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

Daily Life as an Irish Student

Time March 7th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

Life in Ireland, wow, it’s amazing.

Of course, it has its ups and downs, but that’s just life in general. The best part is, every low is “higher” than the lows at home, because I’m here!

The most notable thing about Ireland that differs from The University of Tulsa would be the daily life. Here, I live in an apartment with four other girls, have a 20 minute walk to class, cook for myself, and have to adapt to the weather at any given moment. But hey, I’m learning how to live on my toes!

The best advice I can give to a student who is looking to study in Ireland is to pack with the weather in mind. The Irish students dress up, for classes, but only under their coat and rain jacket! A big hood is a must, layers, a scarf, and although they don’t wear rain boots a lot, when it pours they’re needed. The rainbows are beautiful, the grass is green, the walk to class is reflective as we pass the Irish countryside. Learning to cook has been a bit of a struggle, but luckily the other IFSA students and my Irish roommates are phenomenal chefs!

Daily life of an Irish student involves waking up in a snuggly bed and having to get up out of the burrito, put on some fuzzy slippers, and shower in the morning while the water is still warm. Put on a couple layers, make some breakfast and pack a lunch, double check that my charger is in my bag, and head to campus for the day. As the twenty minute walk is enjoyable with nice weather, I always have my rain jacket and enough homework to keep me on campus if it starts to pour, because the weather changes every 30-45 minutes. Tutorials (larger lectures) and Seminars (smaller discussions) throughout the day, studying and socializing in between, and making sure to keep up with the weekly socs (societies, which are like our clubs) email! Campus is always lively, whether it’s the cafeteria, Smokey’s Cafe, the library, the Arts Concourse, or the campus bar, Sult. With coffee and soup a day, I’m starting to feel more Irish. Hopefully I’ll turn a little greener for St. Patrick’s Day!

But until then, stay warm (and dry)! Read More »


Classism and racism

Time November 7th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Chile | No Comments by

Even though I’ve been on many adventures in Chile, my adventure in Buenos Aires, Argentina was definitely one to remember. While I was accustomed to certain social injustices in Santiago, I wasn’t (or maybe I was?) expecting the distinct effects history of immigration has on a population’s socialization. On Friday night, one of my friends activated a group going-out app to meet other groups of jóvenes who were going out. Among ridiculous conversations about a random assortment of things, we stumbled upon a group of Argentinian jóvenes who wanted to show us a little bit of porteño culture. One guy sent us a song to listen to and another promptly responded, describing the song as “n*gger music”

My friend and I showed each other the messages simultaneously, in disbelief that, despite the porteños having such a radically different context and conceptualization of race, they would feel inclined to use that word so freely and around someone of color. The group unmatched but I thought about that comment all night and decided to later ask a porteño friend what that word meant for them, or him at least.

He explained to me, or at least tried (I wasn’t really having it) that the word “n*gger” had nothing to do with the color of someone’s skin but was rather a synonym of “poor, fleite, commoner” and was more to do with socioeconomic status.

For me, I was more accustomed to the classism I had been experiencing in Santiago more than anything else so to encounter this ignorant response to a word blatantly dipped and soaked in racist history and thought left me amused and puzzled. I’m actually still processing this event so I’m going to stop writing here but maybe when I’ve accurately gathered my thoughts I’ll write another blog post!


Casey Cuts Class

Time November 7th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Wales | No Comments by

Want to know more about me? More about my adventure? More in general? Check out my travel blog “Casey in Cardiff” by clicking here or typing the following into your browser:

Finally Going Back to Class

Time February 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, Sharjah UAE, United Arab Emirates | No Comments by

It had been two months since I was in classroom last when I started my first day of school at AUS. I have already met a few differences from the system that my home university employs and the “American” system that AUS has in place. Here is a short list of what are the differences; Read More »


Lamest national park ever

Time November 12th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

We visited Parque Nacional Carara in our “Ecological Richness of Costa Rica” class.

It was honestly pretty disappointing. Though it’s billed as a sure-fire place to see the famous scarlet macaws, we saw none.

Picture 1 of 14

Me climbing a tree at Parque Nacional Carara


Follow the rest of my adventure throughout Costa Rica here at IFSA-Butler’s blog, at my blog, on Twitter or even on Facebook.


Sarchí: The land of colorful oxcarts

Time October 29th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

About a month ago our Spanish classes visited the small town of Sarchí, known for its beautiful, hand-painted oxcarts. We toured the factory, where we painted little wheels in the same style and fashion as the professionals, whom we also watched at work.

We also went downtown to see the largest oxcart in the world, made in the same factory we visited.

This from Lonely Planet: “Costa Rica’s most famous crafts center, where artisans produce the ornately painted oxcarts and leather-and-wood furnishings for which the Central Valley is known. … It’s a tourist trap, but it’s a pretty one.”

Picture 1 of 21

The whole group, plus our Spanish teachers and program associate in downtown Sarchi, at the biggest oxcart in the world.


Follow the rest of my adventure throughout Costa Rica here at IFSA-Butler’s blog, at my blog, on Twitter or even on Facebook.


A Break from Reality: A Photo Essay

Time April 12th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I was required to create a photo essay, a clear narrative told through photographs, for my Photographic Cultures course and I figured I would share it with you all. The photo essay had to contain no more than ten photographs and had to have a piece of writing (500 words) to accompany the images. There were four topics to pick from for the photo essay but here is the assignment directions for the topic in which I chose:

Choose a suburb or a street of Sydney to observe. Produce a photo essay that tells a story about the rhythms of the urban space.

This was the final product:


A Break from Reality

The American Students’ Perspective from Bondi to Bronte: A Photo Essay
Laura Rhodes


Bondi 1

The journey started at Bondi Beach with the waves crashing up against the rocks and the strong smell of sea salt in the air. The destination was Bronte Beach, but there certainly was no rush to get there. This was going to be a day of relaxation and serenity−a break from the real world, an escape from all worries.

Bondi 2

The short dirt path with greenery was a nice change from the paved sidewalk. We did not know where the path led−all we knew was we wanted to go and there was nothing holding us back.

On the way to Bronte 3

We reached the top of the hill and felt on top of the world. At that moment in time, nothing could bring us down. The wind in our hair, we were invincible.

On the way to Bronte 4

We didn’t think that the view could get any better, but then we turned around. A family on the hill with their little dog was silhouetted by the intense summer sun. We were caught in awe and rudely could not stop staring. It was like we were in another world. I do not think that I have ever seen the sun shine so bright, especially not in The States. It was one of those moments that I will never forget. The sun lit up the sky and all it touched.

On the way to Bronte 5

After we experienced such a sight, it felt like we were flying, soaring through the sky. The seagulls mimicked our emotions. They took off from the nearby rocks and headed towards Bondi Beach’s main shores. They were flying backwards, but we were headed nowhere but forwards.

On the way to Bronte 6

She watched the seagulls fly by, winding blowing through her hair, sun blaring on her back, warming her already sun-kissed skin. Not a worry in the world was going through her mind. Even though the schoolwork was building up and chemistry had to be dealt with later that night, later was not now. This moment was hers and she wasn’t going to let any stressful matters get of the way of enjoying the beautiful site in front of her.

On the way to Bronte 7

We walked a little ways and then once again stopped to enjoy the views and take some photographs to document our journey. We noticed a courageous surfer out on the rocks. What was he thinking? Although I didn’t know from experience, the rocks looked slippery and dangerous. I gave him credit for going out there.

On the way to Bronte 8

After admiring the brave surfer, we trekked on singing some popular tunes. We were in our own little worlds, doing our own thing−loving what life had offered us on such a breathtaking day.

Bronte Beach 9

We had almost reached Bronte Beach when we saw this adorable couple enjoying the scenery, just as much as we were. Conversation and laughter were flowing and it was clear that they enjoyed each others’ company.

Bronte Beach

It was a sad moment when we had reached our destination of Bronte Beach. It meant that our adventure was over and it was time to catch the bus back to the uni. When we boarded the bus, we all sat quietly and reflected on our afternoon. It was a good one to say the least.