Hey guys!! Just a quick video on finals time will update you on friday when i am free from school…cannot wait!
Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler
Sunday, June 24
So I know it’s been like years since I’ve written anything, but that’s obviously because I’ve been doing everything! haha Or at least that’s what I’ll say my excuse is for now. But yep, I’m still abroad!! Still in classes! It’s like I go to high school in the northeast or something when they don’t graduate until nearly July. poor kids. (in AR, we were free in May, but the majority of Tulane kids thought I was crazy when I told them that bc they’re all from up north)
Realtalk though, I have done a lot of awesome stuff over the past howeverlongit’sbeen and I’ll give y’all a little taste of that with some pictures and videos below!
Buuut the reason I’m finally getting around to writing this old thing again is obviously because I have other more important things to be writing. So of course, I choose to write about my life rather than my 12-page human rights paper (monografía). The paper’s chugaluggin along, but it’s definitely been a struggle to remember what it’s like to do homework, other than reading and writing papers with a 2-pg limit.
Which brings me to one of the most bizarre things about studying abroad in a different hemisphere–it’s WINTER here!! Which means while all of my friends at home are running around in bathing suits and sundresses and not in class, I’m here bundling up, still in my boots, and taking finals. Hilarious sidenote: one of my friends from home, who will remain unnamed to prevent embarrassment, messaged me that she was jealous that I was going to come back so tan. I had to remind her that I’m a little bit further down on the map, so the 30-40 degree weather hasn’t been so conducive to loungin in my bikini. But even though I should have expected it, well I did expect it, it’s still weird to actually live in the opposite season during this time of year. However, the weather lately has been gorgeous and in like the 50s-60s so it’s perfect for explorin’ and doing fun things. Thank god I have so much free time to do just that…oh wait, just kidding haha but my time is coming! I just hope it’s still as pretty when I’m free to enjoy it!
That’s one sad thing about not having done much throughout the semester–everything is piled on at the end of the semester, which happens to obviously coincide with the last two-three weeks before we all go back home. So, I CANNOT wait until this coming Thursday at 7pm, which is when I will officially be donezo with the semester. Right now, though, it seems like years away because I still have papers, presentations, and exams between now and then. I’m so excited to be able to do fun things and just enjoy my last few days in the city.
One of my good friends here turned 21 Friday, which is sadly not at all a big deal here. haha But at least we made it as big of a deal as we could. Saturday night, I brought her over some goodies and a couple of bottles of champagne for our mini-celebration. I wish we had videoed us trying to open the bottle…First, she struggled with it because obviously she should pop it for her birthday. But she wasn’t having much luck, so I wisely took my teeth to the plastic pull-tab. I thought I might lose an eye, but I was very careful and only pulled on it with my teeth until I could get it with my hand. haha and I still have both of my eyes. So then I handed it back to her right before the plastic strip was completely off so she could pop it…as she pulled it hard and carefully aimed away from both of our faces, the strip came off clean, but no pop! so anti-climactic! so theeenn, I took another shot at it and realized it had little slots to push it off, so I handed it back to her to make the final effort and get the POP! Of course, it wasn’t budging, so I took another shot at it and it slowly started easing out. I was wiggling it up and out slowly but surely and was ready for it to just slide off unexcitingly, when it finally decided to shoot out like a bullet, luckily at the ceiling and not at my face. Obviously we both screamed at the top of our lungs like we’d been shot and then died laughing at how ridiculous we felt. It did actually terrify me though! hahahaha and luckily her host mom wasn’t home and no neighbors came to ask if anyone had died. So we enjoyed the bottle of champagne and then went for a late dinner (11pm) which is pretty normal here for Saturdays. I found a 30% off deal for El Estanciero, which is a parilla–steak/grill restaurant, over in a semi-swanky part of the city. So we ate amazing steaks and drank a delicious red wine that we had never tried before and talked about how weird it will be to go home.
I’m ready for it to feel like reverse culture-shock when I get back to the US. Like, hearing so much English is just going to be weird. I heard these guys saying some kind of rude stuff in English the other day on the bus, and I almost died laughing when an Argentine told them to shut the **** up (in English) and be more mindful of what they say in public. Obviously, when I do speak in English, I’m aware that there are a lot of people here that might understand me, but when I get back to the States, it’s just going to be bizarre knowing that everyone understands me. Also, it’s going to be harder to tune people out. hahaha Like, in Spanish, if I want to listen to what people are saying, I can, but it’s a lot easier to just focus on my reading on the bus/in a park and not listen to everyone around me. In the US, everyone’s louder and harder to tune out. It’s little things like this that I think will really take me by surprise the first few weeks when I get back. Which is why I’ll be writing at least one more blog post (maybe more!) about those strange little/giant changes.
In the mean time, enjoy my pictures from barrio chino (chinatown) and Iguazú!
…by which I mean, the Internet is down in my Residence complex. Horror of horrors! Which means I either have to hang out in the library or the Humanities cafe, both of which are a bit of a walk away and aren’t open 24/7, but I don’t really have time for that because I have Welsh to study. Hence the absence of blogging. And I really did want to write another post after my last one which was, admittedly, rather on the depressing side.
So what have I been up to? As much as I’d like to say I was living up my last weekend in Cardiff enjoying all the nightlife/social events on offer and interacting with my lovely fellow students, that would be completely inaccurate. I’ve mainly been sitting at a desk for the past week and a half. No, literally. I just move from desk/table to desk–Humanities Building, Library, Humanities, Library, my flat.
BUT I am more or less delighted to inform you that I have finished all my essays for my modules in the History and Ancient History Departments! As of 26 minutes ago, I have also completed my very last non-Welsh module here. It was a great lecture by the School of Ancient History’s very dynamic and engaging Dr. Evans, on the delightful topic of death in the Ancient Roman world (including a fifteen minute discussion about worms. Delicious).
Another thing to be happy about–the essay I mentioned a few posts back on Ancient Coins that I had such difficulty with and agonized over and thought I would fail–well I did NOT fail, far from it in fact! I was very, very excited about this, as Dr. Evans saw when I picked up my essay from his office yesterday (I think he was amused by my excitement, though).
It’s really amazing. I have learned so much from my modules here, truly; I was so scared when I got that assignment. All I could think was “I don’t know anything! I can’t do this!”…but with many hours of effort, I managed to figure it out all on my own. And I think that’s one of the great things about the academic system here, painful as it is at times–in cases like this, when you are thrust into an academic situation where you are given VERY little guidance at all and know almost NOTHING about the topic, YOU have to go and do the research, starting completely from scratch. I didn’t have any professor here giving me step-by-step instructions as to how to begin evaluating Ancient Coins. I had to figure it out myself.
So I think I get what people mean when they say that the academic system here is much more “self-motivated” than in the United States. And the interesting thing about this process (and probably part of the point) is that because nobody is pointing to reading/sources/etc. and saying “that’s what you need to read/do,” you end up doing a lot of sifting and reading of sources and things that may not be directly relevant, and you learn quite a lot from that in addition to whatever you discover about the topic.
I understand the British academic system! Maybe. Close?
In any case, the countdown to departure is now a mere three (!) days. I still have three Welsh exams, a Welsh writing assignment, and two Welsh lectures to get through, so it’s not over yet! That probably sounds dreadful, but I love Welsh so much, I’m going to try to enjoy it insofar as it is possible to enjoy yourself with your first major oral exam in a crazy foreign language looming.
Many thanks to Anjie, the IFSA Spotlight Blogger studying abroad in Chile, for her comment on my last post; she said “I have a feeling that neither of us are going to lose what we have learned nor who we have become in our semesters abroad” and I think she’s right–thanks, Anjie!
I allowed myself to wallow a little in that post, and I’m sure there will be other times when I want to (and perhaps will let myself) do so (briefly), but I think that what I must do in order to make the transition back to my American life easier is to approach leaving Wales with the attitude I tried to go into it with–a positive one. I have to leave; that is a fact. The only thing I can change is my attitude towards leaving.
I have gained so much out of this experience and I must always keep that in mind–imagine if I HADN’T had to courage to go?! I would have missed out on so much. I wouldn’t have discovered such a wonderful place to which I most dearly hope to return. I don’t know how I will go back, or when, but someday, I will.
So here’s to going out the way I came in–head held high, ready to learn from and take on anything and everything that comes my way. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my semester in Wales, it is that I was living life a bit passively before I came here, and I don’t want to go through life that way ever again–because that’s no way to live at all.
|Sand castle made by anonymous architects. Photo: Digital Subway|
|Me at the beach in my fancy shirt. Photo by: Jonathon Feinmann|
|Franky Sowers showing off his acrobatic skills. Photo by: Digital Subway|
|Franky again. Photo by: Digital Subway|
|Auckland at sunset from Mission Bay Beach. Photo by: Digital Subway|
|People just chilling in the Sun in Albert Park. Photo by: Digital Subway|
Fun times till exams start. I am going to Bay of Islands next weekend which means more beach time. Cheers. Will keep you all posted.
I hope this blog finds you all well. I am please to say that I have finished all of my finals and am relaxing. I actually had my last final on June 3rd the same day as the program’s farewell party. (Perfect timing I would say!) At the gathering I was able to see all of the people from the program once more. During the party we ate all kinds of Egyptian food and hung out. Several of our professors also showed up and it was nice to say goodbye to them. They were all so nice and wanted all of their student’s information so that they could keep in touch over the years.
Apart from the party and getting to see everyone, I have to comment that it feels absolutely amazing to say I am done with my bachelor’s degree. All I am waiting for now are for my grades to arrive in the states so that I can pick up my diploma and make it official. I will be sticking around Egypt for a few weeks, just because I love it here so much. Hopefully, the time spent here will be full of fun and more moments I will keep forever in my memories.
Until next time!
As mid-June approached, it almost felt as if it snuck up on me, a blur of last assignments and exams. The end of classes was nearing, and after finishing up the second cycle of exams, we began to hear word of final exams. As far as me, the two IFSA study in Costa Rica program classes finished in the last week of classes, two other classes from UCR also finished that week and my two law classes had exams scheduled for July 13th and July 17th.What a bummer huh? My exam was the last day of the last week of finals. No matter how much you enjoy your time abroad, finals are always a downer!
The professor of Systems of Investigation and Judicial Reasoning had mentioned that the final might be changed from the 17th to the 7th so I was planning on being back July 14thish, mid-summer for a few weeks with my friends, family and boyfriend back home, and then I’d be back on a plane to Cornell University in mid-August. Then what happened was one day in Introduction to Law, the professor mentioned that there was the option of exemption for some students who had gotten a nine or higher on the two exams and on the class assignments. Wait, you can do that? I never would have thought that would have been a possibility for me at the beginning of the semester being an IFSA-Butler study abroad Costa Rica student, but I realized that I had gotten a nine on the first exam, so who knows? That would mean that I could be done with three out of four classes on the 2nd of July and have a final the 17th, I could have exams the 13th and 17th or, or….I could be exempt from the exam on the 13th and the professor could move the other to the 7th and I would be home the 8th of July. There were so many ifs that I wouldn’t count on anything at that point.
Later that week, the professor of Systems announces that we should agree on a date to move the final, at that point some brave soul blurted “el 2 de Julio,” July 2nd. I couldn’t believe it, the thought had never occurred to me, but suddenly I found myself also shouting it out, “el 2 de Julio!” Before I know it, our final was agreed upon for the 2nd of July, now I had to be exempt in my Introduction class, it was just meant to be I thought. I waited what seemed like ages but really was about a week to see what my fate would be so that I could book my flight home before the prices went way up. It was just about three and a half weeks at the latest until I would be leaving.
Thursday came, finally! I sat there patiently with my breath held as she announced the names…”Eva Dixon, y debemos anotar su mayor esfuerza en la clase…,” basically that the class should acknowledge the extra effort I had to put into the class to be exempt. I got a round of applause and congratulations from the entire class and professor. I couldn’t help but blush, it was a real honor. Not only did I get above a 9 on my last exam, I supposed I decided I would just go all out and get a 10, 100%! Exempt! Eximida! Me? Was she sure? Wow! I really did do it! So only a few minutes later did I realize that I would be completely done July 2nd!
After talking to my professors and program friends, I managed to sneak a flight home planned for July 3rd, just in time to be home for Independence Day! Woo hoo! I would be home to celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year- fireworks, food, sun, red, white and blue…I couldn’t wait. I called my mom, dad, boyfriend and told my best friend that in a short two weeks, I would be home… Then it hit me, I am home…here in Costa Rica. My home with a family, birthday parties, vacations, beautiful beaches…
Where in the world then, would I be going?