MENU

Preparing for Prague with Anthony Bourdain

I’ve always loved watching Anthony Bourdain’s travel and food show, “Parts Unknown.” Through my TV screen, I’ve joined in on Bourdain’s travels across the world. From a distance, I accompanied Bourdain on his $6 meal with President Obama in Hanoi, Vietnam; his pub meals in London briefly after the Brexit decision; and in Senegal, when he sat outside in a circle around a communal dish eating Thiéboudienne, the country’s national dish. From my screen, I’ve seen the world and its meals.

The time has come for me to turn off the TV and begin my own exploring. This summer, I’ll be in the beautiful Czech Republic (also sometimes called Czechia). The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located smack-dab in the middle of Europe. Its capital, Prague, is where I’ll be staying. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Since Prague was never damaged by World War II, its original architectural beauty has been maintained throughout history.

The Czech Republic sits in the heart of Europe.
The Church of Our Lady Before Týn, a beautiful Gothic-style church in Prague. Photo via Prague’s official tourism site, prague.eu.

In Prague, I’ll be studying at Charles University. Charles University is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Central Europe. I have the incredible opportunity to take classes there as part of their Intercultural Studies Program, where I’ll be spending nearly seven weeks this summer.

This Baroque library hall originally belonged to Charles University in Prague. Now, it is maintained by the Czech National Library.  Photo from Klementium Guided Tours.

Anthony Bourdain never had a “Parts Unknown” episode in Prague, so Prague truly is relatively unknown to me. However, as I gear up for my trip, I’ve learned a few lessons from other episodes that I think I’m going to pack up to bring with me. These are to remind myself of what’s important about travel. While the summaries of my lessons from Bourdain are nowhere near as eloquent as his original thoughts and words, I hope that they, too, find a way to inspire someone.

  1. Never turn down a meal. Meals are an invitation into someone else’s culture. Always be mindful that a rejection of a dish could translate into a rejection of someone’s pride in their home country. That being said, I can’t wait to try Czech food.
  2. Let your plans and your time be flexible. The best travel doesn’t follow a perfect itinerary. The best travel allows for time to stop and smell the roses.. or to stop and buy the street food.
  3. Be open to new things. If you’re only doing things you’ve always done, you’ll miss out on most of what the world has to offer.
  4. Spend time with the locals. No one knows a city or its culture better than the people who live there.
  5. Embrace the uncertainty. This is what travel is about — letting our guards down and allowing the world to let us know that we don’t know as much as we think we do.

With Bordain’s lessons in my back pocket, I expect to honor his memory by soaking in every moment of my time living abroad. When you hear from me next, I’ll be in Prague!


Helene Slinker is a senior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Helene is spending her summer studying in Prague, Czech Republic through the Charles University Intercultural Studies program, taking classes that contribute to her political science major and women’s and gender studies minor. Helene is eager to learn more about Central and Eastern European politics through this program and explore the Czech Republic.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Food Is Everything

One of the things that has had a huge impact on me while studying abroad is the how much of South Korean culture revolves around food. The dishes are completely unique and carefully made. South Koreans are generally healthier than Americans and they pride themselves on the fact that the majority of their dishes are heath conscious. They rely more on vegetables as the basis for most of their dishes rather than meat and they try not to fry ingredients.

While this experience has been great, South Koreans do have a lot of interesting dishes that can be quite confusing for someone who has never experienced it before. Traditional dishes like Sundae, which is a kind of sausage that contains clotted pig’s blood in rice, is extremely popular and often eaten at a street cart or a market. Another dish that I resisted trying for a long time is live octopus and raw beef mixed with egg. This dish is seen as a special treat because it is a little expensive and because of the raw materials, it is not too filling.

When I went to Kwangjang market in South Korea, which is an outside marketplace that has rows of street cart style places to eat and buy traditional Korean ingredients such as kimchi; my Korean friend took me here to eat Korean food in a more traditional atmosphere. I felt like I had found the heart of Korean culture when I entered the marketplace, it was so busy, but also felt so authentic because it was away from the normalized Korean society that actually feels more western than anything else. My friend ordered us a series of dishes that included a Korean pancake, tteok-bokki, and sundae. After we had finished with the appetizer dishes, she took me to finally try live octopus, the experience was unique to say the least and I honestly liked the dish a lot, but the octopus was definitely moving on the plate and it was a struggle to get over initially. Even though some of the dishes, I was hesitant to try at first, I am glad that I am adventurous to try new things because I didn’t dislike any of the things that I tried. 


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

K-Pop for the Win

One thing about South Korea that I will never get over is their absolute adoration for their idols. In case you don’t know, any musician or band member is called an “idol” it’s just their special term for a celebrity. Anyway, I completely understand the craze because I, myself, am a huge K-pop fan. I think the difference between love for celebrities in Korea versus the United States is the actual size of the countries, Korea is a lot smaller than the United States and in Korea, the celebrities are pretty much confined to one district for work and living so it’s pretty easy to find out where they are all the time which makes them a lot closer to normal people rather than in the United States which is a huge country and makes them seem like they don’t really exist outside of the screen. But, I did get to witness the love that Koreans have for their idols first hand when I went to a K-pop concert.

First, the K-pop concert that I went to was in Pyeongchang which is the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The concert I attended is called the Dream Concert which is a collaboration of many K-pop groups that perform at the site to celebrate the 100 days before the olympics begin. I actually got a really good deal on the tickets because I found a group that caters specifically to foreigners that provides transportation and gave us seats practically in the front row.

The concert was amazing, there was some smaller K-pop groups that performed first while some of the bigger groups headlined the concert at the very end. But, while the performers were extremely entertaining, it was hilarious to watch the crowd because the fans are so devoted and funny when showing their love for their favorite group. They bought blankets, pictures, light up wands, and whistles to wave in the air when their favorite group was performing. I even saw a group of girls rush the stage to get pictures of their favorite boy-band. Honestly, the relationship between the groups and their fans are so cute because rather than trying to run away, the groups will dance, wave, and shake hands with their fans which makes the experience that much better. I am glad I got to have this experience because it was something that was most definitely Korean in nature and could not be found back in America.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Post-Undergrad Abroad

When I was finishing my degree by studying abroad with the Honors College, I knew I wanted to stay on in Europe for awhile. I would already be there and it would be the perfect time to spend an extended period abroad before getting an “adult” job.

I began looking at my options and pretty quickly found Au Pair jobs in France. I wanted to go to France and improve my French skills which I did not have a chance to work on during my college career. Taking care of children and going to a language class while living in Paris is a pretty good gig.

Deciding to be an Au Pair is a year-long commitment, so I knew I needed the support of an agency to help me out with the paperwork and to intervene just in case things headed south with the family. That was the best decision I made. I’ve met other au pairs since that have not had that support and things can get messy so quickly.

The process was a long one, but having the agency really helped me step through each piece. I created lots of documents both for the government and for potential families. I began everything at the beginning of March and left the country at the end of June. My stay in Paris lasts from September to next July.

There are lots of options to getting abroad besides just studying; I am considering a Working Holiday Visa for Australia next year. I am also earning so much experience by settling into this new country that will only boost my resume. So take a gap year and go work in another country!


Claire Davis graduated from University of Missouri-Kansas City studied Liberal Arts with minors in Theatre and Environmental Sustainability. Claire spent Summer 2017 finishing her degree with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

2018 UMKC Study Abroad Programs Now Accepting Applications

Spring and Summer 2018 faculty-led study abroad programs are now accepting applications. UMKC faculty and staff develop, direct and teach these UMKC credit-bearing programs. You will learn and travel with UMKC faculty member(s) and students, exploring common interests. Program lengths vary from one to six weeks  and cultural activities and excursions are included.

Faculty-Led Bloch MBA Capstone Taipei

One of the four Asian Tigers or Asian Dragons, Taiwan is an economic power in the global market. Known for its industrial & high-tech manufacturing (especially semiconductors), it has become one of Asia’s biggest traders. Students will have a unique opportunity to experience its exceptional history and culture in both casual and business environments, while working on a real company consulting project.

Faculty-Led Bloch Summer: Urbania, Italy

The UMKC Summer Program: Urbania, Italy is three weeks of total immersion into Italian culture while taking UMKC courses from UMKC instructors. Urbania is located in the Le Marche region between Tuscany and the Adriatic coast of Central Italy. The region is best known for its beaches and its art and culture. Urbania will be our “home base” as we explore other cities in Italy, including Rome, Florence, Gubbio, Pesaro, and more. Classwork is brought to life by utilizing Italy as the lens through which new topics are explored. To further enhance the experience, students will take part in a conversational Italian workshop. Students will learn the basic linguistic elements of “survival Italian” used in real-life situations outside the classroom (i.e. asking for directions, ordering a meal, shopping, etc.). Prepare to be transformed by an authentic experience of Italian life and culture.

Faculty-Led UMKC Bloch Summer London

International Study in Business: London, United Kingdom, is an integrated class investigating management practices of HR and leadership in the United Kingdom. Not only will participants visit one of the most modern yet historic cities in the world, they will learn how management policies and practices differ between the US and the UK. The Brexit context makes this course a particularly relevant and informative experience for graduating students of all levels.

Faculty-Led UMKC French Language Summer in Lyon, France

The UMKC Lyon Summer Study Abroad Program is a six-week, homestay experience, June 4 – July 13, 2018. Students from UMKC or any other university should have completed the equivalent of at least one year of college French and should have a minimum French GPA of 2.5. At the end of program, students will have engaged significantly with aspects of Lyon history and culture, including its UNESCO world heritage sites and famed Guignol puppet theater. They will also have improved their French communication skills through extensive practice and coursework.

Faculty-Led UMKC Geosciences Spring Break Bahamas Program

Dr. Tina Niemi is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences at UMKC. She has been leading this Field Methods course in the Bahamas since 2007. The class will also take part in Dr. Niemi’s ongoing research with UMKC graduate students investigating the paleolimnological record and changes in the coastal morphology due to recent hurricanes.

Faculty-Led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Ireland

Our home base will be the seaport city of Cork, a community of 125,000 people. Founded in the 6th century, Cork soon grew into an urban commercial center heavily involved in European trade. Cork has seen it all—medieval feuds, the Black Plague, the English War of the Roses, and eventually the modern movement for Irish independence.  Although nicknamed the “Second City,” Cork residents consider their city the real hub of Irish culture and politics.

Faculty-Led UMKC Spanish Language Summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Participants will be housed with host families who are specifically chosen for their interest in sharing Argentinean life and culture with foreign students. Students generally eat breakfast and dinner with their host families. By living with families, students not only communicate in Spanish with native speakers, but also eat Argentinean food, live in an Argentinean home, etc. The home stay is an invaluable aspect of the UMKC program in Buenos Aires and sets it apart from other summer study abroad programs. There will be 1-2 students per home stay location.

The Great French Bake Off

Recently, I took one for the team and tried a variety of French pastries from a bakery near my apartment. It was difficult, but I persevered so that I could give everyone at home a detailed account.

First up were the sacred French macaroons (which I had shamefully not eaten before, after 7 months living in France). I started simple with a chocolate and a wild berry macaroon. In an effort to make this tasting as legitimate as possible, I browsed websites that informed me how I should judge the quality of my macaroon.

I can vouch for both the texture and the ratio between the crusty-bit and the filling, which were both correct according to the guidelines I read. The taste was interesting, but I definitely preferred the chocolate; the sweetness of the wild berry filling was a little overpowering. However, I will have to eat several more to test this.

After the macaroons, I split three other pastries with a friend of mine: a pear tart, a strawberry tart, and a biscuit-type thing with raspberry filling. The raspberry was definitely my favorite, but the other two were good as well.

At the end of this rigorous testing, I have come to two conclusions.

First, there is a discernible difference between sugary things in France and in the States. I’m not sure exactly what it is: maybe we use more artificial flavoring, or different ingredients. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but I definitely note a difference.

The second thing is the difference in texture of baked things like tartes and cakes, which I can’t even hope to describe in words. Just know that it exists.


Bridget McSorley is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in Business Administration and Languages and Literature. Bridget spent the academic year abroad with the University of Lyon 2 exchange program in France.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

2017 #RoosAbroad Photo Contest Finalists

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photographs UMKC students brought back from studying abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year speaks volumes about their life-changing experiences. First and second place finalists were selected by a panel of judges in each of the four categories; Landscapes, Portraits, Cross-Cultural Moments, and Roo Pride. First place finalists won a $75 Amazon gift card and second place finalists won a $25 Amazon gift card. See the full contest guidelines for details.

Browse all photo contest submissions on the 2017 Roos Abroad Photo Contest Pinterest board. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Landscapes

 

First Place: Erica Prado

This photograph was taken at Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands. My study abroad group and I, stopped here during our road trip throughout Scotland during our last week in the country. The medieval castle founded in the thirteenth century, is considered one of Scotland’s most cherished historical sites. Its original name Eilean Donan derives from Gaelic, and means “Island of Donnan”.

 

Second Place: Christopher Shinn

Taken in Germany while participating in the UMKC Kempten semester exchange program

 

Portraits

 

First Place: Gabrielle Rucker

Photo taken in Shanghai, China while participating in the Alliance Shanghai semester program

 

Second Place: Alyssa Dinberg

This photo depicts a local resident walking his dog on a cloudy day in Lisbon. I really like the juxtaposition between the traditional cobblestone sidewalks and architecture and the modern yet relaxed vibe he gives off.

 

Cross-Cultural Moments

 

First Place: Jessica Sliger

Her First Dental Appointment taken in Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica

 

Second Place: Bayley Cawthon

Taken in Paris, France while participating in the Missouri-London semester Program at the University of Roehampton

 

Roo Pride

 

First Place: Kelista McGraw

Representing UMKC on an Elephant in Jaipur, India. Painting elephants is a tradition upheld by Indians for years. Decorating the elephants with bright colors during festival seasons is one of the ways to celebrate the Hindu deity Ganesha.

 

Second Place: Emily McIntyre

Enjoying the view at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

The secret behind course selection abroad

I think one of the most stressful things about studying abroad is choosing classes. On one hand, it’s a lot of fun and pretty interesting: You can choose any courses you want, in any subject, and learn about a topic from a completely different cultural perspective, which may or may not be similar to what you’ve learned at home.

On the other hand, there are multiple steps to signing up for the classes, and you have to continually check with all parties involved to make sure that you’ll be receiving credit for the courses that you need.

I remember before coming to Lyon, other students’ advice to me was simple: “It works out in the end.” I can tell you, there were periods of time where I definitely did not think it would work out and I was worried about finding enough classes. (It adds to the difficulty when some classes are too advanced to take in a foreign language.)

I went to 12 classes in the beginning, looking for something interesting and manageable. That quickly got cut down to four or five for different reasons — whether I had taken the prerequisites for the class before, whether I could understand a word the teacher was saying in French, etc.

However, having finally submitted my learning agreement with enough classes to keep my advisors happy, I will now pass on the advice that truly got me through: “It works out in the end.”


Bridget McSorley is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in Business Administration and Languages and Literature. Bridget spent the academic year abroad with the University of Lyon 2 exchange program in France.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Take the Plunge

Dear Readers,

You’ve followed several along their journeys. You’ve seen us try new things and you’ve seen us fail. You’ve seen us be scared to take a leap but you’ve seen us soar after the initial plunge. You’ve experienced heartbreaks and successes, homesickness and love of a new country, seasickness and adventuring. But what does this mean for you? It means you need to try it for yourself.

I get it: you don’t know what a study abroad experience will hold for you, and honestly, I can’t tell you what it will be like. That’s the thing: I’ve tried to convey how great my time has been, along with my fellow classmates. We’ve all used words and photographs to tell you that our time has been more than just traveling, but self-learning. You’ve just had to take our word for it.

So what’s my advice? Do it for yourself. There’s nothing so sweet as inhaling the salt water from the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse or driving by a Highland Cow only to ask the bus driver to pull over for a photo op. There’s nothing as mesmerising as being swayed by a lone bagpipe player on a crowded street in Edinburgh or staring in awe at the castle from a distance. There’s nothing as familiar as meeting family at the London Gatwick Airport and receiving a package in the mail upon your return home with Christmas ornaments, which serve as a reminder of the red Telephone boxes and Victorian mailboxes. There’s nothing as connecting as attending a church with your cousin, who decided to meet you in Edinburgh and take a long weekend with you to the Scottish Borders, only to be invited to lunch by a sweet couple. There is nothing like studying abroad. Take the chance and do it. It’s something you won’t regret.


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Dunkeld, Scotland

I find it peculiar how life resumes to its original ways, despite traveling abroad for a month. It is hard to fathom, that over two weeks ago I was in another country. Despite missing the little things—my comfortable bed, water pressure in the shower, the use of ice cubes—I find myself endlessly daydreaming about Scotland. Even filling the void by watching the Starz television series Outlander. 

It has been a rigorous four weeks. I had written over twenty pages in essays and had given two eight-minute speeches. The time restraints pushed me to strive for excellence. My experience studying abroad was an opportunity of a lifetime. Although I was abroad for academics, I learned so much more than just reading out of a textbook.

For the first time ever, I was fully independent and only reliant on myself. It was so fulfilling to see that I am able to accomplish these demands alone. For instance, before I embarked on this trip I had never flown internationally by myself. After the multiple sermons by my parents about safety and the endless horror stories, I admit that I was slightly terrified. Ironically, I could have not asked for a better travel experience. I was fully capable of arriving and departing to multiple airports, and cannot contain my excitement for the next time. In addition to my independent travels, I also lived sufficiently with my flatmates.

Group photo on top of Arthur’s Seat.

Study abroad is a unique experience. Due to the time constraints in a foreign country, a bond is quickly formed within the group. Living under an unusual academic situation makes others vulnerable, but allows an individual to form a strong relationship. Over the four weeks, I had the honor of meeting so many unique individuals with various ranges of ideas and beliefs. Each of them were incredible in their own way, and I am so lucky that I had the opportunity to make relationships with these individuals. I am hopeful that these bonds are not only tied to Scotland, but will transcend to the States.

Haggis Adventure Bus

 

It was a “wild and sexy” ride, and I would not trade it for the world. Though, the next time I travel to Scotland I intend on visiting the highlands, since our journey was mostly directed to the lowlands. Not to mention, that Outlander is about the highlands. Ha ha!

Studying abroad has only fed my appetite to travel.

 


Kayli Warner is a senior honors student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in Theatre and specializing in Costume Design. She is spending the 2017 summer term abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland. Kayli is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.