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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.

Go Solo

I’ve just completed five weeks of traveling on my own. Navigating transportation, staying in hostels, and, of course, seeing the sites. It was a crazy adventure and I’m telling you to do it; but not because it was all fun and laughter. Sure, there was some, but I grew the most from the moments I felt the worst.

I traveled from Glasgow to Alnwick, Durham, Stratford-Upon-Avon, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, Helsinki, and Oslo. I saw so many wonderful things and had some incredible experiences, but it was also a lot harder than I thought it would be. I am a bit of a loner usually, I don’t mind being on my own. The first thing I learned about myself was sometimes, I need someone else to make a few decisions for me. I got extremely tired of deciding where I would eat in the evenings. But now I’m a lot closer to knowing where the line is for me between being alone and having a companion.

The second thing I learned is that I really need a routine. Waking up every day and having to plan what I would do, where I would eat, etc etc etc, was fun the first two weeks but got super exhausting.

Feeling depressed and tired but still being able to go see all the things I wanted to was a really big win for me. I learned a lot in my time on my own and I’m grateful that I had the experience; though I don’t think I will do another five week solo trip.

My hostel in Stockholm, when I was really starting to feel it, had a sign in the bathroom with the quote:

“An easy life doesn’t teach us anything. In the end it’s the learning that matters; what we have learned and how we have grown.” ~Richard Bach “One”


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 Summer 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.

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.

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.

Tips for Solo Travel

Study Abroad is a great opportunity to travel before and/or after your program. You’ve already paid for that plane ticket so might as well take the opportunity to see more things! The Scotland program ended with July and I’ve been traveling on my own since my classmate left on August 2nd. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned!

1) ASK! It’s never bad to double check. Whether it is tickets or reservations, asking to clarify always helps. I often pretend I don’t know the answer to see if they have the same information. Sometimes asking redundant questions reveals another alternative, most often a cheaper way to do something. It’s also good to step out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with the people around you. I’ve had lots of interesting exchanges that make the time spent here even more rich.

2) Give yourself time! I’ve only missed one train so far, but I’d love to keep that to only one, though I’ve also done my fair share of sprinting towards to train. When you are on your own it’s easier to lose track of things, no one is there to check your work. Stay up to date on your next travel plans and know if you need to get a boarding pass at the airport or you already screenshotted it on your phone (Yeah, that was me. Waiting in a line for thirty minutes to remember, oh yes, I have that on my phone).

3) Take advantage! Being only one person, it is easy to walk onto tours or find theatre seats day of! Go and seek those things because chances are they can always put one more person on. This point also comes with a caution; be big when standing in lines especially for tourist attractions. Single people are more rare and get lumped together or entirely overlooked! Make sure to speak up for yourself.

Traveling alone can be very enriching. You learn a lot about yourself and have the chance to do exactly what you please. Don’t forget to ask, take your time, and take advantage!


Claire Davis is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Liberal Arts with minors in Theatre and Environmental Sustainability. Claire is spending the summer finishing her degree with the UMKC Honors Summer 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.

Catch Ya on The Flipside

It’s was nearly 36 days, 200 miles walked, and a lot of money spent since I left Missouri. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Am I ready to be home? Definitely. However, I know I will miss Scotland and all the wonderful people I got the chance to meet. I have always read about how studying abroad is a life changing experience, but I never really understood it. I thought just by being in another country I was somehow suppose to changed for the worse or for the better. I have been thinking more and more about what it is that I got out of this trip, and I have decided it was not the act of traveling but the process of it that has changed me.

Glencoe – The Highlands

Anyone can take a ten-hour road trip, but it’s how you react to each little event within the travel that defines you as a person. Traveling in the capacity of study abroad forces you to not only to be accountable to yourself, but also to a group of strangers. You actively make the choice if you’re going to adapt or remain stoic, if you’re going to be optimistic or complain the entire time. For example, at one point during this trip there was a two-hour ferry ride followed by about a nine-hour bus ride. Did I complain? Yes. But I also chose to find the good. I would not trade that bus ride for anything because it allowed me to see the Highlands.

Being back in the States is a bit stranger after a month abroad. Honestly, I kind of miss using the compost bin. I also keep forgetting to lock my car and look the correct way before crossing the street. It is weird to see so many cars and not as many buses. It is also weird to not be around the same fifteen people I’ve been with the past month. The one thing that was definitely a life changing experience was getting to meet such amazing people. I was a little nervous at first to be with a bunch of strangers, but living in close proximity quickly forces everyone to get to know each other.

 

Group picture (plus or minus a few) at Holyrood

 


Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer 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.

“Do you have any British money?”

A year ago, my best friend visited Paris and England. In preparation for my two months in Europe, I picked her brain extensively. On numerous occasions, she told me that one of her favorite visits during her entire trip was one to Bath, England. So, when Serena suggested we take a day trip to Bath during our three-day weekend in London, I jumped at the idea. We bought our train tickets in advance and made our way to Paddington Train Station at 7am. When we arrived in Bath, we were met with a beautiful ancient Roman city. We roamed the streets for around 20 minutes, taking in yet another city of cobbled streets and ancient buildings. Then, we headed for the bath house and museum. We spent easily 2 or 3 hours following the masterfully-crafted exhibits in the museum, all the while seeing glimpses of the main bath through windows throughout the building, causing the anticipation for the main attraction to grow. Throughout the museum, we learned about Roman life in England through plaques and artifacts and by walking the same paths the Romans did so long ago. As a history major, this was my favorite historical site, and when Serena, a Chemistry major, said she loved it as well, I was thrilled that she wasn’t bored to death by something that I found so incredible.

Model of the original bath buildings in Bath, England

After going through the main museum, we finally made it to the main bath room, now an unenclosed courtyard. The bath was full of green water, and the room was sparsely decorated. It’s difficult to describe how it felt to walk around this bath – to walk around in awe in a space where the Romans went about their daily lives. Museum employees walked about the bath room in period costume – there was an aristocrat and a priest, among others. The aristocrat character stopped us and asked us where our “master” was – he told us that we’d better finish our job and get back to him! These interactions were a little detail that really rounded out the experience: not only could you walk around an ancient Roman Bath, but you could interact with the “Romans” as well!

The view from the upper level above the main Roman bath

After the baths, we went to lunch at a Moroccan restaurant in Bath where we had some of the most amazing food I’ve had on this trip. Unfortunately, when we got our food, I checked the time and we only had 20 minutes to make our train to Salisbury to visit Stonehenge! We ate our couscous and chicken quickly (I still wish I’d been able to savor that meal!) then headed down to the train station – we’d missed our train by minutes. So, we headed to the info desk and asked when the next one would be. We were in luck: the next train was in 20 minutes, and the next after that was over an hour later! We sat down at our platform, relaxed, and wondered at the seagulls hanging out at a train station in the middle of Southern England.

When we finally got to Salisbury, we went to the bus stop to buy our tickets for a bus to and from Stonehenge. We told the ticket lady our itinerary and she told us we wouldn’t have the time to make it there and back in time for the train back to London, but we were determined. We tried to buy our tickets, but didn’t have the cash. So we ran to an ATM and pulled out just enough to pay for our tickets. We ran back and got in line, but when we got there, I pulled out my mix of Scottish and English Pounds to pay, and the ticket lady took one look at my Scottish money and said “Oh, well, do you have any British money?” Taken aback, I looked at Serena, who had clearly heard the same thing I did and asked her to cover that portion of my ticket. It was the first time I was confronted with that odd asterisk to Scottish money. Scottish money is legal tender* in all of the United Kingdom, but English business are not required to accept it as payment. Ultimately, we made it to Stonehenge with enough time to snap some photos, take in the views, and rush back to our train to London.

Me at the Stonehenge

All in all, it was a crazy day, but it was well worth it to see those beautiful historical monuments (even if we did only get 10 minutes at Stonehenge!).


Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer 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.

Wait… It is over???

I am now on my way back to the United States from Scotland and I am happy to be heading home, but so sad to be leaving Scotland behind.

At the beginning of the trip I was very homesick and could not wait for this trip to be over and by the second week I never wanted it to end. Soooo, why should you study abroad? Because it is the single best thing you can do to make yourself grow as a person. It is the best thing you can do to truly learn about a topic. It is simply the best thing you can do. So do it. I mean it. I worked many hours of overtime and spent many sleepless nights working to save up for this trip. I applied for every scholarship possible and it was one of the most tedious processes, but everything I did for this trip was worth it. It was worth it when I first landed in London and saw the British flag. It was worth it when I was gazing up at the Eiffel tower taking in its beauty. It was worth it when I was walking through Edinburgh’s castle.

Edinburgh Castle

It was worth it when I smelled and touched the ocean for the first time in my life. It was worth it when I found new friends in the park. It was worth it through the sleepless homework filled nights. It was worth it gazing at the Highland mountains in Scotland. It was worth it. I would do it all over again tomorrow. I was so homesick in the beginning and now I never want to leave Scotland. A piece of my heart will always be here. There is a maturation that comes with traveling abroad and stepping out of your comfort zone so far you want to be sick. When you decide to step out of that zone you discover the greatest joy and some of the best memories. Do not let fear hold you back because if I had let it hold me back I would have missed the greatest experience of my entire life.  I left my small town and everything I have ever known and experienced the world for all it had to offer. I met new people. I tried new things. I laughed….. A LOT. I guess what I want to say to all of you is please study abroad. Please meet new people. Please try new things. Please try this. It will be one of the best things you have ever done. Good luck everyone. Adventure finally found me, I hope it finds you.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

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.

Dancing With the Scots!

I can attest to falling in love with your dance partner, but I never expected the same effect to apply to an entire city.

Falling for Edinburgh began the first day I had the opportunity to explore the city. Full from our traditional Scottish breakfast, (haggis and all!) Victoria and I decided to walk around town. We passed by a vintage shop, and our brief moment of window shopping ended. A stunning sundress stopped me in my tracks, but the event flyer posted on her door lured me in.  The store owner was hosting a small 50’s themed fashion show, followed by jitter-bug swing lesson… and she had two tickets left!

There was one small problem.  The night of the Carnival Jive was the same night of our study abroad welcome dinner. Victoria and I were so torn.  We did not want to miss the first change to bond with the people we would be spending the next month with. On the same note, this was an amazing opportunity to connect with locals while doing two things I was passionate about.  We took the day to consider our options… and make sure skipping dinner was even a possibility.  After a tiny bit of convincing, our wonderful professor set us free for the night!

But first, a search for the perfect outfit.

As we stepped into the small boutique, we were immediately transported into a 50’s cocktail party.  Victoria and I quickly realized we were not dressed for the occasion.  A 20% discount for every item in the store provided the perfect excuse to… um… invest! After some time of working my way around decades of fashion, I found the perfect skirt to complement the evening.

After the host ensured all the guests of age had a 50’s themed cocktail in hand, the night’s festivities kicked off!  A series of evening gowns and sundresses were strutted down a make-shift runway. Twirls and spins were met with oohs and awes.

 

The rest of our evening was met with challenging dance moves and a lot of laughter. Being that women were the main attendees, Victoria and I became dance partners for most of the night.

I was given a run for my money after a chance to dance with one of the instructors for a few songs.  When he asked where I had learned to dance, I was proud to tell him Kansas City had taught me everything I know about swing.

Just before parting ways, the instructors invited me to their summer Thursday night swing lessons.  I gladly accepted the invitation, knowing this could be my cure for a future case of homesick blues.

I have been known to coin ‘dancing’ as my love language, so I’d be wrong to say I was surprised, but the Thursday night after dance lessons sealed my love Edinburgh.  None of my classmates had been interested, so I set off to dance on my own.  My small time of solitude was very welcomed after an overwhelming week in the city.  After hours of lessons in a small neighborhood church, I started my walk home. I think I smiled to myself the entire way. The ‘movie moment’ I had been waiting for the entire time I had been away suddenly washed over me.  I felt like Frances Mayes from “Under the Tuscan Sun” or Julia Roberts in “Eat Pray Love”. It hit me that I was living in another country… and thriving!  It was 10pm, but the sky was still a lively blue, the weather was perfect, and I was walking through the most beautiful neighborhood.  I loved this city and its warm people.  I couldn’t think of any place I would rather be.


Serena Baker is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Chemistry with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Serena is spending the summer abroad with UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland. Taking full advantage of her trip abroad, Serena will make a stop-over in Iceland and visit Germany after the program to improve her language proficiency.

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.