Willamette World News

Willamette World News

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Greetings From Across the Pond!

Hi Willamette community! My name is Rita. You may know me already, or have seen me around campus as I studied at Willamette and graduated in May 2014 with a degree in Spanish and in Latin American Studies. I also worked as Spanish/German Liaison for the Language Learning Center (aka the lovely folks who organize this blog), and was manager there during my senior year. The reason I was invited to write alongside all these fabulous international students who are starting to integrate themselves into WU life is that, since leaving my cozy Salem home I have chosen to lead a rather international life, which the WWN team thinks will be interesting and maybe even educational (we’ll see). So anyway, here’s a brief introduction of myself and my plans for the future.

WU grad!

I actually hail from the Sonoran desert of Tucson, AZ and, as I mentioned above, I studied at Willamette although I wasn’t there all four years. My junior year I transferred to a university in Córdoba, Argentina for one year. It was an incredible year in which I also had the opportunity to travel a lot and go backpacking for three months. I spent time in Ecuador, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, and of course, Argentina, and it was a spectacular adventure that really cemented my love of travelling and the Spanish language.

In the mountains of Peru with alpacas and Peruvian ladies

Back at Willamette for my final year I was faced with the soul-ripping decision all seniors must face: what’s next? Grad school, job, or travel? What I finally decided on was to work hard, as much as I could (which was a complete pleasure to do at the LLC), then spend the summer traveling before attending grad school in the fall. I decided to study Professional Translation at a university in Wales, which I’ll begin on Monday. So far I’ve executed my plan perfectly, I’ve traveled all over Europe for the past three months, and have backpacked in 14 countries. It’s been a spectacular adventure but I haven’t stayed in one city for longer than six days so you can imagine I’m rather relieved to have settled in Wales.

Mostar, Bosnia

In Budapest, Hungary looking out on the Parliament building

In Augsburg Germany, when Germany won the World Cup

Eiffel tower pic!

At the Tomatina festival near Valencia, Spain

Swansea, Wales is a remarkable town of about 200,000 people and it’s right on the coast. You can see ocean from certain parts of campus and it’s really just right across the street. I’ve been having really great experiences with all the lovely people here (both Welsh and other internationals), and I feel that my American accent has never been more appreciated. I’m living in a flat with three Brazilians and another American, and we’re probably the five loudest speakers attending this fine university. We have a lot of fun though and swapping language lessons.

Rhossili beach

King Arthur's Stone

In my first week here I’ve visited the Gower coast, which is the number 1 beach in the UK and the number 10 in the world, spent the day in Cardiff with a Welsh friend who studied abroad at Willamette my sophomore year, attended an international dinner which served Welsh food and featured Welsh dancing, and participated in several “freshers” events, which are wild and tons of fun. “Fresher’s Week” is basically the initiation week for new students where they sign up for classes, receive orientations, and of course, there are crazy parties, concerts, and events every night for all the 18 year olds who are away from home and drinking for the first time. I don’t necessarily fit into this group so most nights I just go to a pub with some new, maturer friends who make me feel less old. It’s always interesting and occasionally hilarious to answer questions about the U.S. So far my favorite has been, “Are fraternity parties like they are in Monster’s University?”

I’m really excited to share all my discoveries with you throughout this year. Good luck to all the new internationals and to everyone studying hard at Willamette right now! Hasta luego!



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  2.   By Paul Romain on Oct 7, 2014 | Reply


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