging or surprising days on the job?

I did have the chance to attend the Data Driven Marketing Alliance’s Facebook Marketing Summit Europe.  At this event, I attended two days of presentations on new ways to use social media to market your company as well as learned about various global companies that help track the performance of a social media campaign.  As the world becomes more connected via the internet and mobile, many companies are shifting in that direction to reach its consumers.

Q: You obviously got to play and travel a bit, too! What was the best part about being based in Dublin?

Being based in Dublin, it was very easy to travel into the City Center and explore everything the city had to offer.  Dublin is a huge city with so many historical landmarks and places to visit.  It was fun to do the touristy things like the Guinness Storehouse Tour, the Jameson Distillery Tour, see the Dublin Castle, walk around St. Stephen’s Green, and do lots of shopping on Grafton Street. It was also very easy to travel to other parts of Ireland from Dublin.  I spent every weekend either exploring the city of Dublin or visiting other parts of Ireland to see as much of the country as I possibly could!

IMG_2362

Q: Will this internship experience contribute to your future career goals? How?

This internship experience definitely contributes to my future career goals.  From this experience, I have been exposed to a new side of my field that I had not previously interned with.  My eyes were opened to the various opportunities and careers available to me as a Mass Communications major.  I learned a lot of new skills that I can bring with me to future internships and careers.

Q: Feel to add any parting words about your experience as an intern!

Interning abroad was the best way to spend seven weeks of my summer!  I had an amazing experience learning about my field of study in another country and being immersed into a culture different than my own.  I loved interacting with the locals and learning about their career goals.  It was nice to be interacting and working with people who share the same passion for the mass communications and marketing industries.  I loved having weekends free to explore Ireland and take as much as I could in!

 

Overcoming Curveballs Abroad

This post is the third installment in a semester-long series of posts from Towson senior Allie Woodfin. Allie is studying this Fall 2014 semester at the University of Avignon. You can also follow along on her tumblr at:http://provisoirementprovencale.tumblr.com/ 

tumblr_ncznyqNueg1tkiq0jo1_500

Hi everyone! It’s been a while–my laptop suddenly crashed three weeks ago, which is why I haven’t been writing. So, here’s the story about what happened, how I resolved it, what I learned, and what I suggest for future study abroad students who might find themselves in the same situation.

I turned on my laptop on one Saturday morning, to find that it would only stay on a screen with an Apple logo and folder with a question mark. According to forums I found on my tiny iPhone screen, I would probably need my hard drive replaced. So here I was in France, with homework to finish and a mountain of tests looming in the next month, with a possibly broken laptop. That was a curveball I wasn’t expecting.

I asked my host parents (Mac owners) for a suggestion on a repair shop at dinner that night. Their recommendation was for a place about 5km from our house. I walked to the shop on a pleasant afternoon, explained the problem, and left my computer there for almost three weeks while it was being repaired.

Every time I had do so something that usually required my computer, I had to find an alternative. As it turns out, my iPhone could do everything I needed (even as a non-functioning phone, apps still work fine over WiFi). I researched for classes, kept up with friends back home with social media apps, and even had two interviews via Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting.

It probably sounds like I just shrugged, opened a few iPhone apps, and moved on. But, it was kind of like trying to turn on light switches after the power has gone out. It was inconvenient, but I made it work. The university has free computers, which also forced me to learn how to use an international keyboard–something that I’d admittedly been avoiding.

I learned to be realistic about what I actually need. Was it rock bottom to sit in a chair at a public computer and tap at a big, foreign keyboard until my work was finished? Not even close.

There was one thing I did before this happened that made my life much easier, which I highly recommend for future study abroad students. Before you leave, and as you acquire files on study abroad, upload everything you don’t want to lose (or just want to have handy) to Google Drive. Photos, Word documents, PDFs, anything. You have 30GB of free storage in your TU Gmail—use it ! Since I have copies of some important documents in mine, I set up two-factor authentification, which is not as high-tech as it sounds—you provide a phone number when you set it up, and Google sends you a verification code to your phone so you can log in.

So, I have my computer back (128 euros later), had an excuse to walk almost 18km in beautiful Provence, learned how to accept a repair estimate and pay an invoice, and learned how to work around a curveball. As I found, even if you can’t immediately field a curveball all by yourself, there are almost always people and resources around you to help you do so.

 

Honors Seminar in Cuba!

a9588e6755b2bdb776889aa5c50d9776

Havana, Cuba

This Spring, we have a unique opportunity for our students!

Dr. Colleen Ebacher will be teaching a semester-long course here at Towson in which students will be able to spend 10 days in Havana, Cuba during Spring Break 2015.

Here are the highlights:

  • Fulfills HONR 370 OR an Honors College upper level elective
  • Limited number of spaces available to non-Honors College students who will earn credit for SPAN 370
  • Cost: $4,250 (which includes airfare)
  • Dates: March 12 – 22, 2015

* Application Deadline is November 3, 2014 *

For more information on the program, please visit the website: www.towson.edu/cubaHONR

For a look at the sights of Cuba in a photo slideshow, click here!

Q&A Spotlight: Kelly Coffey

Name: Kelly Coffey
Graduation Year: 2017
Major: Mathematics Major with a concentration in Actuarial Science and Risk Management
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Program: TU Dublin Summer Internship Program

Q: You decided to pursue an internship abroad, how did you choose between studying and interning?

The main reason why I chose to intern abroad rather than study abroad was that I could gain firsthand experience in my intended profession while also gaining a global perspective.  Interning in Dublin would allow me to see what Actuaries do in Ireland compared to the United States.  Also, the professional and educational experiences that I would gain from interning abroad would be beneficial to both my future career and my current education.  I felt that interning would give me a more well-rounded study abroad experience through the professional, educational, and social aspects.

Q: Did your internship meet your expectations in terms of work and office experience?

My internship exceeded my expectations in terms of work and office experience.  I was able to accurately complete tasks that I did not think I would be able to do without sufficient knowledge in the actuarial field.  The employees took time to explain the task and provide me with the knowledge I needed.  I gained an immense amount of knowledge about the actuarial field, business world, and social aspects of Ireland.  This was my first internship and I feel that I learned so much about my intended profession and the country of Ireland at the same time.

Trim Castle

Trim Castle

Q: Did you have any unique, challenging or surprising days on the job?

Some of my most unique, challenging, or surprising days on the job occurred during my first week at my internship.  Most of the difficulties came from trying to adjust to the culture, learning the new words/ phrases, and adapting to the high speed talking. Due to the fast paced talking speed, I had a huge challenge in decoding what the Irish were saying to me.  There were times when I would be in a group of people and they would talk so fast to one another that I was convinced they were speaking another language.  Also, when I was asked to do certain tasks, some of the words that were used were words I had never heard or seen before, so I had to consistently for clarification.

Q: You obviously got to play and travel a bit, too! What was the best part about being based in Dublin?

The best part about being placed in Dublin was that I could easily spend hours wandering around the city always finding a new place or travel anywhere within the country in about 4 to 5 hours max.  There were certain days that my sister and I would go into to Dublin on a weekend afternoon to just explore, wander aimlessly, and somehow always find our way back to an area we recognized.  I also really enjoyed that I could travel so easily from Dublin.  There were airports, train stations, bus stops, and the tram that could take you all around Dublin and throughout the country of Ireland.

Gaelic Football Game

Gaelic Football Game

Q: Will this internship experience contribute to your future career goals? How?

I strongly believe that my internship abroad experience will contribute to my future career goals.  In Dublin, I was an actuarial intern for an insurance company and as a Mathematics major with a concentration in Actuarial Science and Risk Management, my future career goal is to become an actuary.  My internship displayed what actuaries do on a daily basis.  Being able to experience another country’s mathematics industry helped to build my knowledge both professionally and academically which benefits both my future career and current education.  I also made international connections within my intended profession that can help me to further my future career goals.

Q: Feel to add any parting words about your experience as an intern!

Take the opportunity to intern abroad!  You not only learn about the country, but you also learn about your profession in another country.  Being able to intern abroad will give you the benefits of studying abroad while also allowing you to globally broaden your professional connections.

 

The French Way of Life

This post is the second installment in a semester-long series of posts from Towson senior Allie Woodfin. Allie is studying this Fall 2014 semester at the University of Avignon.

You can also follow along on her tumblr at: http://provisoirementprovencale.tumblr.com/

tumblr_nbj1r8KiB01tkiq0jo1_1280My favorite thing about life here is that the French love pleasure. Let me define pleasure: not blind hedonism, and not reckless indulgence punctuated with regret—but civilized appreciation for things that make life taste sweet. Things that tend to be quietly looked down upon in the U.S.: relishing delicious food, taking long vacations, kissing for more than a few seconds—are parts of life here. In America, we scuttle through enjoyment as if we don’t deserve it. As if we should always be cutting carbs, checking emails on vacation, yo-yo dieting, and waiting until no one’s around to kiss our loved ones. There is a reason why foreigners fall in love with the French lifestyle—because the French love the French lifestyle.

As much as Americans love the leisure, wine, and cheese that France takes so much pride in, we have a hard time understanding how that can be a lifestyle instead of a vacation diet (to be halfheartedly sweated off in guilty elliptical workouts later). Here’s the difference, according to Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat: ‘French women think about good things to eat; American women typically worry about bad things to eat.'” The mindset here seems to be that if you’re going to do something at all, do it right, and enjoy it.

I’m living with a host family that owns a local restaurant, and have had no choice but to embrace that mindset wholeheartedly. We eat whatever’s in season and whatever is unbearably tasty: quiches with walnuts and blue cheese, tomatoes stuffed with spicy pork sausage, galettes baked with ham, tomatoes, and eggs. And unless the sky is falling or we’re especially tired that evening, we finish the meal with fresh bread, flavorful cheese wrapped in paper, and creamy yogurts flavored with lemon, chocolate, or Madagascar vanilla.

Even my salad at the airport on my first day in France was delicious: a salad of crisp and frilly lettuce, salty prosciutto, soft mozzarella, and a slick and tangy blend of olive oil & balsamic poured from its very own doll-sized bottle. In the U.S., this would be $17, considered gourmet, and on the “skinny” menu. In France, this came from a cardboard box and cost about 6€. No healthy humblebrag label, just good food. Food that makes you smile when you’re finished.

But to smile at the end of your rich and delicious meal, you can’t be miserably full. Moderation is the key to guiltless enjoyment. It’s also a matter of health and well-being. I learned this from a YouTube ad for Roquefort Société, touting slices of salty, creamy cheese flecked with steel-green veins. Just as the commercial was about to end, it gently warned potential customers: “Pour votre santé, évitez de grignoter entre les repas.” That basically means ,“for your health, avoid snacking between meals.” There’s a website to prove it (mangerbouger.fr)

If you’re snacking or overeating, you’re either dissatisfied with your food or dissatisfied with something in your life (which is why emotional eating is a problem for so many people). You can’t hurry through the pleasurable parts of your life and expect to be satisfied. And, you certainly can’t mistake your guilt afterwards as guilt for indulging—instead, recognize that as guilt for cheating yourself out of the full enjoyment of something wonderful. Next time you’re tempted to binge-eat fat-free, sugar-free ice cream in the privacy of your home, go buy a single scoop of rich, sweet goodness, eat it on a sunny stroll, and remember the difference. Moderation is the key to pleasure—and you deserve it.

– Alexandra Woodfin – 

On Location in France: Allie in Avignon

This post is the first installment in a semester-long series of posts from Towson senior Allie Woodfin. Allie is studying this Fall 2014 semester at the University of Avignon. You can also follow along on her tumblr at: http://provisoirementprovencale.tumblr.com/ 

Avignon, France

Avignon, France

I’m studying abroad this semester in Avignon, France! It’s my senior year at TU, and since I finished my Economics major with a summer course, I finally have the opportunity to intensively study French at the University of Avignon.

Avignon is a beautiful city, and was even named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. However, I chose Avignon instead of a destination like Paris because I wanted immersion. Paris is very international, and I was warned that it would be difficult to immerse in French since there are so many English speakers. People talk about the value of being “immersed” in a language or culture, but it’s something I didn’t completely understand before I arrived here. As soon as I disembarked from my overnight flight to Paris, however, it started to make sense. I had to listen for announcements in French, read signs in French, and ask a baggage agent about my suitcase.

Many people in Paris spoke English, but the farther south I went, the less English I heard and the more I realized that immersion is “sink or swim.” In a country where everyone speaks the language you’re trying to learn, you don’t get a cookie or an A+ for remembering a word or conjugating your sentence properly. All that means is that you got your thoughts across. If there’s a “real world” version of learning a foreign language, immersion would have to be it!

Immersion in a language that isn’t your first is like distance swimming in very cold water. You can always hop out of that water and take a warm break in your first language, but that only makes it harder to jump back into the language you’re learning. My best days with French have been when I’ve stayed in the cold water and kept my English exposure minimal.

One of the best things I’ve learned is to have patience. Provided that you’re polite and speak clearly, people generally catch on to the fact that you’re learning their language—and as one person told me, it’s flattering that someone wants to come to their county and learn. My Airbnb host was a wonderful listener, and praised me for speaking well. I was very shy at first because I was afraid of saying something incorrectly, but the more I spoke, the more confident I became.

I live with a host family now, which means that if I’m at home, we are speaking French. Emmanuel taught me how to make coffee and lock up the house, all in French, and Odile teaches me about Provençal food and French culture. Their 9-year-old daughter Clara is very smart, and I’ve learned just from keeping up with her! I can understand about 85% of what’s being said, but my goal is to be able to really hold up my end of a conversation.

Reaching that goal will require a lot of discipline. Before I left, I decided that I wanted to reserve one day a week for English—Skype, Facebook, and blogging. That hasn’t been easy, especially as I tie up loose ends in the U.S. and am meeting other exchange students whose common language is English. Once classes start and I’m meeting more French students, I’m looking forward to how much I’ll learn about this beautiful language.

What to Know about Florence, Italy

Trivial things I learned in Florence

Name: Kim Le
Major: Art and Design
Hometown: Hochimin, Vietnam
Destination: Florence, Italy
Institution: TU in Italy: Lorenzo de’Medici, Florence campus

1. Street signs are on the buildings, not on a pole in the corner, or hanging in the middle of the streets. And since most of them are so old and made of stone, chance are good that they are hard to read, missing letters, or better yet, covered by construction.

Florence, Italy study abroad

Signs in Florence, Italy

2. There are water fountains. Drinkable water fountains, though I am somewhat wary since a professor told me back in the day they recycled the old marble coffins as bowls for these water fountains. However, since the Florence tourist website says it is safe to drink this water, I would assume that I am just being paranoid. Still, the water fountains are everywhere in the city, and they have very cool decorations.

3. It will rain or it will shine–actually, it will  probably do both. Weather forecasts are not accurate in Florence, for whenever it wants to rain or shine, the weather completely disregards the forecast. I have had weekends when the forecast said there would be thunderstorm, and it turned out perfectly sunny, and vice versa. Tip? Bring an umbrella all time, and maybe, maybe, if I really want to take that perfect trip, just ignore the rainy forecast and hope for the best.

4. Move away, there is a horse! Yes, there are horses walking on Florence’s streets, mostly in the historic center, but it is a very real possibility that someone might get in the way of a horse or two. They are only for touristic purposes, but still, it is amusing trying to avoid a horse carriage while walking to class.

Florence, Italy Study Abroad

Horses galore in Florence, Italy!

5. Churches, churches everywhere! I lost count of how many churches I walk pass on my way to the market, the river or basically anywhere. While most churches are in Italian (as they should be!), there are some churches that offer mass in English, including the great Duomo. Most churches themselves deserve to be a tourist attraction for their architectural style and ages, plus some even have creepy ghost stories of their own!

 

Studying in Florence: Myth Busters

Study Abroad Myths Busted

Study Abroad Myths Busted

Name: Kim Le
Major: Art and Design
Hometown: Hochimin, Vietnam
Destination: Florence, Italy
Institution: TU in Italy: Lorenzo de’Medici, Florence campus

First, I must say that I absolutely love all my classes in Florence, including the elective class that made me write 12 pages research with 1.5 space (yes, I am looking at you, History of Costume!). Nearing the end of the semester, though, like every other sane college students, I am starting to look back in horror at the huge distance between reality and my expectation of classes in Florence. What happened to a ‘relaxing and carefree semester filled with adventures and making new friends and… what do you mean classes? What are classes?’ Sitting here in the middle of the night drowning in homework was certainly not what I expected before leaving, but it makes me wonder how much of myths were there in all these opinions about studying abroad. I have heard so many but right now, I can count the most popular ones here:

1. Classes are EASY.

Being an Art major taking three studio classes this semester, I have to say, 5 hours classes are not easy. I am allowed 2 absences for each class, but when skipping a studio class means 5 hours extra work, no idea how to use new techniques, and what is that new disaster on my table that no professor is around telling me how to fix?! The materials for all classes are not easy either. A sentence I cannot forget from my professor is “This is a very good class; everyone is doing very well, so I will give all a B”. The difference?  There are only B+ or B-, no normal B. I am still not sure if this is funny or not, since the way he said it so sincerely like he was giving the whole class an A and compliments. It does not help at all that homework is poking at me every chance it has, making sure my love affair with open lab studio outweighed the joy of beaches and mountains and ancient cities that I could have visited more if only I have more time.

Students Study Abroad

Students actually study during study abroad!
Photo Courtesy of Tulane Public Relations

2. Attendance is not important.

Third absence – one grade down, fourth absence – congrats, you just failed a class! It actually scared me in the beginning, because, come on, who would make us choose between an extra day in Greece or France and two hours of class (if you are lucky, since studio classes last 5 hours a week, or probably unlucky enough having to stay just because of 2 hours)? Nearly no excuse would EVER be accepted, even if you were sick with doctor’s note.

3. Classes? Which classes?

Okay, when I read the advising articles online, it seemed that classes do not even exist to us studying abroad students, or at least not related much to our experiences. What a lie. I learned and enjoyed my classes so much that I do not even mind (much) the long hours and extra hours spent on studio (which is such a scary idea I must burry it down to the deepest pit of self-denial). The classes’ facilities are not the best, but all of my professors are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable that now I am regretting having to leave.