Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Wrapping up a dream

Time July 12th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Argentina | No Comments by

Every time I leave a place, it doesn’t seem to hit me and leaving Mendoza is no different. I walk through the tree-lined streets to my universities, meet in one of the plazas with friends, laugh over the stories of my host brother and pop into the IFSA office as if this will go on forever – not like it could be one of the last or the last time I do so. I’ve gotten so comfortable, life has become so normalized and routine and real, that I do not feel it can end. Fewer new experiences surprise me and there are less times that I am faced with a situation that leaves me lost. I guess I should take this as evidence that I have adapted pretty well.

I still pause when I speak and need to ask what words mean or for synonyms all the time, but I’m not struggling and re-conjugating every verb like I was at the beginning. More and more my professors and the other students have been mentioning how far I’ve come, as easily one of the poorest Spanish speakers (maybe the poorest of our little group of 10) when I arrived. This honestly has surprised me a lot. At the beginning, which was somehow just 4 months ago, I remember being so intimidated and self-conscious. I convinced myself, at my level, it was impossible to improve vastly in less than 5 months. I improved pretty quickly in the first month, but felt I hit a plateau in improvement. At that time in order to not disappoint myself, I accepted that maybe my Spanish wouldn’t improve greatly from that point, but I could work on expanding my vocabulary at least. Something happened in the final month. Out of nowhere (it appeared to me) I could speak with so much less effort. Even effortlessly at times, something I never expected to feel. I felt it most when chatting with my host family or fellow volunteers about topics I used to feel I did not have the adequate words to describe and then just resolved to listen. I also felt it during unexpected class presentations when we were supposed to just talk on our own, naturally and freely about different topics we studied. It’s like the words I got tongue-tied over were finally flowing out! I have to say it felt good, reassuring and gave me a new confidence to contribute more to conversation and share more of my ideas and opinions in different settings. Looking back at my personal notes where I wrote to just accept where I was at, despite the low level, and just do my best to improve, make me smile now. Although there were times where I had serious doubts about how effective my studying was and how well I’d be able to manage the language throughout the program, it seems at least some doubts were definitely unfounded. I am not done yet, but I feel I will be able to leave Mendoza with a sense of accomplishment and pride in my efforts and of course, great appreciation for the teachers, students, my host family and countless other Argentines that shaped my learning experience so profoundly. Read More »


A Week on a Vineyard

Time May 24th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, New Zealand | No Comments by

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Life After Abroad

Time May 22nd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

Wow, I never thought this day would come. I was so back-and-forth on going abroad in the first place, I never thought that I would go and miss it so much. The only thing that’s getting me through being back in The States is knowing that I will go back to Ireland one day and show my loved ones around.

Looking back, there were many challenges. Adjusting at the beginning of the semester to a new country, seeing my friends go back to school and having FOMO from parties, figuring my way around a new city, new school, and new grading system, finding a balance between time by myself and with friends (as it was my first time living in an apartment), learning how to cook, the list could go on and on. But the challenges were little speed bumps. They were hard for a day or maybe even a week, but I was over them in no time. I knew how temporary this semester was going to be.

One of the first weeks I sat down and wrote out all of the weekends I had in Ireland. Then I added the two IFSA trips, a few travels of my own, and I realized how short the semester would actually be. Thinking about it being so temporary made missing out on fraternity parties and tailgates much easier – especially when I was traveling around Ireland or the rest of Europe! Read More »


Excursion to Kilkenny

Time April 10th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

With the semester halfway through, I am getting less and less excited to go back home. One of those reasons? The friends I have made here. I am a mid-west girl already planning my travels to the New England area to see my friends once we’re back in the States. Luckily, IFSA Butler provided us with an excursion as part of IFSA Ireland. And although not all of the Galway Gang could make it, the group of Galway Girls were great to hang out with and get to know better. A girls weekend down in the books! Here are some of my favorite moments from the three day weekend in Kilkenny! Read More »


Academics Away from America

Time February 2nd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

Academics Abroad: The reason why you chose the country/program you chose. The most important thing about studying abroad, the studying! And yes, I still focus on school while I’m abroad having fun, but going through IFSA-Butler made it so much easier.

Prior to leaving: I had no idea where to go. I knew I had to make sure I would still graduate on time, since I had not planned to go abroad (again). I knew I had two psychology classes and statistics that I needed specifically, and two electives. I made many phone calls and emails to the IFSA staff once I had chosen Ireland, wondering how many classes Irish students take (typically 6, or a lightened course load of 5). I knew I needed Tulsa to approve the classes before I left. I had Tulsa approve 8 classes with the help of the IFSA staff and their syllabus bank, and contacting a professor as statistics can have prerequisites and as a sophomore I was planning on taking the senior-level cognitive psychology class! Ah! Luckily they had previous students take the psychology classes that had passed the class. Statistics was still in the air, but we would see when I got here.

While here: I got to meet the other 15 IFSA students here. Luckily, I had students in both of my psych classes, and one of my electives, Celtic Mythology! As I went to my first sociology lecture, I realized it wasn’t for me, but here at NUIG there is a two-week add/drop period. I contacted Ashley, the IFSA rep, and asked for help to switch into Celtic Archeology, another elective class that had many IFSA students in it. She easily helped me and I emailed the international office here to get a course outline, to email back to Tulsa! And within a few days Tulsa had approved it too, yay! The only thing left in the air was statistics, so I waited after the first lecture to introduce myself to the professor, who was incredibly kind. He said that last semester half of his class got high honors (basically an A) and he wanted to help me achieve that. His office was open Monday – Wednesday for tea and help, gave me two class representatives to ask, and the campus resources and the hours that they have statistics tutors. I knew I could succeed in such a positive environment (he also passes around candy each class, so that was a perk). After the two-week add/drop period, we had to register online to get Blackboard and register with IFSA. Ashley came to campus to help us through the process – wow! Read More »


Backpacking in the Andes

Time December 16th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina | No Comments by

My last week in Argentina was spent backpacking in Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes, in the southern part of Argentina. My travel buddy on this trip was an amazing friend and Argentine native who has been traveling here almost every summer since he was a child, so he knew the ropes. Read More »


Semester Favorites in and around Mendoza

Time December 6th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina | No Comments by

It’s my last few days here in Mendoza (wow time flies!), so I thought that I would do a wrap-up of some of my favorite places and things to do (as well as some tried-and-true tips and tricks) in and around the city!


Top 3 places to get ice cream (obviously the most important thing):

  • Bianco & Nero – Any flavor is good to be honest. I went there so often that the woman who works there felt comfortable enough correcting my Spanish…
  • Mailhó – The oreo flavor is my favorite!
  • Ferruccio Soppelsa – Go for the fruity flavors here

Yummy Argentine foods:

  • Milanesa de pollo – Chicken milanesa is most definitely the best of the milanesas.
  • Homemade alfajores – Kiosks sell packaged ones, which can also be good (try Avila or Pepitos brand). But best of the best are homemade with dulce de leche in the middle and coconut flakes around the outside – most bakeries sell them!
  • Medialunas – Pure flaky, buttery yum
  • Tartas – My host family made a lot of tartas (kind of like quiche, but without egg) – my favorite was spinach and chard.
  • Empanadas – Done right, they are absolutely delicious.
  • Gnocchi – In Argentina, it’s good luck to eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month. Not all families abide by this tradition, but mine often did!

Fav packaged snacks:

  • Toddy’s chocolate chip cookies – The perfect cheap cookie (tentative consensus that they’re better than Chips Ahoy)
  • Frutigran cookies – My “healthy” cookie of choice
  • Peanuts – In the search for a healthier and more sustaining snack than cookies or bread, I came to discover a soft spot in my heart for peanuts. I often go for the unsalted just because I eat a lot of salt here already. But other good variations are maní japonés and maní con miel.

5 fun restaurants:

  • Fuente y Fonda – Traditional Argentine food in large portions for sharing.
  • Anna Bistro – Get the vegetable salad with goat cheese pastries!!
  • Decimo Resto Wine Bar – I haven’t actually eaten here, but the restaurant is on the 10th floor of a building so it’s the ideal spot to share a bottle of wine and watch the sun set.
  • El Club de la Milanesa – A good place to take someone visiting Mendoza that has never had milanesa before – huge portions and lots of fun milanesa toppings!
  • Brod – Super fun for a more American-style brunch – definitely get the ginger and mint lemonade!

Places to study/hang/get wifi:

My favorite cafés:

  • Café Petrona – Cute, tea party vibe with an outdoor patio!
  • Café Leon – Simple place, friendly staff
  • Kato Café – The service here leaves something to be desired and the wait staff can get a little snarky, but it’s a good place to study i.e. never too busy, open during siesta, comfy couches, lots of space and plenty of fun (and sometimes distracting…) throwback music
  • Silla 14 – Haha haven’t been but I’ve heard it’s great!

Good places to get free wifi (if like me, your home wifi slowly crumbles before your eyes or you just need to send a text while out and about):

  • IFSA office – Always dependable if you arrive while it’s open (plus air-conditioning)
  • Outside of the IFSA office – The wifi still works when you stand outside of the door!
  • Outside of Starbucks – The Starbucks outside of the IFSA office has wifi without a password, so it’s easy to connect when you’re on the run. I would also recommend Starbucks as a study space – lots of nice tables and chairs, wifi, air conditioning when it’s hot. There’s also more of a typical “college-student studying” vibe going on there than in any other part of the city, which can be nice at times.
  • Outside of McDonald’s – Same deal as Starbucks – no password, so free wifi outside!

Bonus: On the go and need to pee? The Carrefour on Belgrano and Las Heras has free public bathrooms!


Tried-and-true things to do (in no particular order):

  • Hike Cerro Arco – The classic thing to do for tourists in Mendoza, but I think it’s worth doing once.
  • Go to all the ferias – It’s always fun to go to ferias artesanales (artisanal fairs) when they pop up in Mendoza, specifically in Plaza Independencia.
  • Try out events in the plazas – I went to an event in Plaza Chile to celebrate Chilean independence and an event in Plaza España to celebrate the Spanish harvest.
  • Take a trip to Chile – It’s a cheap and easy bus journey to get to Santiago and/or Valparaíso – both are definitely worth a visit! I’ve also heard amazing things about the desert in the north of Chile – San Pedro de Atacama – if you’re in the market for a longer adventure.
  • Go to happy hours – Lots of bars and restaurants have happy hours where you can get 2 for 1 drinks or drinks at a discount (Antares has artisanal beer and also delicious peanuts)
  • Sip mate in a park/plaza – Argentines like to “no hacer nada” (not do anything) and can spend hours just sipping mate and chatting with friends – it’s a great way for us Americans to learn how to “take a chill pill” if you will and not be on and doing something every second of the day.
  • Exercise in Parque General San Martín – A great place to take a run (I recommend around the lake) or to go to a free exercise class.

The End

Time December 5th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

Here it is December 5th.  I just got back into the States a week ago today and I can not believe it is already over.  Since being home I’ve seen family and friends and they all ask me that one simple question, “How was it?”  I wish the answer was as simple as the question.  My common response is how unreal it was and what a beautiful country New Zealand is.   However, that doesn’t seem to do it justice.  Living abroad was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  All the good times, tough times, and everything in between ultimately made me so happy to have had that experience.  Being abroad for five months teaches you a lot about the country and yourself.  I have gained a new perspective, made new friends, and have found a new home in the world, despite it being thousands of miles away.  I plan on going back to New Zealand at some point; I definitely want to see it in their summer time.  (It was tease leaving when it started to get really warm out and then coming back to the Northeast where there is snow on the ground this morning.)  But, if I never do make it back to NZ, I’m satisfied with my time there and what that time meant.  If anyone is reading this on the fence about studying abroad, the least you can do is just submit an application.  Go through the process, look more into your country, talk to people who went.  Prepare as much as you can, but remember there’s only so much you can prepare for.  It will be new and maybe uncomfortable at times, but that’s part of the experience.  Don’t rule out study abroad without giving it some serious thought, because looking back, I definitely would have regretted not going.


Christmas Markets

Time December 5th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, College Study Abroad, Ireland, Scotland | No Comments by

Since Scotland does not have the Thanksgiving marker to kickstart the holiday season, Christmas markets started in Edinburgh on November 18th. The markets are full of amusement park rides, Christmas music, festive beverages, and crafty shops. My Colgate friends, Sarah and Liz, visited me that weekend and kicked off the Christmas season with me. Liz and I had an incredible view of the city on the Ferris wheel. Sarah and I shared donuts covered in chocolate sauce.When my cousins visited, Madelyn and I braved the most intimidating ride of the markets. The “Flying-Star” were swings that went as high as the top of the Walter Scott Monument, or about 200 feet high. It was terrifying but we prevailed and celebrated this feat with Bailey’s hot chocolate and mulled cider. The Christmas markets are paradoxical in the sense that they induce a sense of homeyness and homesickness at the same time. I enjoy them but they also make me look forward to Christmas with my family.


A Scottish-American Thanksgiving

Time December 5th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, College Study Abroad, Ireland, Scotland | No Comments by

November 24th was like any other day in Edinburgh. The grocery stores were not flooded with people picking up forgotten instant stuffing mixes, or that additional can of cranberry sauce, in case one wasn’t enough. Thursday classes were on schedule as normal at the university. No “turkey-trots” were closing the streets in the morning. However, for American students, November 24th meant Thanksgiving (most likely his/her first) away from home. IFSA Butler, my abroad program, threw an American Thanksgiving get-together the Wednesday night before. We had a Ceilidh, with a Scottish band and traditional Celtic dances. I got to reunite with many American students who I had not seen in awhile. However, when I got home, the worst wave of homesickness rushed over me. I come from a huge family of fifty-three (!!!!) cousins and the idea of not seeing a majority of them over this holiday was tough. I missed my parents and of course the many “dad jokes” that surface around Thanksgiving. I called my parents and they comforted me by reminding me that I was lucky enough to have two of my cousins flying in the following day to help me celebrate the holiday.

On Thanksgiving, I met my cousin Madelyn for brunch following her red-eye. We walked around the city a little and then grabbed an “it’s five o’clock somewhere” pint in true Thanksgiving fashion. When Roman, Madelyn’s brother, landed, it was time for me to go to my last seminar of the term. We met back up for dinner and although it was not a turkey with all of the trimmings, it was still an incredible feeling to be with family so far from home. After dinner, I Facetimed into my Aunt Rose’s Thanksgiving party and was promptly circulated around the gathering of roughly thirty of my family members. I even made it into a few pictures through the screen of my cousin’s iPhone. Afterward, Madelyn, Roman, and I celebrated with my American friends in our favorite pub. I am SO happy that they were able to come and spend the week with me. It was a Thanksgiving I will always remember but of course, I am looking forward to next year’s gathering surrounded by my whole family.


Dieciocho Chilean style!!! Tiki tiki tiiiiii

Time October 28th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Chile | No Comments by

For my first (but hopefully not last Dieciocho) I was invited to a dieciocho familiar with one of my friends I made in a class. It was a little bit to the south of Chile in an old, traditional house with connecting rooms, space for a farm and a separate area for asados. The first night we hung out by the asado area and enjoyed the infamous piscolas and a drink whose name I can’t remember that was a combination of orange Fanta soda and beer (sounds disgusting but it was so good). We settled into our rooms at around 1AM to prepare for the next day filled with more asados and a local fondo where I had the best terremoto of my life. The next day we woke up at around 10:30AM and had a small breakfast but the asado was the best thing of my LIFE! There was an old family friend to help with meals and cooking because there were about 40 of us staying in the house and she made salad along with empanadas while the guys in the group slow cooked slabs of meat for us to eat in little pieces. Everything was so relaxed and I really felt that we got to learn more about Chile and its social customs during this time. Plus, the fondo allowed us to have a glimpse into the life of a rural Chilean lifestyle.


Dublin Street Art

Time October 28th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Ireland | No Comments by

Daily inspirations I walk by on my way to school and throughout Dublin.



Time October 27th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Australia | No Comments by

There are T-minus 16 days until my twenty-first birthday, not that I’m counting or anything…

This being said, ever since I turned 18 I have been dreaming of how amazing my 21st would be.  I dreamt of a nice dinner with my closest friends and family, celebratory champagne, and a night out clubbing with my best friends all while wearing a birthday sash and crown.  However, celebrating a twenty-first birthday here in Australia is nowhere near as exciting as in America.

So far in Australia I’ve celebrated three of my closest friends’ twenty-first birthdays.  While they have been amazing and special to us, whenever we go out to our favorite bars/clubs to ring in the big day, the staff and fellow Australians look at us like we’re crazy.  Of course they understand that every birthday is special, but we certainly haven’t gotten the stereotypical 21st birthday treatment we would have if we had been in the U.S.

So while I’m counting down the days until my birthday, I’ll be celebrating both here in Australia AND one week later when I return to the U.S… who says you can only turn 21 once?



Orientation Week: We’re Bonding

Time October 4th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Cuba | No Comments by

As I enter my second week of registration period at the University of Havana, I decided to take a moment and reflect on our group adventures thus far.
From Toronto, my group and I endured a 3 hour flight to Havana as well as an additional 3 hour wait for our bags. When we finally made it through customs, our director Michelle was waiting outside to welcome and deliver us to our families. Because of our late arrival from the airport, we were only able to exchange brief introductions with our families before going to sleep. Read More »


Did I Even Leave?

Time July 26th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina, LGBTQ Correspondents | No Comments by

Right now I am fairly certain I’m getting stares as I type this at an El Ateneo, the Argentine version of Barnes & Nobles. Maybe it’s because I’m the only one with a laptop, maybe because of the English stickers on its cover, or perhaps my Americaness reeks for whatever reason. Regardless, so much has happened this first week that I thought it would be best to record a new entry. Read More »


Onward and Southeastward: Why Blog Abroad?

Time January 3rd, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

First off I’d like to welcome you to this blog. Here I will lead readers through a whole semester of my studies in Brisbane, Australia. On the surface, readers can expect pictures of beautiful scenery as well as (hopefully) eloquent encapsulations of my travels and experiences. However, follow this blog closely and readers can expect to be transported into the Australian experience. Now I’m obviously not exactly sure what that experience will entail, but by following this blog one will meet intriguing Australians, taste unique cuisines, travel to distant lands, and learn things they would have never though they’d learn of.


I would like to achieve more than just creating a document of a trip, what I would like to do is join two worlds. I want people following my travels to live what I’m living and understand a totally different culture through my eyes. To do this, I would as that if you find yourself reading this blog, that you let me know and keep in touch through comments or by other means of contact. Ask questions, request photos, give me ideas, and most of all enjoy the experience.


I will depart in the middle of February. Until then,  feel free to contact me with your experiences in Australia or other parts of the world. I’m incredibly excited to head down under and I hope that, by following this blog, you enjoy the journey as much as I can.


Looking good, Mendoza!

Time August 16th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

Today I’ll be talking about:

I. Speaking Spanish
II. Technical Concerns
III. Getting to Know Mendoza
IV. Vocabulario
V. Música
VI. Links to Previous Posts


I. Speaking Spanish

I thought I spoke Spanish, and I was ready to speak Spanish…until I actually met my host mom.

I think I finally understood something about one of my friends from Japan. When I first met her my freshman year, I was all sorts of hyper and overexcited to be there at my dream school in California, and so I was talking about 80 million miles an hour. Poor Junko’s eyes were as big as dinner plates. “Sorry—can you slow down?” she said.

“Oh yeah, sure, of course!” I said. And I would slow down…until I got excited about something and forgot again.

That’s how my host mom and I interacted, only I was in Junko’s shoes this time. I guess it’s my linguistic karma.

The first thing my host momma said to me was, “I talk really, really fast, so just let me know if you don’t understand something!” Good luck getting a word in edgewise to let her know though.

However, she’s very sweet, very concerned about my happiness and well-being. She’s also sassy and funny. Plus, her paintings are all over the house, which is awesome. You can check out my host momma’s art here.

All the same, I thought I was gonna cry on day one, even thought host momma was so nice, because I was just so overwhelmed. Not to mention frustrated with my sudden clumsiness with Spanish. I had about 5 minutes to put down my things, and then we hopped back in the car and headed over to one of her many, many friends’ houses. She’s a little social butterfly. We stopped at a bakery first, and all the Spanish was making my head spin. So fast and so mumbly! She told me to pick out facturas, which I think was the single most terrifying thing she could have asked of me at that point. I just didn’t have the mental power to make decisions.

When we arrived at her friend’s house, I was delighted to see two other girls from my program. Our host moms are friends. Think back to Saturday morning cartoons, where the sailor who’s been lost at sea finally washes up on the beach and starts kissing the sand. Land! English! That’s how I felt.
Before I left, I was determined to have mostly Argentine friends and only talk to people from the program when I had to, because I was going to live in Spanish Mode, the end. …Hahaha, that’s cute, Yona. Here in the real world, I am so grateful for English-speakers. Honestly, I overindulge in it, considering I can speak English any time I want in the U.S. and I’m only here for a few months. But sometimes you just need a mental break.

In addition to my host momma, I’ve also got a dog, who knows how to open the front door and let himself out.


And I’ve got…I guess she’s my host sister, but she’s not related to my host mom. She’s very sweet, patient with my limited vocabulary. I learn a lot of my slang from her, plus advice about boys and alcohol. 😉 She also understands a surprising amount of English (mostly from watching TV, I think, because a lot of it is English shows with subtitles) which is super helpful when I’m looking for the Spanish equivalent of non-dictionary words.

I’ve been here a few weeks now, and I feel very comfortable at my host family’s house. I’m excited to go back to it after a long day of class—it feels like my house. I like my host mom, and I feel comfortable talking to her about pretty much anything. (She has strong opinions about men though, and I’m not sure I agree all the time.) This morning she asked me if I translate in my head when I speak Spanish to her or if I’m thinking in Spanish…and I realized, no, I’m not translating for the most part, I’m just speaking. My vocabulary has its limits, and I still can’t do Spanish too well when I’m tired, but I do speak Spanish here. And I’m fully capable. :)



II. Technical Concerns


I seriously recommend that you wait until you get here to buy a phone or a converter. First, I was lucky and my host mom already had a phone and a converter for me to use from the last time she hosted. I would’ve wasted my money if I’d bought them myself. Second, in the U.S. they tend to sell converters in packs, and you don’t necessarily know which one you need. Converters are cheap and easy to find at ferreterias here, and if you need a phone IFSA helps you get one.

Things you WILL want are shoes with arch support and nice-looking sweaters. You’re going to be wearing your jacket constantly for a while, so make sure you bring ones you really like.

WiFi may be spotty. Talk to your host family…and pray. The IFSA office has good WiFi though, if all else fails.

Make sure you know how to use your house key before you leave the house. The keys here are large and old fashioned, and the locks are finicky. I got locked out of my house on the first day, with the keys in my hand. :( With a little practice, I’ve finally learned the exact way to jiggle the lock until it pops open. I’m not sure what exactly I learned because I don’t think I’m doing anything drastically different, but there you go.


III. Getting to Know Mendoza


The prospect of trying to find my way around terrified me. This was my internal map of Mendoza on day three before I walked to Congreso by myself for the first time:


But finding my way was actually very straightforward. Medoza is a nice place, and I already love it. (I can’t wait to see it in the spring!) Most things are within walking distance of each other. Street signs are marked more clearly than in BA. If you like coffee, you’ll like it here, because if you trip walking in the centro, odds are good that you’ll land in a café.

Traffic is also a little less voluminous here, though equally as dangerous as in Buenos Aires. The “do not walk” sign really means something more like “cross fast and don’t look back!” Still, be careful and be smart about it.

In addition to learning the geography of the place, I’m obviously also learning some things about the culture of the area. Let’s talk about food:


I’m only exaggerating a little.

Oh, and mate obviously. Tortas and other egg-y things are also pretty big, and so is jam. Tea exists, but if you order just a tea in a café, people worry about you.

You might get Salad, but it might not look like the salad you’re expecting. I’ve had a tomato salad (chopped tomato with lemon and olive oil), a carrot salad (grated carrot with lemon and olive oil)…

My mom can definitely cook, but we also do a lot of reheating of stuff she bought around the corner or something. My momma loves the microwave. It’s still good, mind you. But it’s definitely a big change from the way I was cooking for myself all summer!

However, it really depends on who your family is. One of my friends has a real mixed green salad every night, very little meat. Some families cook really well…and others, well… I’ve heard some funny but tragic stories from other kids in the program.

Brace yourself, basically.




IV. Vocabulario


Once you hit Mendoza, unfamiliar words start flying thick and fast. You should definitely keep a notebook on hand to help you remember some of them. I’ve got pages and pages in my notebook about vocab, but I’ll give you guys just a few of the most frequently used/confusing ones.


Copada – cool

Re – very, super

Factura – pastry

Ubicar – located / to be located (estar)

Varon – boy

Alargador – extension cord

Enchufar – to plug into a wall outlet

Materias – courses

Parciales – midterms


Words you thought you knew in Spanish but don’t if you didn’t learn Spanish in Argentina:


Avocado = Palta, NOT  aguacate

Corn = Choclo, NOT maiz or elote

Fridge = Heladera, NOT refrigerador

Strawberry = Frutilla, NOT fresa



V. Música

First and foremost, expect to hear a lot of American music here. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Call Me Maybe since arriving—there’s no escaping it. Argentine radio is also…full of surprises. One minute you’ve got Lady Gaga, the next it’s a dubstep remix of the Beatles, next it’s an actual song in Spanish, next it’s 70’s rock. All on the same station. So, expect the unexpected.

Here’s a song in Spanish for you to jam out to. My host sister likes this one a lot.


VI. Links to Previous Posts

1. Antes de que me voy (Before I Leave)

2. Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation

3. “Are You the Girl with the Blog?”

4. Playing Tourists in Buenos Aires


“All adventures,especially into new territory,are scary.”

Time August 14th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I am officially freaking out. I leave for the airport in less than 5 hours. I don’t think I’ve really taken the time to mentally prepare myself for this trip. I have been so absorbed in planning  and figuring out the logistics of how everything will work (which even now I am still in the process of doing- how am I getting my laptop to Ireland?!). My advice for people planning a trip before studying abroad: think of every little tiny hiccup two months in advance and find a solution for it a month before you leave, not the day you leave…

Luckily though, the fantastic IFSA-Butler staff has been extraordinarily helpful. They email me back within hours when I ask really silly questions that have already been explained in prior emails. Or when I ask about things that I don’t need to worry about they are quick to assure me they will take care of things. They are literally life savers.

Even so, my stress continues to sky rocket. But maybe it’s not stress. Maybe it’s a combination of nerves, excitement, stress, and the fact that I have a bit of a cold that is making my stomach roll. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am about to have the best 4 months of my life; but try to tell the butterflies in my stomach that fact and I begin to feel even more sick.

My one probably overweight suitcase that I have yet to try and close, and my tiny backpack that holds 2 weeks worth of my life. Now where does the laptop go…

Once I am finally on the plane and there is nothing more I can physically do to prepare, I will somewhat settle down and enjoy the moment. Until then I will continue to cram things into my suitcase, freak out about how much money this endeavor will be, and chug some Airborne to try and bump my immune system for the 9 hour flight tonight.


Getting to Know Me

Time January 11th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It’s five days before I leave for England, and obviously a lot is on my mind. Before I share some of my preparations and excitement, I thought I would give a brief introduction to who I am.

I am the third child of six. Being a part of a large family has been so much fun. My two older brothers are married and I found out this Christmas that I’m going to be an aunt for the first time. Thankfully, the baby isn’t due until I get back from being abroad, but I am a little sad that I will miss the months of preparation. We are all very close and being the first grandchild, I’m sure the whole family will want to be a part. I am a Junior at Butler University and I’m studying mathematics to become a college professor. That means I’ll be in college for the rest of my life. At least it feels that way some times…yet I love it! I’ve been looking at graduate schools recently, but mainly I’m enjoying my time at Butler.

Besides school, I’m really involved in both the churches I attend (one at home and one at school). I teach 4-6 year old’s during Children’s Church, help out with the youth occasionally, sing on the praise team and in the choir, and help out in any other ways needed. I’m also part of several clubs on campus that are focused on volunteering or mathematics. I work on campus during the school year in a department that helps staff and students learn how to use technology. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit of a nerd and geek…and my mom can receive all the credit for that.

While I’m abroad, I will still be studying mathematics at Leeds University and working on my thesis. As part of the honor program at Butler, I am writing a thesis on cubic graphs and their important applications. I’ve been in contact with a professor in London who wrote several papers on cubic graphs, so hopefully I will be visiting him later this semester for an interview. I will definitely share that experience on here!

My mom and I are arriving in England a few days before the official start of the IFSA-Butler program. We are arriving in Leeds Friday morning, then she will be flying out of Heathrow Monday morning. We are hoping to get to know Leeds a little the day and a half we are there, then exploring London for a day before she goes back home. I’m really excited that she gets to share part of this experience with me.

Am I ready to leave? Ummm…that is a resounding no. I haven’t packed anything yet, although there is a pile that’s been growing in my room of things I might want to take. Now whether or not it will all fit in my suitcase, that’s a problem I don’t want to think about yet. I’ve been going through all my emails and newsletters to make sure I have all the paperwork and information I need. I’m still putting together a packet of all the important documents and papers that I will need with me abroad. I’m a bit of an organization freak, if you can’t tell.

Sometimes I get nervous when I think about being away from my family for so long. Being so close to them, I know it’s going to be hard at times. I also know that we will keep in contact as much as we can, so that will really help. I go to school three hours away from home, which is far enough to limit my trips home to at most every other weekend. But I’ve never been away from home for longer than a month at a time. Right now, I’m not really worried about all that. The excitement of actually being in England is a little overwhelming! I’ve dreamed of going to England since I was in middle school. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 movie. I mapped out the houses used to film the movie and I cannot wait to visit. Not to mention Jane Austen’s house just outside of greater London. Aaaahhhhh! It’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening! Sounds so cliche…but it’s true. When you think about and dream of doing something for such a long time, your brain doesn’t always catch up when it all starts to come true.

I’m going to start packing Monday, so once I have everything put together and ready to go, I’ll try to remember to write up another post before I leave.

Until then…


“You is kind. You is smart. You is important”
Aibileen Clark, The Help


My Genuine British Homestay

Time November 16th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

This weekend I decided to go to Josh’s house. The last time I saw Josh someone ended up naked on a rugby pitch, but I decided that the risk was worth the reward. Josh is funny, and decidedly British, and he’s one of my best friends. We worked together for the past two summers at a children’s summer camp, and coincidentally he ended up next to me at Oxford-Brookes. The opportunity to see a real British household was too good to pass up.

Josh’s dad met us at the Cheltenham bus station, and from there it was a short drive to the house. It was a beautiful home—yellow, with a gate and a border collie—and the first thing Josh and I did was cook a proper English fry-up. I was in charge of the mushrooms, which were as golden as the sunrise, and Josh took the eggs, beans, and bacon. The toaster was in charge of the toast. When all was done, the eggs, beans, and bacon were inedible. Josh and I looked at some sheep out the window and pretended to be satisfied with mushrooms on toast.

On Sunday we went to his brother’s cross-country race in Bristol. Ben had recently won nationals for his age group, and this weekend he was competing for a 1000 pound prize. The large purse also attracted the UK’s top talent; at 20 years old, Ben was one of the youngest and most inexperienced runners there. Nevertheless, he put up a good showing, and although he didn’t win we were all proud of him and went out for ice cream afterwards. Actually, he just got on a train back to London and we went back to the house. There was no ice cream.

That evening, Josh’s mother prepared a traditional Sunday roast. It was unlike anything I had tasted before: think Thanksgiving feast, but every Sunday, and better. There was an entire roast chicken, expertly cooked and cut from the bone, as well as a vegetable medley—peas, carrots, and cauliflower—and both fried and roasted potatoes. We also had Yorkshire pudding, little flaky golden cakes that tasted like Pillsbury croissants. Josh covered his whole meal with runny stuffing, a mix of stuffing and gravy, and I followed suit. Although meals at Oxford are convenient—three courses served to us in a Harry Potter-like hall by suited waiters and waitresses—I’ll take Josh’s mum’s cooking any day.

After dinner, we “spoofed” to see who would clean up the dishes. “Spoof” is a game in which every participant gets three coins, and clandestinely puts one, two, three, or none of them under his or her hand on the table. Then everyone gets a chance to guess how many coins there are. If someone gets the number correct, he/she is out. This continues until only one person is left, and he/she is the loser. I, of course, was the loser, and had to do the dishes. We spoofed again to see who would make tea and cake, and I narrowly avoided losing again by beating Josh in the final round. This arrangement suited me, because I didn’t want to make tea, but also everyone else, because it was apparent that I had no idea how to make tea.

In the morning, Josh and I ate some Weetabix before getting back on the bus for Oxford. The bus was right on time, and I got two seats to myself. It was a comfortable ride, a fitting end to a comfortable weekend.


Farewell Australia

Time November 16th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

My final vlog from Australia. A top 10 and a small tribute.


A Walk of Coogee

Time October 31st, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

A little walking tour of the town where I live. Only 2 more weeks!


Rugby World Cup Highlights

Time September 14th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | Comments Off on Rugby World Cup Highlights by

I spent my Spring Break in Auckland, New Zealand with the main goal of experiencing the Rugby World Cup. These are the video highlights from the Opening Ceremonies and Opening match.

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6 Weeks in

Time August 18th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I’m 6 weeks in to my adventure abroad. I’ve gotten to do some pretty fun things recently and I’ve seen home sickness rear its ugly head.



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Thoughts After a Month Abroad…

Time August 8th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Well, it has been a month since I left home and things are starting to change a bit. The honeymoon feeling is gone and some other things have come up.

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