Where Will You Go This Summer?

Now’s the time to start planning ahead. Take a look at what we have on tap for Summer 2017 faculty-led programs!

Application deadline: March 15th

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*Countries shaded in cobalt blue and teal are locations of summer programs

Not sure which program is right for you? Contact an advisor at studyabroad@towson.edu!

Summer 2015 faculty-led application deadline extended!

Several faculty-led study abroad programs for Summer 2015 are still open for application!

Extended application deadline of FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015.

Extended application deadline of FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2015.

  • Spain/SPAN
  • Spanish Language and Culture in Spain
    • 4 weeks in Madrid: May 23 to June 21, 2015
      • Earn 6 credits: 3 credits of SPAN + 3 credits unspecified lower elective
    • 4 weeks in Madrid + 2 weeks in Alicante: May 23 to July 5, 2015
      • Earn 6 credits of SPAN

A complete study abroad application will include:

  • Application form found online by logging in at www.towson.edu/horizons 
  • Copy of your current passport or receipt proving passport application in progress
  • $250 non-refundable deposit by check or credit card
  • Copy of your transcript
    • Note: Some programs have pre-requisites, check the program descriptions!

Got questions? Contact our office at 410-704-2451 or studyabroad@towson.edu. 

From Australia to Costa Rica

This is part two of Towson alumnus Zachary Renner’s story on life after study abroad in Costa Rica. We are so pleased so share his adventures, and are grateful that he contacted us to do so!

Zachary Renner
Studied Abroad Sophomore Year
The University of The Sunshine Coast, Australia
Graphic Design Major
Graduated from Towson Spring 2010

The following winter, I convinced three friends to go on a surf trip to Costa Rica. We spent three weeks hunting down waves on the Pacific Coast and camping in the back yards of local homes. The people I met in Costa Rica seemed to really enjoy life. Many of them had with far fewer possessions then anyone I knew in the United States. I could tell Costa Rica was very special place, and could easily see myself spending more time there. As graduation was getting closer, I ready to catch a plane to just about anywhere, start bouncing around from country to country like those kids I had met in Australia.

The last part of the Graphic Design degree is the senior portfolio review. That semester Towson was short a teacher so they brought in Hud, the owner of a small graphic design firm in Washington DC. One of my design teachers caught me in the hallway after my review and asked that I show some of my work to Hud. He was apparently looking for a new designer. Hud liked my work and called me on the phone shortly after to come in for an interview.

My mind was already completely set on starting my travels, but I knew how fortunate I was, and how hard I had worked to get opportunities like this. I very difficultly decided that if I was offered the job, I would take it. I would work as along as I could stand it, then start my adventures. Figuring that traveling would be a lot easier with money, was also appealing. I picked an amount of money that I thought I could travel on for at least two years, and started my 8:30 to 6 job. Commuting from Towson to DC, parking four miles from my office, and skateboarding in to work. I did everything I could to save money and reach that number faster.

I left my job on great terms about 15 months from the day I was hired. Fortunately, Hud fully understood what I was after. When I told him I would like to leave the company to travel, he gave me $100 and told me take my girlfriend to a nice dinner to celebrate. He is an amazing guy, and I still do freelance work for him.

Me and Kate both decided it would be nice to really immerse ourselves in a culture. So we would stay at our first country for a year or so. We decided on Costa Rica. We already knew that I liked it. Costa Rica is also close to the United States, so we would get plenty of visitors.

I left Xanthus Design in August and flew to Costa Rica in September. No idea where I would live, what I would do, or how I would speak to anyone in Spanish. Stayed in a few hostels for about a month before finding El Castillo.

El Castillo (the castle), was an abandoned, run down hostel/hotel/bar/restaurant on the Pacific coast of the country. It is absolutely secluded on a protected beach for sea turtle nesting. The drive to the closest town takes between 20 minutes and 1 hour depending on whether or not the river is low enough to drive your car/motorcycle through it. I am unique in my ability to see possibilities in things that are far from functional as anything. I told Kate that I found something for us to do, but to give me a little bit of time to make it livable.

I learned how to run electricity, fix plumbing, build bed frames, and talk enough Spanish. I bought a car, mattresses from Nicaragua, pots, pans, a stove… About two months after I arrived, we accepted our first guest.

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We have been doing this for three years now and I am pleased to say that El Castillo is now a fully functional hostel and pizza restaurant. We always have at least one volunteer that lives here. I give surf lessons, perform all of the maintenance, and am the pizza chef. When we have free time we take trips to Panama, Nicaragua or places that we have not seen in Costa Rica.

About two years ago we saw the possibility to get El Castillo more involved in our community. We started by hosting kids movies nights. We have now hosted several community fund raisers, Christmas parties, and grass roots art festivals. Since we always have young, able guys and girls staying here, it was really easy to start a volunteer hostel.

Most people love to help. It is hard to take a multi-week or multi-month vacation without feeling a little useless. So when people arrive here and see that there is work they can do they are really excited. Foreign guys and girls learn some Spanish and about a different culture.

We built a big concrete half pipe for skateboarding. It turned out amazing, we even had some skateboards donated from friends in the United States. We have had people drive long distances to skateboard here since it is one of the only ramps in the country. We held an online fund raiser to build playground and library for the local school. We received donations from all over the world. Before our 50 book library cabinet, the kids only had a few black and white copies of textbooks. The leftover money from the playground will go into the future library building with even a few computers.

Summer 2015 Faculty-Led Program: Second Language Learning in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest

Second Language Learning in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest

Samira Martinez Spring 2011

Photo Courtesy of Samira Martinez, Spring 2011

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Courses: REED 350 OR REED 650

Fearless Leaders: Dr Stephen Mogge

Site visits: Beach towns on the Nicoya PeninsulaArenal Volcano, and the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose

Did you know it is called the Cloud Forest because it has 100% humidity, which allows it to maintain tremendous biodiversity!

To see the Horizons program page click here!

Photo Courtesy of Katie Brennan, Mini 2013

Q&A Spotlight: Katie Brennan

Name: Katie Brennan
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Destination: Costa Rica
Institution: Environmental Education and Service Learning in the Tropics

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Q: FOOD, your favorite subject & ours. Best dish? Worst dish? New recipe you picked up?

A: The food was surprisingly very plain. I was expecting spicy Mexican type food, but it was actually very different from that. There was chicken, plain rice, and beans for almost every meal. My favorite thing to eat was the fresh fruit. Every morning, the breakfast bar was full of pineapple, papaya, watermelon, and bananas. I also tried guava and cashew juice! These were definitely not my favorite things, but it was fun to be able to try them. One day, we took a cooking class where we learned how to make empanadas and fried plantains!

Q: PLACES, talk about your favorite spot in your home away from home. Where? Why?

A: During our two weeks in Costa Rica, we visited many different cities. My absolute favorite was the Sarapiquí region. Here, we stayed at the Selva Verde Lodge which was right in the middle of the rainforest. Each morning I would wake up and hear Howler Monkeys outside of my window. While we were in Sarapiquí, we were able to visit a local school and spend time with the kids there. This was an awesome experience. As an elementary education major, it was amazing to see the difference between the school in Costa Rica and schools in the United States. I thought that it was interesting that the students all prayed together before eating lunch and brushed their teeth before returning to class. At recess, the students played soccer together outside of the school. It was nice to see that a lack of resources and money did not stop the children from getting an education. It was obvious that the teachers really cared for the students and the students were excited to have the opportunity to learn.

Q: SPEAKING OF, what new vocabulary have you added to your repertoire after study abroad?

A: Pura Vida! This is the unofficial slogan of Costa Rica. Literally, it means pure life, but it is used as an expression that means full of life or good life. It is a common greeting and is often said when people are happy about something.


Q: WEEKENDS, full of travel. Where did you go? How did you choose? Was it difficult to plan?

A: We only had one free day to explore since the trip was only two weeks long. We were able to choose between horse-back riding and zipling. I decided to go ziplining because it sounded exciting. Ironically, I am terrified of heights! However, my fear is what pushed me to try it. Before I left for the trip, I decided that I would take this experience as an opportunity to try new things and face my fears. Zipling was certainly a way to do this! For the first few lines, I was so scared. I remember my hands and legs shaking as I waited for my turn on the platform. To make things worse, I got stuck on my first ride. I had to turn around and pull myself back to the platform. Although I started off on the wrong foot, I was having a blast by the time I finished. I was proud of myself for trying something new and going out of my comfort zone!


Q: PARTING WORDS. What would you say to students worried / concerned / afraid of studying abroad?
 

A: I was extremely nervous about studying abroad. I had never been out of the country and did not know what to expect. I also grew up twenty minutes away from Towson, so I had never really been far away from my family and friends. I did not know anyone who was going on the trip and was afraid that I would be lonely and homesick. While the first day took some adjusting, I quickly became close to my classmates. I was with them all day everyday so it was pretty much impossible to not make friends. I was able to experience a life that was so different from what I was used to in Maryland which really expanded my view of the world. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for having the opportunity to study abroad. Doing so pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me face my fears. Even though studying abroad can be unnerving at first, it is definitely worth it! I am so glad that I did not let my fears keep me from having the time of my life!

Photo Contest Submissions

Even though these pictures did not win the majority vote, they are still spectacular in their own right! Here are a few more submissions from our fall 2012 photo contest:

Amsterdam

Amsterdam – Patrick Isen

China

China – Winta Tedros

Costa Rica

Costa Rica – Brenna Casey

Costa Rica Trees

Costa Rica – Meghan McArdle

London Phone Booth

England – Leigh Anne Weaver

Greece

Greece – Rachel Urban

Italy

Italy – Alexis Small

Italian Soccer Game

Italy – Erin McGall

Spain

Spain – Caroline Kelley

Switzerland

Switzerland – Jordan Horowitz