Off to Ireland

Hi everyone! My name is Natalie, I am a junior International Studies major and am leaving in a few days to study abroad in Galway, Ireland. Studying abroad has always been something that I’ve wanted to do, and narrowing down where to go was really difficult. Ireland stood out to me because of a class that I took first semester sophomore year, Politics of Northern Ireland 1921-Present. My professor had visited and worked in Ireland throughout his career, and when I went to him for advice on my major and studying abroad, he said that Galway would be a perfect fit for my academic and personal interests.

I also got the chance to experience Ireland this summer, through a Boston College internship program in Dublin. I lived in Dublin for two months, and interned full time at a non-profit. It was a great introduction to the country, culture, and people, and I can’t wait to go back. I am a lot less nervous for this fall because I have a better idea of what to expect in Galway, but I am looking forward to a new city and experiencing Ireland from the point of view of a student.

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to go back to Ireland, I can’t wait to leave! It will be sad missing the fall in Boston, but Galway will be an amazing place to spend the semester (though I will have to deal with a bit more rain). I’m sure I’ll have lots more to share once I arrive!

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Estoy En Chile, Po!

Saludos from Santiago Chile! I’m Hayley Folkard and I’ll be spending the fall semester of my junior year at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile studying Communications and whatever else they throw are me! I have been here for about 6 weeks now (I’m sorry it look me so long to write this, Stephen!) but I promise this won’t be a long and winding essay about my day to day activities! I’ll keep it short and sweet. I am living with a host family in La Reina which is a commune in Chile located in Santiago. I am living with a host mom and three host brothers aged 9, 13, and 16 so there’s always something going on! At any given moment there is either heavy electronic music thumping through every room of the house, reggaeton blasting from my host mom’s phone, or the background noises of Assassin’s Creed on full blast in the living room. Most of the time it’s all three at the same time! Sometimes living with a host family can be difficult because I live so far away from most of my friends in student houses but I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to be immersed in Chile’s culture in a completely different way than everyone else.

In these short 6 weeks I have fallen completely in love with this place and its people. Do you believe in love at first site? Because after looking up at the snowcapped Andes Mountains set in the foreground of a clear blue sky I fell hard. I am surprised that BC’s program in Chile isn’t more popular! I will definitely be taking it upon myself to advertise it when I get back in the spring! I have really gotten into the street food here and basically anything “a la pobre” (roughly translated to for the poor) which is basically anything with meat and potatoes. My favorite dish here also happens to be one of the most unhealthy, whoops! It’s called Chorillana and is usually eaten after many Piscolas on a night out. It’s a huge plate of fries with meat, sausage, onion, and two fried eggs on top. The toppings can differ and I’ve even had one with about a pound of cheese on top but I can safely say I won’t be doing that again! These dishes are meant to be shared but sometimes I get a little carried away…The rest of the traditional Chilean food for the most part is quite bland. Mounds of salt are added to everything and merken, a smoked chili pepper is used frequently to season dishes. However, they do know how to make a mean hotdog. They’re called “completos” here and if you ever visit ask for a Completo Italiano. Whenever something is Italiano is just means there’s mayonnaise, chopped up tomatoes, and avocado on top. You will never be the same. As for the desserts, manjar (dulce de leche) is added to absolutely EVERYTHING. And I certainly don’t hate it! One of my favorite things in Chile are probably the ferias which are HUGE markets filled with cheap fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices. I bought enough fruits and vegetables to last about a week and a half and spent no more than $8! I now feel guilty whenever I buy produce from a grocery store.

I told myself that I would try absolutely everything and anything in my first month here and not worry about how much bagged mayonnaise was put on top of it. It is now week 6 and my mentality is the same…But I don’t think twice about it! The day I regret a chorillana is the day I will quit everything and live in a cave. Life won’t be worth living! One of the other things that has taken a lot of getting used to is the metro. It’s actually incredibly easy and accessible but I always end up getting lost or going completely in the opposite direction! Because Santiago is such a huge economically booming city, the amount of commuters on the metro is unreal and it is almost always packed. With that being said, I love it. It’s awkward and it’s fun and whenever you’re on the metro it means you’re moving and going somewhere. It’s always an adventure!

The language barrier has definitely been quite difficult. From day one in my intensive spanish class at Catolica I was told that the Chileans do not speak spanish, they speak Chileno complete with new slang and tone of voice! During the 3 weeks in the spanish class we were taught Chilean slang and how to use it properly (although I’m not fooling anyone, it is very obvious that i’m a gringa- but proud!). I kind of had a leg up on all the slang because my mom is from Chile and I just grew up with some of the words. For example, “po” is basically used after every statement. “Are you hungry?” “Si po! I haven’t eaten since breakfast!” Or “Can we swing by my house before we go to the zoo?” “Si po, obvio!” It’s strange how natural this sounds to me now! One of my favorites is “catchai” which comes from the English phrase “to catch.” So it’s kind of like saying “do you understand?” “I need you to feed the dog today, catchai?” And just like every spanish word there is a conjugation! So you could respond “si, yo catcho.” I just love it. It’s like I get to learn two languages now!

Since I’ve been here I have spent a lot of time exploring Santiago but I also had the opportunity to go to La Serena and Valle del Elqui a few weeks ago which was about a 7 hour bus ride north of Santiago. It was unreal. Since Chile is so long and skinny it has this really unique and diverse geographic makeup. It really has absolutely everything to offer and I think that is what makes it so attractive to travelers. I am looking forward to traveling within South America but I am making Chile my number one priority, I want to see it all and eat my way through Chile’s mountains, beaches, and deserts.

I know a lot of people are already moving back to BC or preparing to move in and I am thinking of you all! Gotta admit, I’m a little jealous. Santiago may be my new leading lady but BC will always be my ride or die. And to all those abroad or preparing to go abroad GOOD LUCK. You will absolutely love it and I encourage you to always say “yes.” (unless it’s dangerous or you don’t feel comfortable of course) My motto here has become “por que no?” and I think that can explain the amount of french fries and manjar I have ingested. I am sorry this post was a little long, but I look forward to sharing all of my experiences (mostly the food) you with all! GO EAGLES!

 

Transitions: CA to MA to Copenhagen

Hey everyone! My name’s Amanda Shewry and I’m a rising junior studying Communication, International Studies, and Environmental Studies. Actually, as I write this I have completed my first leg of travel to Copenhagen, Denmark where I will be studying abroad. As I wait out my layover in Chicago’s airport I can’t express how stoked I am to be finally taking my adventure abroad, especially considering the only foreign land I’ve visited is Canada. I’m a transfer student so this will be my third college in three years…crazy right? However, I find the constantly new environment and new people a fun kind of challenge, so bring it on Europe.

Copenhagen is the colorful, seaside capital and often I get asked how I chose here to spend my year abroad. Choosing a new home for the next year wasn’t an easy task. Just ask my roommate who had to hear me week after week “choose” a new location: from London to New Zealand to South Africa. My idea of narrowing down meant EIGHT options in my final pool. Soon I realized all the stress of choosing meant one thing; I was incredibly lucky. I had my pick of some of the most amazing places on the planet, just a couple pieces of signed paper and I could go wherever I wanted. I actually initially eliminated Copenhagen because my advisor said it would be hard to find classes towards my areas of study, a logistic analysis. But, after that elimination Copenhagen kept popping up in the most random of places. Like my favorite magazine, National Geographic Traveler, ran a Front Page story on how wonderful this capital city was. I just had this unshakable feeling that a city so well known for its happy people and environmental initiatives was a place that I could learn from and thrive in. So, I went back to my advisor to express these feelings and employ the strategy I fondly call “successful stubbornness.” As a transfer student I’ve found every opportunity is readily available if I only put in a certain amount of effort. So, in my ambitious conquests I’ve learned to ask as many people as many questions as possible until I find a way to make it work. So with a little research and a lot of persistence I’m not only leaving North America for the first time, but moving to a completely unfamiliar country. Wish me luck in somehow learning Danish and GO EAGLES

¡Vamos Ecuador!

Hi everyone! My name is Melanie and I am heading to Quito, Ecuador in a couple short weeks! I have both feelings of angst and excitement as I prepare to head out on what is sure to be an incredible adventure in Ecuador. A little bit about me—I’m a junior from Columbus, OH, studying psychology and medical humanities at BC. I chose to study abroad in Ecuador because I really wanted a program that would push me to immerse myself in a culture and country that is so different than my own. Living with a host family, taking classes only in Spanish, and working at a volunteer placement in the city will hopefully fulfill my study abroad goals. I’ve been asked countless times out of all the places I can go “why Ecuador?” I am eager to explore the Northern Andes, the Amazon rainforest, the coastal lowlands, and the volcanic highlands, really taking it upon myself to get to know a country and a unique culture. I’m praying my minimal Spanish knowledge all comes back to me the moment I land in Ecuador, but I am hopeful I’ll be dreaming in Spanish before I know it. Though I will miss tailgating on Shea on football Saturdays, and Fall at BC, I believe studying abroad in Ecuador will be a truly invaluable experience that will teach me so much for the remainder of college and for my life thereafter.

Quito3

London Calling

Hello, all! My name is Ariana, and I am studying in London this fall! I will be taking four courses abroad: two to fulfill my English major and two as electives. I am excited for “The Dickens City” which requires students to tour London from Dickens’ point of view. If this were an American Literature class at BC, the city component would be akin to taking Poe tours in Boston. Though I’ll be in an English-speaking country, there are many nuances of British English that I am trying to learn before I leave. For example, “biscuits” are buttery rolls in the U.S., but they are cookies in the U.K. Over the next month, I will be reading up on British slang and finding the closest Nando’s to Heathrow. Meanwhile, I know everyone is getting excited to move back and cheer on our Eagles at Gillette! Please cheer extra loud for me! I’ll be cheering too but for a different kind of football.