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Why IFSA-Butler’s orientation process works

Time August 5th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It seems completely counterintuitive to send study abroad students to a completely different place for their first week of orientation, only to shuttle them off to a completely new town with completely new family.

It’s paramount to doubling the culture shock, antithetical to IFSA’s promise of “More culture. Less shock.”

But, by George, it works. Transition to university has been easier than I could have imagined, no small thanks to my time in Liberia.

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10 survival strategies for the first week of classes abroad

Time August 5th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

New campus. New students. New professors. New subjects. New regulations. New languages.

All of the change associated with studying at a new school is enough to drive even the most competent student mad.

Here are a couple of tips I picked up from my experience of “syllabus week” at a foreign university.

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My first volcano visit, at la Rincón de la Vieja

Time July 25th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

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A tour of San José, in pictures

Time July 25th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

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It takes a village

Time July 22nd, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

July 16, 2013

heredia-room I told my host mom the day I moved in that my Internet didn’t work.

15 minutes later, four different ticos, from at least three generations of the same family, were in my room (pictured here) trying to get my computer to work.
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Learning Spanish, poco a poco

Time July 16th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

July 13, 2013

Today was my last full day in Liberia, one of the bigger cities in Guanacaste, the northwest region of Costa Rica.

I had a great time climbing volcanoes, touring the clubs and dancing/singing with ticos.

But one the best, worst parts of my first week here: Spanish.

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First experience with culture shock highlighted the little things

Time July 8th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

I’m here in Liberia’s Hotel Boyeros in Guanacaste, the northwestern region of Costa Rica. Guanacaste, in itself, has a fascinating story, as it voted to leave Nicaragua in 1824 and to annex itself to Costa Rica. But I’ll try to talk more about that later this month when the Ticos celebrate that decision in their annual festival.

Hotel Boyeros in Liberia, Costa Rica

Now, all of my reading up on Costa Rica’s culture and nature did help (I’ve been voraciously reading Lonely Planet‘s guide to the country), but I was still pleasantly surprised by what I found.

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Preparation, flexibility keys to beginning journey

Time July 8th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | Comments Off on Preparation, flexibility keys to beginning journey by

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

– Lao-tzu

Studying abroad was always something I knew I needed to do, but I never thought it would be this hard.

Final stages of packing, less than 36 hours before takeoff

Final stages of packing, less than 36 hours before takeoff

Take packing, by far the hardest part of predeparture shenanigans. It’s not just the logistics of fitting everything needed (and nothing more) for five months in two suitcases and a backpack.

But there’s also emotional baggage to unpack.

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