UI Study Abroad Blogger

The view from the guard tower hill
A few things I’ve learned about Japan and spring: Japan has a lot of flowers They bloom beautifully If you don’t have hay fever when you get to Japan, you might have it when you leave.

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The Makuhari-hongo International Dorm BBQ
I’m sure many of you have heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers,” but in Japan, the rainy season is a bit longer. The name for the rainy, damp season is tsuyu. Fancy.

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Ohanami with friends
Hello Iowa! As you guys are finishing up your spring semester, ours is only just beginning! I’ve had some time to adjust to my class schedule and homework load since March, and it’s definitely been an enjoyable journey. Class registration happened earlier this month, so everyone’s schedules have been finalized.

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Welcome to Kanda! (featuring me, Mette, Nerissa, Karina, and Lorena)
Hello from Makuhari-hongo International Dormitory in Chiba, Japan! Spring has arrived, marking the start of a new semester at Kanda University of International Studies. When the cherry blossoms opened to welcome the sunshine, they also welcomed planes from all over the world at Narita Airport in Tokyo, dropping off students for the Bekka Program here at KUIS!

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On the beach in front of Bray Head
Bray is a quaint, compact town south of Dublin. It has a nice combination of friendly community, a freshness in the air that can only mean you’re a step away from the sea, and a darling view of Bray Head. But it’s also the home of a very special gallery called Signal Arts, where I’m interning this summer.

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Matt and Stephon are a lot taller than me.
My experience studying abroad in Hong Kong, narrated (mostly) by my camera

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The inside of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
London is amazing place for anyone to experience theatre in a variety of ways that make it accessible for people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Whether you enjoy classical plays, entertaining musicals, or cutting edge shows, there is something to see. Going on the London Performance Study was a unique experience that allowed me to be immersed in a new culture of theatre and begin to understand how drama can affect personal life.

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Early morning in Stratford-upon-Avon
When abroad, your time in a new country should be organic and personalized, not warped by the consequences of violent and irregular events. It may give you some heightened anxiety, but you can't let it ruin your trip. No one can expand their perspective of the world if they are afraid to explore. Going abroad is about accepting and interacting with a different culture. And that should be the main goal of your experience no matter the circumstances.

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Sporting the Tiger Hawk around central campus of UCD.
What would we Iowa students do without our precious syllabus week? It is the only week out of the semester where we are nurtured back into the swing of attending classes. For those students who choose to take classes during a winter or summer term, syllabus week is a false promised land. My first week at University College Dublin was still nurturing even without a full syllabus week. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned coming into a summer program abroad without having a full week to adjust.

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Taking a "sheltered" approach to exploring Dublin before I go at it alone. (picture of me in the gazebo)
It hasn’t even been a week here in Dublin and I already feel… to be honest I don’t know how I feel. Contempt, scared, badass? Does the feeling really matter though? Everyone who goes abroad for the first time goes through a mixture of emotions that has us all reeling on our heels, grasping for holding points. For me, this trip is about pushing against the boundaries of my comfort zone, which are about as widespread as jail cell bars. This is the point in the trip where orientation has happened, I’ve explored the city with my 16 great new classmates, and I’ve gotten my bearings.

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