MENU

It’s not goodbye, it’s a see ya later

It’s been two weeks since I got back from Argentina. I sometimes forget that I don’t need to constantly speak Spanish. Driving felt weird as well since I was constantly walking to get to places while abroad instead of driving. Whenever I have driven around since returning home, I have been more cautious, especially on the highway. I kept worrying if I was driving in the center and not merging into the other lanes correctly. I still remember what the highway was like in Argentina. The memory haunts me from driving. I kind of miss walking around to get places. Everything was so conveniently located since most places were all close to each other.  As soon as I got back to the U.S, I ate my favorite food every day until my stomach could burst. I gained some weight as well. I was kind of disappointed by how much I gained.

I can’t really tell if I experienced any culture shock since I got back or if I am currently experiencing it. My daily routine has definitely changed. My eating habits have been changed as well. Argentina was experiencing winter at that time and didn’t have many fruits and vegetables available for purchase. Host families will not buy a lot of vegetables and fruit due to the high cost of seasonal produce. Luckily I was able to receive plenty of nutritious food from my host mom. She was a nutritionist. Her food was amazing and was better than the food that I found outside the home. I have been making adjustments and changes throughout my return. I definitely think that I have learned a lot from my study abroad experience. For example, I think I improved in listening to Spanish. I wished that I was able to study abroad longer and improve my skills more. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to go study abroad and travel by myself. I wouldn’t have done it without the support from my family and friends. There were many difficult and happy times throughout my study abroad trip as I was able to explore a new country and eat different types of food. If I had an opportunity to do this again, I definitely would. Hopefully, later in the future, I will be able to visit Argentina again and explore more cities and landmarks. My journey of studying abroad ends here but I will cherish these memories until I die. There are not many people who have the opportunity to study abroad and therefore I am thankful for this opportunity and hope others have an opportunity like I did.


Julie Jeong is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, and Spanish. Julie will spend the summer with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She plans to attend UMKC’s Dental School after her undergraduate study. She plans to use Spanish in her career as a future dentist who strives to help patients and eliminate miscommunications.

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.

Reflections on my Aussie Study Abroad Experience

Now that I’m back up top from the down under, I shall reflect on my experience studying abroad in Newcastle, Australia. If I had to sum up my whole trip in one word, it would be “fulfilling”. Fulfilling because this study abroad program satisfied all my cravings for adventure, relaxation, challenge, and fun. Going to a different country across the world, studying there, and exploring all it has to offer independently is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve basically visited almost all the major places of eastern Australia. Exploring all the places I’ve visited and studying in a different college environment have all been a great adventure for me. This trip has also been very relaxing. Newcastle is a very laid back, relaxed coastal town. This, combined with easy access to the town’s beaches, gave me many opportunities to sit back and wind down. This was especially nice since this was my last semester. Doing a study abroad trip has also exposed me to challenges that I have learned to overcome independently. Whether it’s getting used to stricter grading or dealing with flight cancellations, this journey has helped make me more self-confident and responsible. Lastly, this experience has also been very fun. I did many exciting things I never thought I would ever do from hiking up mountains to riding a camel to learning to surf. I am very content with my Newcastle study abroad experience and am happy with ISA for organizing such awesome activities and having such great, supportive staff. I also very much enjoyed my time at the University of Newcastle (UoN). UoN is a great campus with friendly, cool students, professors and staff, excellent facilities, and plenty choices for socializing, clubs, and entertainment. If you’re hungry for a study abroad that offers adventure, relaxation, challenge, and fun all in one program, then I would strongly recommend the ISA Newcastle Program. I loved it and so will you!

Home Sweet Home

Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

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.

Fill Your Life With Adventures…

It is unbelievable to me that I am already done with my six-week program in Lyon.

I feel simultaneously as if I just got here, and as if I have been here for a long, long time. There are so many things that I love about this city, and yet at the same time so much that I miss about home, the duality of life is more evident to me now than ever. I am sad to leave my new friends, this beautiful country, my lovely host family, and the many things I have come to love about this country, but I am also so happy that soon I will be home, able to see my dog and my brothers again, to be able to go get food at any time of day, to be able to eat my families homemade food and also tofu again (oddly enough, there is not a lot of tofu here). But it feels right, this balance of happy and sad, it makes me believe that I have found a decent balance while here.

While I will only have been in France for six weeks, I will have been to Nice, Annecy, Avignon, and Paris, that is amazing! I think everyone should, at some point in their life if they are given the opportunity, travel to another country and learn about the way other people live. Living in another country, even for as short of a time as I have, has opened my eyes to so many things. Learning to navigate within the social norms of another culture is both amazing and scary.

A quote that I believe to be entirely true is this: “Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show”. This could not be more true, exploring the city and meeting new people, saying yes to things I would most likely have said no to at home, and just trying to make the most of my time here in France has been so much better than any material thing could be. I would much prefer to go to a concert somewhere or just wander the city finding new things than I would go shopping, I would much rather spend less money on stuff so I can instead spend it to go on an adventure to somewhere new or afford to have a new experience. I also believe that one of the most amazing parts of traveling, for me at least, has been the people that one meets while traveling. I have met the most amazing people from this trip, people I would never have met otherwise, people from other parts of the United States, and people from many other countries. Meeting such a variety of people has opened my mind even more than just being in another country has, other students and I compared the things we are used to from our countries and cultures with the things that are normal here in France, and in doing this I got to learn differences not just between US culture and French culture, but also US culture and the culture of many other countries. Meeting these many new people also means that there are bound to be people with many different thoughts and opinions, this was very true for this trip and that was a learning experience for me as well. I feel that I learned much, much more from just living in Lyon and living with a host family than I did from my classes because, in reality, life and language don’t work like the classroom. Learning a language in the classroom is so unbelievably different than actually using that language and learning the way it really works and the way it is used by native speakers.

I can truly say that this trip has changed my life. I have made friends that I will doubtless keep in touch with, pushed myself outside of my comfort zone time and time again, experienced a whole new country and a whole new way of life, and I know that Lyon, as well as the people in it and the people I met here,  will always have a piece of my heart.


Sydney Serrano is a freshman studying Psychology and French at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Sydney will spend the summer abroad with the UMKC French Summer Program in Lyon, France. Sydney is a member of Alternative Spring Break and Pride Alliance at the University of Missouri Kansas.

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.

Packed: You Sure You Didn’t Leave Anything Behind?

My room is a mess. My clothes are sprawled out across every surface, luggage laying open and half full on the floor, and I’m pretty sure my toothbrush is laying on my nightstand… wait, did I pack my toothbrush already? Yeah, I should probably get that back out; I’m not leaving for four more days, and brushing my teeth this week is definitely in my best interest.

Am I going crazy? Maybe. I can tell you one thing for certain: I don’t want to leave anything behind. I’ve made checklists on top of checklists to make sure I don’t forget anything, but I can still guarantee you I am going to leave a few things behind; not necessarily because I forget them but because I’m leaving. In a few days, I am leaving my home, and I’m not coming back… for six weeks. Wow. That just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m going to be gone for 42 days, and I’m leaving a lot behind: my family, my friends, and life as I know it. I wish I could shove them all into my suitcase and take them with me, but I just can’t. It’s going to be really hard leaving all the comforts of home behind, but that’s what adventure is all about right? Getting out of your comfort zone?

I didn’t sign up to go to Argentina because I wanted to experience the same things I do back home. I’m traveling halfway across the world! I want to be a part of something completely new. I want to see the vibrant landscapes, smell the crisp ocean breeze, taste the exquisite food, hear the hustle and bustle of the city, and feel beneath my feet ground I have not yet tread on.

Studying abroad is all about getting out there and being a part of something new. It’s not about what you’re bringing with you, or even what you left behind (No, forgetting that extra pair of socks is not going to make or break your study abroad experience). Studying abroad is a time to embrace uncertainty and seek out the unknown.

So, go on and forget, I tell myself! Whatever it is, you don’t need it where you’re going. Ditch that checklist and zip up your suitcase because it’s time to go. Tell your family you love them and your friends goodbye; It’s time to see the world.

(Below: pictures of me saying goodbye to my family)


Sam Nelson is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Economics with a minor in Spanish. Sam will study abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina during Summer of 2018 with hopes of improving his Spanish language skills. He is a member of Pride Alliance and several other student organizations. After Sam completes his degree at UMKC, he plans to attend graduate school and earn his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

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.

Let’s Go To Lyon!

14 Hours, 42 Minutes, 35 Seconds

As of my writing this post, that is the amount of time until I get on the first plane to start my Journey to Lyon France!

This trip will be a trip of a lot of firsts for me, first time flying alone, first time leaving the country, first being away from Kansas/Missouri for more than a week, and I am beyond excited for that, and yet none of it feels quite real yet. I think that it doesn’t really feel like I’m leaving yet because I don’t know what to expect.

So far to prepare for this trip I have made multiple packing lists, packed and repacked my bags at least twice, triple checked that I have everything I need,  and met up with friends and family in my hometown before coming back to Kansas City. Despite all of this preparation, and the amount of time I have spent thinking about this trip, I still can’t believe that it is actually happening. I have wanted to study abroad for as long as I can remember, and I never thought I would actually get the opportunity, and I am beyond grateful that I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to study in another country, especially a country as beautiful as France.

Two quotes that I have been thinking about a lot lately are:

To have another language is to possess a second soul.
‒Charlemagne

and

❝Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.❞‒Neale Donald Walsch

Having just finished my first year in college, I know that I have changed a lot in the last year, I have been trying my best to ensure that that is a positive change, working to make myself better in anyway I can, and a part of doing that has been challenging myself to go outside of my comfort zone. I think that Growth as well as Life begins at the end of one’s comfort zone. It is hard, maybe impossible, to grow as a person, to create better habits, to learn, and to be the best person you can be if you always stay with in your comfort zone, I know that this trip will push me out of my comfort zone, I will be flying alone to another country to stay with a host family in a country where English is not the primary language, I know I will not be able to prepare for and expect everything that I will experience, thats about as far outside of my comfort zone as I can  think to get! Not only will I be traveling to a foreign country alone for the first time, I will also be working to improve my language skills. I will be learning and practicing French in the best way possible; Immersion. This trip will give me a chance to grow my “second soul”, to improve my French, and to learn to connect with new people in a way I never have before; In another language.


Sydney Serrano is a freshman studying Psychology and French at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Sydney will spend the summer abroad with the UMKC French Summer Program in Lyon, France. Sydney is a member of Alternative Spring Break and Pride Alliance at the University of Missouri Kansas.

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.

Thoughts on Class Formats at the Uni

I have officially completed my first full week of classes at Uni (University in Australian lingo)! I would thus like to share my thoughts on how classes are done at the University of Newcastle. Here, classes are separated into different sessions. They are divided into a lecture session, a tutorial session, and in some cases a laboratory session. Some classes have a seminar session which is a combination of a tutorial and a lecture session in one sitting. The lecture session is of course, the session where you hear the lecture. The tutorial session is where you get together with your classmates and discuss the lecture as well as the course readings for the class. I have tutorial sessions for my Australian History, (History, War, and Film), and Professional Writing classes, as well as, a seminar session for my Popular Culture and Society Class. I found the tutorials to be unique as they helped me to better understand what I’ve learnt and also allowed me to gain new insights into my courses from my classmates. I have had within my first week many lively and insightful discussions on war films, parallels between Australian and American History, the state of professional writing in the social media age, and the critical analysis of pop culture as a legitimate academic field. At first, I was anxious about this method of doing classes. But after having my first full week of classes, I realized that this format is nice as it allows time for me to absorb what I’ve learned so that I can have productive class discussions and do better on my assignments afterwards.

One of my course readings; An interesting read so far!

Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

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.

 

Highlights from the Bridging Cultures Program

After my first day in Australia, I checked out of my hotel and made my way back to Brisbane Airport where I met up with the rest of my ISA group for Newcastle, as well as all the other ISA students studying in Australia. After we all met up, we left the airport and headed together towards Byron Bay, a popular, yet serene beach town where we held our Bridging Cultures Program. Basically, we were there for four days and did all sorts of cool activities to get us adjusted to life in Australia, as well as to appreciate the rich cultural and natural beauty of the land as well.

On the first day of the program, I took a stroll to the beach and was absolutely astonished by the landscape, the crystal blue waters, and the sense of tranquility I felt upon arrival. At the beach, I could see far and wide the rolling hills in the distance, the clear and clean sand stretching far out, and the calm, blue waters that seem to go on forever. Words and pictures don’t do justice, but it was truly a sight to behold, especially from someone who’s from right smack in the middle of the US.

On the second day, an Aboriginal teacher came and spoke to us about the various aspects of indigenous Aboriginal culture. He explained to us his people’s rich oral history of passing down stories generation to generation, making efficient yet responsible use of the environment for survival, and practicing utmost respect for the elders of their society. He showed us a sampling of traditional Aboriginal music through the Yidaki or Didgeridoo and performed a dance honoring his ancestors and telling the story of creation as expressed by his people. The whole experience gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for the indigenous peoples of Australia.

On the third day, our entire ISA group went on a Bush Tucker Walk with an intriguing guide named Cockatoo Paul. What is a Bush Tucker Walk? Well, “Bush” means forest or jungle and “Tucker” means food in Australian lingo. Hence, Bush Tucker Walk is a walk through a forest or jungle whilst finding food along the way. No, I’m not talking about finding a McDonald’s in the middle of the forest or jungle. I’m talking about finding edible berries and plants you can find in the Australian “Bush”, which is exactly what we did. Our guide, Cockatoo Paul, was a seasoned survivalist, basically an Australian Bear Grylls. Oh, and he also has a pet Cockatoo (hence his name) called Mr. Pickles. He showed us various plants and berries we could eat for survival in the Australian bush. Those same plants could also be used to do various things like make fire, use as a disinfectant, and make some beautiful art.

Mr. Pickles

On our last day, we left Byron Bay for Brisbane Airport. Along the way though, we stopped at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. It was here that I had one of the best days of my life. I not only got to see all the unique animals of Australia, but I had the chance to get up close to them as well! During my time there, I got the chance to hold a Koala, feed and pet free-roaming kangaroos, and see many more native animals like the Tasmanian Devil, Tree Kangaroo, and Wallaby. This experience was truly mesmerizing and one I will always cherish.

 

 

 

Sleepy Tree Kangaroo

After our excursion through the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, we all headed back onto the bus and headed straight for Brisbane Airport where we all split up and took our respective flights to our program cities. The Bridging Cultures Program set up by ISA was an eye-opening experience that really gave me a real sense of awe and astonishment of the beauty and wonder of Australia.


Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

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.

G’Day from Down Under!

G’Day Everyone! My name is Aman Kukal. I am a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. I am currently spending my last semester of my undergraduate college career in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program. After many days of lugging luggage, orientation, flights, and settling into my new home in Newcastle, Australia at the University of Newcastle, I have finally found time to get down and relay to y’all all the cool things that have transpired since the time my flight touched ground in Sydney. It’s been a dazzling almost two weeks since I reached Australia, so let me start of the tale of my journey by describing my first day down under.

After flying some 20 hours from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, I finally touched land on February the 13th in Sydney. As I disembarked the plane, a blast of warm air greeted my face and reminded me that here in Australia it’s summertime, whilst in America it’s winter! It was a quite refreshing experience as back home in St. Louis it was literally cold as the Arctic. As I made my way through immigration, I was told I had to grab my checked-in luggage and take it through security again and check the luggage in again for my connecting flight to Brisbane where my ISA orientation pick-up is. After flying for so long, I was crazy tired and was not looking forward to lugging my luggage all over again. I somehow managed to muster enough strength to make the last push and got my bags checked through security and finally checked-in for my next flight and got my boarding passes as well. After that, I had to take a bus to transfer from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal. It was on that bus ride that I got a breathtaking view of the skyline of downtown Sydney!

Sydney Skyline

Finally, after reaching the Domestic Terminal, I made my way through to my gate and alas I was on my way to Brisbane.

Brisbane, Here I Come!

As I exited the Brisbane Airport after landing, I made my way outside with my luggage, still wearing my big red puffy jacket I had worn since entering my flight from St. Louis to begin my journey. I felt like I was almost going to pass out as the refreshing warm summer air I first felt upon landing here in Australia turned quite discomforting to me. I had worn my big jacket throughout my trip coming to Australia since I did not have any room in my suitcase or backpack to keep it (they were both stuffed as I had to pack a semester worth of stuff). Thus, I had no choice but to keep wearing it. Wearing that big jacket while carrying a backpack and dragging a stuffed suitcase through the middle of summer made me very hot and uncomfortable. Despite the discomfort, I hailed an Uber and made my way to my hotel where I would stay for the night. After making it to my hotel and settling in, I checked my emails and noticed on the email receipt from Uber that there was no option for tipping. After pondering why, I remembered ISA in their online orientation telling us that in Australia tipping is not common and is not expected because wages here are much higher than in America and the UK.  Upon the satisfaction of answering my burning question regarding tips, I crashed in bed for a few hours.

Upon waking up from my short slumber, I decided to check out the area of my hotel. I was hungry and needed to exchange my dollars, so I asked the hotel front desk where I could do both and to my joy there was a mall nearby called “Toombul” that had places to do both. The Uber driver that took me to Toombul, David, to my shock, was from Newcastle. We had an enjoyable conversation about Newcastle’s great beaches and laid-back atmosphere. After our conversation, I was even more excited about the time I would spend in Newcastle. The mall was quite an interesting place.  As I entered the mall, I found out to my surprise that they have Target and K-Mart here in Australia too. At the mall, I got my US Dollars exchanged for Australian Dollars (lucky for us Americans, the US dollar is stronger!) and I chowed down at a familiar eatery: McDonald’s (known here as “Maccas”).

Toombul Mall
Good Ol’ Maccas!

After checking out the local Target and K-Mart and strolling the mall, I headed back to my hotel and after taking a nice, hot shower laid down in bed and drifted to sleep awaiting the adventures that I would soon behold.


Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

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.