- What was your biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal?
My biggest fear about studying abroad was being away from my family and friends for such an extended period of time, but my roommates and I grew close very quickly, and I forgot about being homesick in no time.
- What do you wish you had done to better prepare before going abroad?
I definitely wish that I had packed better – my program was a multi-site, so we moved around a lot my (and almost everyone else’s) bags were over the weight limit, which meant we had to pay extra every time we transferred cities. There were a lot of things that I could’ve passed on while packing.
- What were your favorite classes abroad? How did they compare to UCSB?
My classes abroad were very hands-on and included a lot of field trips, which allowed me to learn about the culture of my host countries in ways that couldn’t be taught in a classroom. My program was called Mediterranean Politics, Food, and Culture, so naturally, my favorite classes were the ones that centered around food. One of my professors in Italy was constantly taking us on study visits to different restaurants. He took us to eat at his own winery on one of the field trips, and we all got to know him on a more personal level, which was a really neat experience.
- What is one of your best memories from abroad?
One of my best memories from abroad was going to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Meeting German locals was one of the highlights of my travels!
- What was your biggest challenge abroad?
Managing my money was definitely my biggest challenge while abroad. I wanted to travel everywhere and eat out every night, but I had to stick to a budget to ensure that I didn’t run out of money. I ended up spending a lot more than I had originally anticipated.
- What is your favorite aspect of your host culture?
I’m a total night owl, so I love how in Spain, everyone takes a siesta, or nap, in the middle of the day, and then stays out until 5 or 6 in the morning. I also really love how both Spanish and Italian culture is centered around meal times. In both countries, people use meal times as an excuse to socialize and spend hours talking with their friends and family.
- Did you intern, volunteer, or conduct fieldwork or research abroad? If so, tell us about your experience.
My program did not allow/provide time for internship or research
- What local food or drink do you miss most now that you are back?
I miss the paella from Spain and the gnocchi and the gelato from Italy. I also miss Doner Kebab, a restaurant that sells kebabs and falafel wraps that can be found throughout Europe. Not only was it delicious, but it was cheap. There was one right next to my school in Italy, and my roommates and I would always go there for lunch between classes.
- How have you changed since your time abroad?
In America, everyone is always in a rush to get places and get things done. In Spain and Italy, people take their time and live in the moment. I definitely think that my time abroad taught me to live in the present more and appreciate the little things in life.
- What is your advice to prospective UCSB EAP students?
Whatever you think you’re going to spend while abroad, you’re most likely going to spend more. Budget yourself and be aware of your spending so you can travel everywhere you want!