I’ve always loved a city with a nice butte; a place to leave behind the troubles of the city, while looking down on them… reflecting. Or partying… Either way, the best cities of my life have had buttes: Eugene (Skinner’s Butte and Spencer’s Butte), Portland (Mt. Tabor), and of course, ol’ Paris (Montmartre). Since I [...]
After the first four days in Quito, Ecuador living with my host family in one of the busiest intersections i have ever seen, i was more than ready to fly to the Galapagos Islands for a week. As an environmental science nerd, I was almost too excited to see the islands that Charles Darwin studied [...]
It was early December and my five month study abroad experience in Quito, Ecuador was nearing an end but there was still one last celebration in which I needed to partake—Las Fiestas de Quito. A focal point of these festivities are the bullfights, which occur every day for nine days straight. It was [...]
During my semester in Granada, Spain, I became fascinated by the Alhambra, a palace and fortress built there by the Moors centuries ago. It’s an awe-inspiring place; the buildings and patios are filled with intricate Islamic designs, from delicate wooden screens to colorful tilework, and the gardens are filled with the sound of birds and [...]
Studying abroad in Granada, Spain was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. This is not only because of the knowledge I gained, Spanish I learned, friendships I made, or places I traveled. It was because of the confidence I gained in myself today.
During the application process one year ago, [...]
People ask me over and over again the same exact question, as if they all got together and decided to annoy me, “Oh my god, how was Spain?!” My answer is always honest and simple, “It had its ups and downs like everything else in life, but overall I really enjoyed the experience.” [...]
While I was studying abroad in Japan, a Japanese friend of mine living back in the States committed suicide. My sorrow was too intense to describe. I could not handle being abroad at that time; I felt that I should be back in America, grieving at the site where he passed away and comforting others who had known him. The Office of International Affairs at Tokyo International University asked us not to talk about it too much with the Japanese students, fearing they’d become depressed. But I couldn’t help but reach out to a few of my closer Japanese friends. I needed, for myself, to let them know that my life had been changed forever. And, looking for reasons why my friend might have taken his own life, I wanted to put his death in the cultural context of his home country. I thought that it might explain everything.
I have never been more scared in my life than when my plane landed in Quito, Ecuador. I was thinking “What the hell am I doing here? I don’t speak Spanish well enough to get around in a country that speaks Spanish.” I soon learned that it is all about determination. [...]
I hate to admit it, but Stacy was right when she said you MUST create local friendships to truly get the most out of an immersion program. Granted, this is far far harder than it sounds (I met my friends by dating a local boy), but if you can find a way into a group [...]
This is not a particularly striking photo, I know, but the memories that this photo invokes for me are striking. In late January 2009, along with sixteen other Willamette students who were also spending the semester in Ireland, I spent four days in Connemara, Ireland, which is a gaeltact, or Irish gaelic-speaking region. We were [...]