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!

How to Survive Reverse Culture Shock 101

My name is Amanda Reid, and I am a junior at Towson double majoring in Spanish and International Studies and planning to graduate in the spring of 2018.  I was born and raised in Bel Air, Maryland, so travelling through ISA to Madrid, Spain for nine months was a huge life change for me.  Before I left for my trip abroad, everyone always warned me about the culture shock that I would feel when I landed abroad.  What they don’t tell you is how strange it is to come home and see that while you have changed so much, everything in your hometown is exactly the same as when you left.  Sure, a store may have moved into the local mall and they finally finished the construction on the road where you always commute, but the place that used to be your whole world now seems much smaller in the grand scheme of things.  After living in Madrid for nine months, coming home to Harford County, MD, and readjusting was definitely a struggle.

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Overall, my time abroad was an incredible experience.  I met people from all over the world, created friendships that will last a lifetime, and made more memories than I can count.  Before I left for Spain, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and after being there I now know that I want to study international management and learn as many languages as I can while I’m still in school.  The harsh reality of coming back is that you want to leave again right away and have another great adventure, but you probably drained your bank account while you were abroad.  Below are a few tips on things I have done since returning home to help me cope with the fact that I currently don’t have the funding to travel everywhere I still want to go.

  1. There are things to do in your home state: Specifically in Maryland you have Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington, DC, not far from where you are. Plan day trips to go hiking in parks, go to ballgames, go out to restaurants, go to concerts, and learn to embrace the culture of your home.  When I came home, I went to a lantern festival, which was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced and it was only an hour drive from my house.  To quote the movie UP, “Adventure is out there,” and sometimes it may even be in your own backyard.
  2. Find a local hangout spot: this is a huge tip for people who have just returned home. Find a local coffee shop, bookstore, park, etc., and get your homework and papers done there instead of staying at home.
  3. Volunteer with the study abroad office: The study abroad office is full of people who also studied abroad. They are either going through or went through the exact same reverse culture shock you are experiencing, and talking about your travels with someone as equally passionate as you helps make the transition easier.
  4. Plan your next adventure: Plan a week-long trip to visit friends you met abroad in another state, plan a weekend trip to the beach, plan your next trip abroad; planning the next adventure helps take the sting off of the fact that your abroad adventure is over for now.
  5. Find restaurants in your area that serve the same food as the country you traveled to: After my first month of satisfying my Chickfila and Qdoba cravings, I began to crave Spanish food.  Baltimore has a restaurant called Tío Pepe where I was finally able to find some gazpacho and paella. It does not taste exactly the same, but it satisfies the craving just the same.
  6. Continue to stay in contact with the people you studied abroad with: I am still in contact with many of the people with whom I have traveled the world, and we are now organizing trips to visit each other.  Even if you can’t visit each other, they are also learning to readjust to their lives at home just as much as you are and are great people with whom to talk.
  7. Embrace the fact that study abroad changed your perspectives. I experienced so many breakdowns of stereotypes I had based on what I saw in the news, and now that I’m back, I frequently debate with my family and classmates over different topics due to my changed perspective.

Perhaps the most difficult question anyone has asked me since I’ve been back is “How was study abroad?!” the way they would ask how a week-long vacation was.  I was gone for almost an entire year and there is no way I can answer that question with just a one word response, or even a sentence for that matter.  Madrid is my home almost as much as Harford County is.  Although the readjustment to life in Maryland has been difficult, it has helped me come to appreciate the things that exist within an hour drive from me while also giving me time to analyze my time abroad and start organizing the next steps in my life as well as my next adventure.

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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!

 

STEM student in Spain

Leili Zamini - Spain - Spring 2015Leili Zamini studied abroad in Spring 2015 in Seville, Spain prior to graduating from Towson with a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics. Leili applied for and was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship for study abroad and was recently highlighted by the same program. 

Learn more about the Gilman scholarship here.
Learn more about Leili’s program in Sevilla, Spain here.

Seville, Spain is a city like no other. It is a big city with a small town feel. My study abroad experience there opened my eyes to the ways of life in Andalusia. The laidback way of life in Seville is one of its most well known characteristics. The locals are always outside enjoying a drink or tapa and it is rare to see families spending time stuck inside the house. Besides spending time learning about the culture and enjoying the entertainment Seville had to offer, I also took the time to investigate their healthcare system, especially in relation to dentistry. I was interested in learning more about the dental field in Spain, as I will be starting dental school at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry this fall.

At the International Studies Abroad study center, I took a class called “Spanish for Healthcare Professionals”. This course was taught in Spanish and it covered topics relating to the public and private healthcare in Spain. While the class taught me a lot about healthcare in Spain, it was not until I met with Dr. Mateos that I learned the most about the dental field in Spain. Dr. Mateos, a periodontist and owner of Clínica Mateos, visited our class one day to present about his career in dentistry in Spain. As one of the only pre-dental students in the class, he invited me to visit his clinic and meet his staff one afternoon. I learned from him that dentistry is currently an evolving field in Spain. He informed me that while there is a long way to go, people have become more interested in taking preventative measures for their oral health. During my visit at the clinic, I also learned that dentists in Europe lack many of the newly advanced technology that are utilized by many dental schools in the United States.

My experience visiting Dr. Mateos left me feeling grateful for the dental field we have in the United States, but also inspired to become a part of a larger movement where American dentists have access to exchange knowledge with European dentists. I know that I will continue to stay in contact with Dr. Mateos and his team while I am pursuing my dental career in the United States. The opportunity to see the differences and similarities between the dental field in the United States and Spain left me feeling more knowledgeable about my future profession. My study abroad experience will impact the way I offer care and view dentistry for the rest of my life.

My Follow-On Service Project involved creating a brochure to encourage STEM majors to study or intern abroad. In collaboration with the study abroad office at Towson University, I created a brochure that lists opportunities abroad for students in their related healthcare field. This brochure will be presented to STEM majors next year during their advising appointments. The

brochure also includes ways for students to fund their education abroad. This is where the Gilman Scholarship is promoted and students are encouraged to apply. The goal of this brochure was to provide a resource for students and to let them know that going abroad is possible and they should not let their major or financial status keep them from this valuable experience.

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.

A Semester in Granada

Name: Jordyn Jones

Year: Sophomore

Major: International Studies and Political Science

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD

Abroad Destination: Granada, Spain

Abroad Term: Spring 2015

So it’s been about a two months since I’ve packed up everything and left the only place that I have ever called home to start a new adventure in Spain and so far its been amazing! I have been to so many different cities in a short amount of time and seen so many different sites that I could never express in words how exquisite or with photographs that would do it justice.

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The top of Albyzin at Sunset

Who would ever thought that the world beyond which I knew would ever be so effortlessly beautiful that I would become speechless just by its sights.  What is even more amazing is the fact that I would even have the opportunity to participate in such an adventure!

School Building

School Building

Being here has brought so much joy in my life in just a few short weeks that no one who hasn’t studies abroad would never understand.  The world is so full of life and culture and amazing people who are willing to share it with you!  In eight weeks I’ve visited the vast and busy city of London, where I ran through the same 9 ¾ platform as Harry Potter trying to get to Hogwarts, imagined the life of the King and Queen of Spain as I walked through the halls of the royal palace in Madrid. I have stood in the same spot where Star Wars was filmed at the Plaza de Espana in Seville.

A view of Toledo

A view of Toledo

I have taken pictures with wild monkeys in Gibraltar, a country I did not even know existed! I have visited some of the greatest cathedrals in the world and last but not least I have lived in the most amazing city; Granada! A place where I walk to class in the morning with the Sierra Nevada among the horizon, and delicious tapas are served on a daily basis. In these two months I have met people I probably would have never crossed paths with if I never came here. I can’t believe in two months I learned so much academically, socially, and even things about myself.  I have done things I never even imagined myself doing, for instance hiking. It is amazing how being in a foreign country can bring out the greatest aspects of yourself. These two months have been by far the most amazing time in my life, I’m ecstatic about my last two months! Up next spring break in France, Italy, and Greece. Until next time Towson hasta luego!

Toledo Friends

Toledo, Spain

Matt takes on Europe!

Name:  Matthew Lenz

Major: Double Major in Business Administration: Marketing and E-Business

Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Hometown: Odenton, Maryland

Where I went abroad: City University – London, England

How I chose London

When I was in the beginning stages of the study abroad process, I was able to narrow my options down to three countries; Australia, Spain and England. I liked that Australia and England were English speaking countries. If I chose Spain I was committing myself to a Spanish culture and language on a daily basis. I only have 3 high school years of Spanish under my belt, so I was leaning more towards Australia and England. The Australia program was more expensive than the London program. The biggest draw to London for me was Europe. I knew that if I studied abroad in England, I would be able to easily travel to various countries in Europe.

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My Special Day

Another draw to England was the English Premier League. I have been a Chelsea FC fan since I was a young boy. When I was growing up, my only connection to my favorite club was FIFA (a video game) and weekend games. I never imagined myself sitting at the game with thousands of other Chelsea fans.

The tickets were incredibly difficult to acquire. I ended up going to the game with a friend that I met in London.  His name is Christian and I met him in one of my classes. He lived in the UK and through his connections was able to get me and my roommates some tickets.

The day before the game, I could not sleep. I had over 10 years of excitement built up and tomorrow was the day that I would finally get to watch my favorite soccer team play…in London…at Stamford Bridge…it all seemed surreal.

Our seats were located in the Shed End (south) and I was 7 rows away from the pitch. One of my role models and favorite players (Frank Lampard) was 10 yards away from me. Chelsea ended up winning the game against Stoke City 3-1. I must have taken at least 100 pictures throughout the game and cheered until I had no voice. It truly was a special day!

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My Trip to Spain

When I decided to study in London, traveling in Europe was very important to me. One of the places I was able to travel to was Spain, but I didn’t know I’d spend the night in the Barcelona airport or travel on a ferry with Spanish soccer fans during the biggest rivalry game in the country.

My roommates and I flew from Nice, France to Barcelona and then we were supposed to take a bus to Valencia (We had it all planned out in the cheapest way possible). However, our reservation, for whatever reason, did not go through. So there we were in Barcelona’s airport at 11 PM. We tried renting a car, finding a different bus or even looking for a last minute flight. Our only option was a train that left at 8 in the morning.  Being paranoid American travelers, we took shifts staying awake to “guard” our luggage.  Needless to say it was a long night….however we did end up saving money!

My journey from Mallorca to Barcelona was very interesting. We took a ferry, which we soon discovered was a very local way of traveling. The chaos all began when our non-English speaking cap driver dropped us off at the wrong boat. After waiting in line for 20 minutes we realized that we were in the wrong place and we only had 15 minutes until our ferry left without us. There were no taxis in sight and only 1.9 miles (according to google maps) to the correct location. My roommates and I then proceeded to sprint to the ferry, carrying all of our luggage. We made it there just in time, they were about to close the ramp to board.  My two American roommates and I were the only non-Hispanic people on the ferry and we were dripping in sweat. On the boat, El Clasico was taking place (One of the biggest rivalries in all of the sports world: Barcelona Fc vs Real Madrid Fc). There was a ton of yelling, screaming and angry Spanish men arguing all night long. It was certainly interesting!

These events were definitely not planned but looking back it made my study abroad experience even better. I loved Spain and I thought it was one of the best places that I traveled to.

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Every student has this opportunity to study abroad and I think every student should take it.  Studying Abroad changed my life. I work in the Study Abroad Office at Towson University to assist students so that they can have this opportunity as well.

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. 

Summer 2015 Faculty-Led Program: Spanish Language in Spain

Spanish Language in Spain

Courses: SPAN 101 Spanish Elements I, SPAN 102 Spanish Elements II, SPAN 201 Spanish Intermediate I, SPAN 202 Spanish Intermediate II, SPAN 301 Composition and Conversation I, SPAN 302 Composition and Conversation II, SPAN 305 Readings in Spanish, SPAN 371 Special Topics in Spanish, SPAN 372 Special Topics in Spanish, SPAN 373 Special Topics in Spanish – Civilization Advanced, SPAN 391 Advanced Spanish Grammar, SPAN 408 Advanced Spanish Conversation

Fearless Leaders: Dr. German DePatricio

Site visits: Flamenco performance, visits to some of Madrid’s most famous museums and sites (Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofia, Palacio Real, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza), and excursions to Segovia and Toledo.

Did you know Madrid has a population of 3 million and is the largest city in Spain and the third largest city in the European Union. Its vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere uniquely combines the old and the new.

To see the Horizons program page click here!

Q&A Spotlight: Adrianna Morgan

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Name: Adrianna Morgan
Major: Interdisciplinary Object Design + Spanish
Minor: BCLA
Grad Year: Approx Fall 2016
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Destination Abroad: Spain
Term Abroad: Summer 2014
Program Abroad: 6 week TU Faculty Lead Study Abroad Program

Q: FOOD, your favorite subject & ours. Best dish? Worst dish? New recipe you picked up?
Best Dish: Tortilla de patatas (but it made no sense to me when they would serve it on bread, that’s carbs on carbs haha), Anything with cheese (there was one tapa I had that had tomato jelly and brie on a piece of bread, I could have eaten a million of those), Croquettes

We were also really into trying every sort of different flavor of ice cream there

Worst Dish: The majority of our host mamas would prepare a jamón serrano sanwhich for us for lunch and I personally didn’t like. It had an unfavorable after taste to me.  Also they really like mayonnaise, I do not like mayonnaise like that haha.

New recipe: There were three things my host mama made that I always got excited about…
Natillas (I tried my hand at making it when i got back home), Watermelon sorbet, A rice dish of her own that included white rice, zucchini, apples, raisins, onion and red curry

Q: PLACES , talk about your favorite spot in your home away from home. Where? Why?
In Madrid: I love Latin dancing so I had two favorite dance spots, El Son in Sol and Azucar in Atocha.
In Alicante: THE BEACH!!

Q: TOP SECRET, did a local point you to a market, pub, or park you didn’t know about? Pass it on.
Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid- great market to try tapas and desserts, we went at night
The Azotea en el Círculo de Bellas Artes – beautiful roof top bar and restaurant, but you don’t necessarily need to buy form the restaurant or the bar (the items can get a little pricey) but to go up and chill and take pictures was only 3 euros. I never went during the day but it was super beautiful at night.

Q: NOPE, are there things you don’t miss from your destination? What? Why?
I was sure my answer to this question would be nope, but I did manage to think of some things. I do not miss paying for a plastic bag at the grocery stores. I do not miss how expensive things were overall in Spain in comparison to America. I do not miss the club promoters in Sol adamantly harassing you to come into their clubs and bars. I do not miss the sneaky pickpockets.

Q: YEP, you’re actually homesick for something from abroad. What? Why?
For the majority of the trip I was not home sick at all. But there was a moment where I was really missing three things. I missed spicy foods, it was kinda hard to come by in Spain. Being that I am an only child, I missed being able to play my music super loud and dance around the house by myself. I also missed my parents Trinidadian food. I was really craving some stew chicken, chana and aloo (curry chick peas and potato), and roti (type of bread like a tortilla)! Luckily that was the exact meal I got when I arrived home.

Q: SPEAKING OF, what new vocabulary have you added to your repertoire after study abroad
You are in luck! Because I kept a list of my favorite terms and colloquialisms that people used a lot in Spain:
“No pasa nada”- equivalent to “Ah its nothing” “Don’t worry about it” “Its okay”
“Vale.”- “Okay” the way to close a conversation or a sentence
“Si si si si si”- what they say when they’re like “Oh, of course, yes yes yes, say no more”
“¡Ay madre mia!”- equivalent to “Ay dios mio!” “Oh my god!”
“¡Buff!”- “Woah” “Wow” “Uff” reaction of astonishment/disbelief.  (Ex.”You stayed out till 6am? Buff! That’s crazy, you must be tired.”)
“¿En serio?”- equivalent to “For real??”
“…un montón” – “…a bunch/a lot” used with like everything. (Ex. “Cuesta un montón”- “It costs a lot”, “Pica un montón”- “Its really spicy” “Te quiero un montón”- “I love you a lot” etc.)

Q: SHOCKING , you could hardly believe your eyes when you saw … What? Why?
All of the ceilings in the cathedrals and palaces (crazy, ornate, and extravagant)
The amount and degree of public display of affection that is acceptable
Prostitutes presenting themselves in public in areas where children were present with a police station like a block away.

Q: WEEKENDS , full of travel. Where did you go? How did you choose? Was it difficult to plan?
I chose to not go anywhere but, there where two groups that did. I chose to stay in Madrid and explore parts I had not yet gone to. We had all waited a bit too long to plan our intended trip to Barcelona so things became pricey.  We also all had different budget restraints.

Q: TOUGHEST DAY , everyone has one. What challenged you while you were abroad? Why?
This was really the most annoying part of my trip. One of our teachers for two weeks in Madrid was just really difficult. She would teach us very unenthusiastically because she claimed that we were sitting there looking bored. We (a class of 4 students) were just sitting there quietly, listening, taking notes, and being engaged. We were a calm group. She wanted us to look more animated, but that just wasn’t us. We made attempts to be the type of student that she wanted but nothing was good enough.
One day she said that we looked like we didn’t want to learn the material. Then she even ended class 5 mins early because apparently we didn’t look like we were focused on the content of the class. Both of which were false assumptions. We were just waiting for her to start/ introduce the next activity or topic!!
I think that she should have modified her teaching ways to the type of group she had. She should have been the one to get the peppy going then, being inspired by her peppy-ness, we would have reciprocated.

Q: PARTING WORDS. What would you say to students worried / concerned / afraid of studying abroad?
There is no need to be worried, concerned, or afraid of studying abroad. My roommate was a wreck the first week and I would tell her this is the trip of a lifetime really, you cant let these emotions take control of you and ruin your time. Though, I would not recommend launching yourself into a new country across the ocean if you haven’t at least had some extended amount of time away from your family or parents. Do a trial run of going somewhere in the U.S. first to see how you deal with it. Remember to have an open mind, things WILL be different, you need to tolerate and deal with the ones you don’t like out of respect but also speak up when things bother you. It is important to speak up and express your concerns. Also know that there will be miscommunications if there is a language or even just stark cultural difference. These occurrences are to be expected; they always straighten themselves out. Remember that your group is there for you and you will need to be there for your group. A family like bond will be formed. Also the host families and the school is there to make sure you are comfortable. We also live in an age where we can Skype and text abroad. If you are one to miss your family a lot, DO NOT forget about these resources. Also the buddy system is strongly encouraged so you wont be alone in any situation.