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A Guide to Hiking the Highest Mountain in Costa Rica

Mi tiempo en estudiar en el extranjero estaba terminando, y solo tenía un fin de semana más aquí en Costa Rica. Caminando por la montaña más alta de este país nunca estaba en mi lista de cosas más importantes para hacer, sin embargo, mi amiga Mackenzie que había caminado el fin de semana anterior me convenció de que debería tomar la oportunidad de – lo que descubriría más tarde – un único viaje en la vida.

Consejo #1: Reserve el viaje a Cerro Chirripó como mínimo dos semanas con antelación. Las agencias de viajes recomiendan prepararse para el viaje por lo menos tres meses antes, pero en realidad no me comprometí a subir Chirripó hasta tres días antes de ir con mis dos amigos, Michael y Jackson. Te sugiero que no se encuentre en una situación similar porque entregar la documentación y los pagos necesarios en poco tiempo, además de planear un viaje del fin de semana de tres días, no fue la mejor idea. Así que minimizar el estrés innecesario de hacer una decisión de última hora y reservar su posición tan pronto como sea posible.

Consejo #2: Reserve con una agencia de viaje. Para escalar Cerro Chirripó, necesitarás comprar permisos de parque para cada día que estés allí, junto con la comida y el alojamiento en el campamento base. Las agencias de viajes harán tu vida más fácil, y el costo de la reserva con una agencia no sobrepasaría mucho lo que estarías pagando si hubieras comprado todo individualmente. Recomiendo Caminatas al Chirripó que era una agencia increíble que lograron asegurar nuestras reservas en poca antelación y siempre estaban disponsibles en el teléfono si teníamos cualquier pregunta.

Salimos a las 9am de la mañana del viernes desde la terminal del MUSOC que fue tres horas en autobús de San José a San Isidro del General. Desde allí, tuvimos que tomar otro autobús de Terminal Municipal que nos llevó de San Isidro a San Gerardo de Rivas en media hora.

Consejo #3: Compre los billetes de autobús un día antes, o llegar temprano a la estación de autobus al menos una hora antes de la salida porque se venden los billetes rápidamente.

Tuvimos que registrarnos en las oficinas del MINAE y del Consorcio  antes de las 4pm porque el parque requiere que todos se registre un día antes de sus caminatas. Luego nos registramos en la oficina de nuestra agencia de viaje para llegar a nuestra hostal de Cabaña Ojos Claros y encontrarse con su anfitrión, Laura. Una chica de Holanda que acababa de subir al Cerro Chirripó el día anterior estaba allí esa noche y nos dio consejos útiles sobre las expectativas de nuestra subida. Porque teníamos una mañana temprano al día siguiente, nos acostamos después de cenar, y recuerdo tener algunos problemas para dormirse debido a los nervios de anticipación y entusiasmo de la aventura por venir.

Consejo #4: Traiga una lámpara (un faro sería óptimo) o asegúrete de comprar una de una tienda en el pueblo antes de empezar tu caminata. Busca un bastón robusto es una buena idea, también – será tu mejor amigo durante este viaje.

El sábado por la mañana, nos despertamos a las 4:30am y Laura nos llevó a la entrada donde el signo de 0 km marcó el comienzo de nuestro ascenso oficialmente. La flora y fauna del paisaje cambia cada km drásticamente, así que no te olvides de mirar hacia arriba y alrededor porque las vistas diversas no defraudan. La caminata hasta el campamento base es de 15 km y hay una parada al punto medio del camino en el km 7 donde tienen baños, una tienda de alimento y una estación para llenar tus botellas de agua. No fue hasta el km 13, con un nombre apropiado de Los Arrepentidos, donde comencé a preguntarme qué estaba pensando en subir al Cerro Chirripó y cuestionar la vida en general. Milagrosamente, llegamos al km 15 en 11 horas y fue como encontrar un oasis en el medio del desierto – fue probablemente porque pudimos ver que el campamento base estaba en pendiente desde allí.

Consejo #5: Asegúrete de que estás en buena forma porque la caminata es de 40 km (25 millas) en total y puede ser muy duro físicamente en el cuerpo con el tiempo.

En el campamento base, nos quedamos en nuestra habitación que tenía las literas, cada una con una almohada y un saco de dormir o una cobija. Durante la cena, pasamos tiempo con otras senderistas que vinieron de todo el mundo, incluyendo un irlandés y un italiano  que decidieron acompañarnos en la caminata hasta la cima.

Consejo #6: Hazte un favor y tomar el chocolate caliente con las comidas – cada sorbo se calienta su alma.

Consejo #7: Empaca las capas de ropa porque aunque sudarás en la subida, la temperatura en la cima del Cerro Chirripó puede bajar a 0°C (32°F) con mucha sensación térmica.

Para ver el amanecer a las 5 am de la mañana del domingo, salimos a las 2:30am para empezar el viaje de 5 km a la cima de la montaña. Esto es cuando se utiliza la lámpara porque era oscuro completamente y no se desea perderse en el camino. En km 4, había una parte empinada donde las senderistas tenían que dejan sus bastones y subir la montaña con sus manos y rodillas. El signo de Cerro Chirripó y la bandera costarricense nos dieron la bienvenida en la cima y yo vi asombrada el sol que pintaba colores brillantes en el lienzo del cielo.

Gracias al sol, no pude dejar de admirar el paisaje envolvente que estaba escondido en la oscuridad antes. Regresamos el mismo día y fue una locura ver cómo escalmos estos senderos rocosos en algunas partes. No subestimes el descenso porque aunque toma mucho menos tiempo, los caminos lodoso son resbaladizos así que nos caímos mucho. Después, no podía caminar bien por dos días, pero la vista desde 3.820 metros valió la pena sin duda y nunca olvidaré esta experiencia increíble.

Como siempre, muchas gracias por leer y nos vemos!

Pura Vida mis amigos,
Rebecca Yang

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My time in studying abroad was winding down, and I only had one more free weekend left here in Costa Rica. Hiking the highest mountain in this country was never on my list of top things to do, yet my friend, Mackenzie, had hiked it the weekend before and somehow convinced me that I should just take the chance of – what I would later find out to be – a trip-of-a-lifetime.

Tip #1: Book the trip to Cerro Chirripó at least two weeks beforehand. Tour agencies recommend preparing for the trip at least three MONTHS in advance, but I did not actually commit to climbing Chirripó with two of my friends, Michael and Jackson, until three DAYS right before the weekend. I highly suggest that you do not find yourself in a similar situation because turning in all the required paperwork and payments in such a short period of time, on top of planning for a three-day weekend trip, was not the best idea. So save yourself some unnecessary stress from making a last-minute decision and reserve your spots as soon as possible.

Tip #2: Book with a tour agency. In order to hike Cerro Chirripó, you will need to purchase park permits for every day you are there, along with food and lodging at the base camp. Tour agencies will make your life a lot easier, and the cost of booking with an agency would not greatly exceed what you would be paying had you bought everything individually. I recommend Walks to Chirripó, which was an amazing agency that managed to secure our reservations at such a short notice and were always a phone call away if we had any questions.

We left around 9am on Friday morning from MUSOC terminal, which was a three-hour bus ride from San José to San Isidro del General. From there, we had to catch another bus from Terminal Municipal that took us from San Isidro to San Gerardo de Rivas in half an hour.

Tip #3: Buy bus tickets a day ahead, or arrive early at the bus station at least an hour before departure, because bus tickets do sell out quickly.

We had to check into the Park and the Crestones Basecamp lodging offices before 4pm, because the park requires that you register there a day before your hike. We then stopped by the office of our tour agency to get situated at our hostel Cabaña Ojos Claros, run by our lovely host, Laura. A girl from the Netherlands, who had just hiked Cerro Chirripó the day before, was also staying there that night and gave us helpful tips on what to expect our climb. Since we had an early morning the next day, we headed to bed right after dinner, and I remember having some trouble falling asleep due to nerves of anticipation and excitement of what was to come.

View from our hostel’s back porch
The base camp office next to the soccer field

Tip #4: Bring a flashlight (a headlamp would be optimal), or make sure you buy one from a shop in town before starting your hike. Finding a sturdy walking stick is also a good idea – trust me, it’ll be your best friend on this trip.

 

 

 

On Saturday morning, we woke up at 4:30am and Laura dropped us off at the entrance, where the 0 km sign officially marked the beginning of our ascent. The flora and fauna of the landscape drastically changes at every km, so do not forget to look up and around you because the diverse views do not disappoint. The hike up to base camp is 15 km, and there is a rest stop at the halfway point around km 7, where they have restrooms, a snack shop and a station to refill your water bottles. It was not until km 13 (with a fitting name of The Repentants) where I started to ask myself what in the world was I thinking in climbing Cerro Chirripó, and just questioning life in general. Miraculously, we made to km 15 eleven hours later, and it was like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert – mostly because we could see that the base camp was all downhill from there.

 

Started from the bottom…
…Now we’re here.

Tip #5: Make sure you are in adequate shape because the hike is approximately 40km (25 miles) altogether and can be physically grueling on the body over time.

 

At the base camp, we got situated into our room that had a bunk-bed setup, furnished with a pillow and a sleeping bag/blanket. At dinnertime, we got to meet and hang out with other hikers who came from all over the world, including an Irishman and an Italian fellow, who decided to join our group for the hike up to the summit.

Drink of the day

Tip #6: Do yourself a favor and get the hot chocolate during meal times – every sip will warm your soul to the core.

Tip #7: Pack layers to wear because even though you will sweat on the hike up, the temperature at the top of Cerro Chirripó can drop to as low as 0°C (32°F) with heavy wind chill.

In order to catch the sunrise at 5am on Sunday morning, we departed at 2:30am to begin the 5km trip to the summit of the mountain. This is when the flashlight comes in handy because it was completely pitch-black, and you do not want to wander off the trail. At around km 4, there was a steep part where people had to ditch their hiking sticks and climb up the mountain on their hands and knees. The Cerro Chirripó sign and the Costa Rican flag welcomed us at the top, and I was just in complete awe as I watched the sunrise paint breath-taking colors across the canvas of the sky.

 

 

 

We came, we conquered.

With the sun coming up, I couldn’t help admiring the landscape, which was previously hidden in the darkness, surrounding us from all sides. We made our way back down the same day, and it was shocking to see how we even made it up some of these rocky trails that were all uphill at some points. Don’t underestimate the descent down because although it takes a lot less time, the muddy trails are slippery so we took some falls here and there. Afterwards, I literally could not walk properly for two days, but the view from 3,820 meters up was undoubtedly worth it, and I will never forget this incredible experience.

As always, thank you for reading and see you on the next post!

Pura Vida my friends,
Rebecca Yang


Rebecca Yang is currently a third-year undergraduate student studying Chemistry and Spanish, with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but after spending three years in Kansas City, she is proud to call this place home. She is studying abroad for one month over the summer with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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.

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.

A Guide to Scottish Food

The best breakfast I have ever had.

Hearty. That is the best word I can come up with to describe Scottish cuisine. I love the food here so much. I would stay in Scotland forever just for the food. The breads are all fresh. The fruits are all sweet and the deserts are out of this world. Don’t even get me started on how good their jams are. I am not a fan of their meats, but I don’t really like to eat meat back in the United States either. I am going to give you a guide today on what you MUST try if you are ever in Scotland and some great foods to try if you are a vegetarian! First, eat the scones. They are phenomenal. I have had a scone everyday for the past week because the are so good. You can put butter on it or eat it plain. But I think they are best with the raspberry jam here. The raspberry Jam is so good I could just eat that without the scone! Next, you must eat some pie while you are in Scotland. The fruits here are so good and fresh in the summer months, so a fresh slice of pie with a cup of coffee is a great way to spend an afternoon in Scotland.

My lovely pie and coffee.

It is a bit colder here in Scotland even in the summer months, so a nice cup of steaming hot coffee is nice on crisp breezy mornings. Make sure you find yourself in one of the many coffee shops around Scotland to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and the view of scenery around you. Another must have is Scottish shortbread cookies.

My half eaten Scottish Shortbread cookie! It was too good to wait to take a picture!

They are delicious with some of that raspberry jam I keep going on and on about or you can have them by themselves they are still just as great! The cheese here for sandwiches or Mac’ and cheese is amazing as well. It is very rich and worth a try. The vegetarian Lasagna here was not my forte, but my friends who are vegetarian loved it and the Risotto as well. Scottish scrambled eggs are also a must try. I ate all of my eggs up and I am going to have eggs again (and again, and again) before I leave Scotland! But to warn you, they do not refrigerate their eggs here… I went to the grocery store and the eggs are just sitting in a random food isle. I tried them though and they were still very tasty and I am still alive, so I promise you it will be okay!  Another Scottish staple that you must have is of course the famous Haggis. If you do not know what Haggis let me explain. It is diced up and seasoned sheep INSIDE of a sheep’s stomach. Now here me out, it is their national dish and it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Also if you are a vegetarian there is vegetarian haggis that you can try that is pretty tasty as well. These are just some of my favorites since I have been here, but feel free to branch out and try something new and different. You never know a new dish may become one of your favorites, or if not you may get a funny story out of it. Good luck and may cuisine adventure find 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.

Dealing with Becoming Homesick

Sunrise view from my front porch at my farm

I know, how could I possibly get homesick? I have been visiting some of the most beautiful places in the world, I am having so much fun, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I should not be wasting it thinking about the small town I call home. Unfortunately, the human mind does not work this way and no matter how exciting and adventurous the world is when I go to bed at night I can’t help but feel homesick. I miss my family. I miss my pets.

Kittens from my farm back home

I miss being in a familiar place. I miss the farm. I miss home. I am having so much fun do not get me wrong, but it is not home. So how do you deal with this and still have fun? Cry it out. You read that right. Cry it out. Because you have to get it out some way. It’s okay to cry. It helps so much. Cry it out and then talk it out. This helps give you a new perspective. Once I cried it out and began to talk about it, it was an easier thing to tackle. It was also comforting to discover some of my friends were experiencing homesickness as well. Next, take a night of being adventurous off (just ONE night) and do something “normal”. Do something you do at home every evening like watch Netflix or scroll through social media or read a book. Take one night to spend on your to allow you to catch up and feel comfortable again. Next, sleep. Really, you have got to sleep. I know it’s hard with the time differences but one REALLY good nights sleep will make the worlds difference in your mood and your experiences. While exploring the world is something you only get to do once you need to take time for you and allow yourself to catch up and your body to catch a break. I know I needed it and it has helped me so much since then. I have been doing so many amazing things while abroad and catching up with myself and allowing myself adjust has made my experiences so much more enjoyable and allowed me to get past being homesick.

Castle of Edinburgh in Edinburgh

I have now seen Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the castle of Edinburgh. I would not trade those experiences for anything. I am now so grateful I traveled out in the world and am getting to experience some of the amazing things the world has to offer. I am not going to let homesickness stop me. I hope adventure finds you and your homesickness will pass.

Big Ben in London 
Eiffel Tower in Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

Little Shocks

When you think of “culture shock,” what comes to your mind? I always imagined a scenario in which a traveler to an exotic, distant country becomes incredibly confused and anxious about customs extremely different from home, leading to a miserable experience until he or she can adjust. Well, that was until now. My experience with culture shock has not been nearly as drastic as my imagination led me to believe, but just a series of little, everyday things slightly different from what I expected.

The first differences I encountered happened while I was buying my airline tickets a few months ago. I remember having to count on my fingers in order to figure out what times my flights departed and arrived because the U.K. uses a 24-hour clock.  I also had trouble figuring out why the clock only moved two hours from my departure time in Edinburgh to my arrival in Toronto on my trip home when the itinerary said the flight lasted for seven (there’s a 6-hour time difference). After this initial confusion, I soon found simple ways to figure out the time in the afternoon and back in the U.S. using subtraction.

My next surprise greeted me as I entered our flat: separate faucets for hot and cold water. In almost every sink and even the back of the shower, hot water comes out on the right, and cold on the left. This difference will still take some getting used to, because the streams of water can’t combine, forcing me to choose between steaming hot or ice cold. I also had to acquire a new skill as I tried to make my bed for the first time. I had never heard of a duvet cover, and only saw “duvet” a couple times in the U.S. to mean the same thing as “comforter.” But this true duvet replaces a top sheet and is like a big pillow—It has stuffing and needs to have a case over it. After looking up a couple websites for instructions, I’m pretty proud to say that I was able to properly make the bed, even if it did take a while.

The last few differences I’ve seen so far occur every day as I walk around town. Even though I expected this change, I still forget sometimes to walk on the left side of the sidewalk. I’m constantly finding myself jumping from side to side between local city-dwellers on the left and other visitors on the right. It is also still somewhat confusing to remember what lanes and directions cars will turn into as I watch for them before crossing the street. One really nice surprise is that it stays light outside until 10:00pm or later at night, so I’ve never had to try to find my way around in the dark (although it does make it a little difficult to wind down and start getting ready for bed).

As you can tell, these little culture shocks have been minor. Even so, I notice them every time I look at the clock, wash my hands, or walk down the street. These experiences really show how engrained small habits become in our thoughts and actions. The little changes serve as a constant reminder of how I am in a new environment, and of how grateful I am for it.


Kathryn Smith is a freshman at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Pre-Medicine, with the goal to become a psychiatrist. During the month of July, Kathryn is participating in the UMKC Honors College 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.

A Disturbance in the Culture

Arriving in Edinburgh was as exhausting as any international flight would be, not helped by the fact I took three flights to get here. I was immediately struck by the small differences that characterize culture shock. The first was actually during my flight when the flight attendants came around calling for our rubbish. Somehow, that word, especially when said in an English accent, sounds so much more sophisticated than trash. The second word difference I ran into was using the word “loo” instead of “bathroom” when searching for a place to do my business in the Manchester airport.

We had a bite to eat in a sit-down restaurant last night inside a hotel. The waitress seemed to be serving in the usual American manner of looking in on us to get our orders. When it came time to pay, however, she disappeared and the other waitress ignored us even when waved at. Finally, my friend went to check on the waitress in the other room and received the check from her, who was surprised we hadn’t gotten it yet. Although this particular situation was some sort of mix-up, sitting there, unsure of the proper protocol is rather unnerving.

The last, but largest difference is the side of street they drive on. Not only do you have to keep this reversal in mind when crossing the road and catching a bus, but also on the sidewalk! I am very comfortable with using the right hand side of the sidewalk, but here the default is the left side. The kicker is, not everyone abides by that rule so I’ve found myself jumping out of the way many times already.


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.

Do we really speak the same language?

Four days in the UK have taught me a lot: always add $0.30 per pound spent to convert pounds to dollars, look right-left-right before crossing the street, and don’t worry about adding tax to purchases: it’s already included. I have also just begun to learn that although I might speak the same language as those in England, we don’t speak the same language. I thought I knew enough differences between the two languages, but I found myself asking my cousins for clarification when they said words, sometimes words that were even new to my vocabulary!

It wasn’t necessarily that we were saying different things, it’s just that words in American English have come to mean different things than they do for British English. As each language has evolved independently from the other, we have grown to have more and more differences. Just as English has changed from the time that Shakespeare lived, so has both American and British English. I found that most people in the UK have traveled to the US and therefore know the American words for things, whereas I usually had to ask for the American counterpart to British words (usually just for clarification). Below are a few of the words that I have run into so far. It will be interesting to see what I continue to hear in Scotland, as there are some words used that are not even English!

  • “Brollie”: a short-hand word for umbrella
  • “Car park”: parking lot
  • “Semi-detached”: a group of two houses together, what I refer to as a duplex
  • “Jumper”: sweater
  • “Laurie/Van”: words for small and large cars (no word for truck exists)
  • “Diary”: a calendar or planner used for dates, either paper or digital
  • “University”: the same word as in the US, however “college” is not used, also “school” refers to children under the age of 18
  • “Dummy”: pacifier
  • “Nappie”: diaper
  • “Estate Agent”: relator or real estate agent, responsible for both selling and renting homes
  • “First floor”: literally starts at the FIRST floor (there is no “ground” floor)
  • “Holiday”: vacation

And then of course, there are the ones that everyone knows, such as biscuit and queue!


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.

What’s in a name? A LOT!!!

Mientras he viajado por Iberia, he encontrado muchos nombres, más complejos que justo de la nacionalidad. Por supuesto, hay adjetivos como Portugués, Español, y Francés pero mis viajes por España me han aprendido mucho. España es un país muy regional – como los Estados Unidos. Se existen términos muy básicos para referir a alguien y de donde viene esa persona, como Estadounidense o Español; ellos son términos extensos que faltan una descripción verdadera. Creo que términos como ¨Nueva yorquino¨ o “Misurense” funcionen mejor para describir a alguien. Se describe mejor el personaje de la persona. ¡Vamos a mirar a unos pocos de los términos que he encontrado! (Por supuesto, las forms masculinas y femeninas)

While I’ve traveled through Iberia, I have found many names, more complex than just of nationality. Of course, there are adjectives like Portuguese, Spanish, and French but my travels through Spain have taught me a lot. Spain is a very regional country – like the USA. There are very basic terms to refer to someone and where they come, like American or Spanish; they are broad terms that lack a true description. I think that terms like “New Yorker” or “Missourian” work better to describe someone. The personality of the person is best described. Let’s look at a few of the terms that I’ve found! (Of course, the masculine and feminine forms)

Términos extensos / vast terms

  • Spanish – español, española (from Spain)
  • Portuguese – portugués, portuguesa (from Portugal)
  • French – francés, francesa (from France)
  • German – alemán, alemana (from Germany)
  • Italian – italiano, italiana (from Italy)

Nombres regionales / regional names

  • Castilian – castellano, castellana (from Castile)
  • Catalan – catalán, catalana (from Catalonia)
  • Basque – vasco, vasca (from Basque country)
  • Valencian – valenciano, valenciana (from Valencia)
    • [from the city Alicante – alicantino, alicantina <3]
  • Andalusian – andaluz, andaluza (from Andalusia)
  • Galician – gallego, gallega (from Galicia)

Me interesa saber por que algunos de estos términos (de rojo) faltan las vocales finales de las formas masculinas si todas las formas femeninas tienen las finales A’s. ¡Yo supongo que más estudios vengan!

I’m interested to know why some of these terms (in red) lack the final vowels in the masculine forms if all the feminine forms have the final A’s. I guess more studies are coming!

Hasta pronto / Until soon,

Natagnél / Nate

Feliz Julio / Happy July


Natagnél Frisella is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying Spanish Language & Literature. Natagnél is traveling through Spain this summer 2017, concluding with the UMKC Spanish Program based at the University of Granada in Southern Spain.

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.

Trains, Planes, and Scotland. OH MY!

Currently, I am staring at my complete mess on the floor of my bedroom. I am beginning to pack for my trip to Scotland, and I am struggling with the issue of “Do I really need to pack seven pairs of shoes when I know I will only wear two?” The answer is no, but my heart keeps telling me yes. I can’t help but chuckle at myself because I know that my shoes will not matter once I am there. I have never traveled before and when I say that I am not being dramatic. I have never been on a plane or a train before in my entire life. I have seldom ventured outside of my small town and I am about to embark on my first journey across the ocean.

Am I crazy!? I think the answer to that is a definite yes.  By the end of my five weeks I will have taken seven trains, two planes, and countless taxis. The stress I feel is incredible; I have never done this before. What made me think I can do this for the first time in another country!? However, with this stress comes excitement as I am finally exploring the world! I will see countless places such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Iverness just to name a few! I guess I am writing this to show everyone if I can study abroad, anyone can. I come from a small town of 424 people, so when I came to Kansas City I felt overwhelmed and shocked. Now, I am about to go to another country and experience all that it has to offer and then some. It is okay to be fearful and hesitant to travel abroad. It is not okay to allow those fears to keep you from experiencing everything the world has to offer you. The packing alone is enough to drive you crazy and call it quits (but don’t let it!).

What do you need and are considered the essentials? Coming from a girl who has never traveled here is my advice: less is more. Do not drag yourself down by over packing and worrying what outfits to bring. I am sure once you get there the main thing you will be worried about is exploring new places, trying new food, basically just doing anything new and exciting. But with that being said, exploring means a lot of walking. So be sure to pack comfortable shoes that you can walk around all day in (and I know you’re thinking about bringing your cutest, but least comfortable shoes, but seriously leave them at home!) Also, bring versatile things like a pair of pants that will match several shirts. Or a shirt that can be dressy with a necklace or dressed down with some leggings. Try to be realistic on your packing and the climate where you are going. For instance, I do not need to pack several pairs of shorts because where I am going it is cool almost every day. I hope you pack the right things, but if you don’t or forget something the beauty in going abroad is spontaneity. They have stores where you can buy this stuff and get a souvenir or a funny story out of it too. I hope that everyone takes the chance to go abroad as it really is a once in a lifetime experience. If a girl from a town that has more cows than people can do it, you can too. Good luck and may adventure find 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.