Checking in with Student Social Media Correspondents, Jonathan & Christian

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IES Abroad
December 21, 2023

Our Fall 2023 Social Media Correspondents took us along on countless meaningful adventures over the course of the semester. 

As their programs come to a close, we asked Jonathan Shinn (IES Abroad Milan - Music: Voice, Composition & Instrumental program) and Christian Herald (IES Abroad Cape Town - University of Cape Town program) a few questions about what made their study abroad experiences memorable. 


Let's kick it off with Jonathan in Milan!

Checking in with Jonathan

What three words would you use to describe your study abroad experience?

Jonathan Shinn Headshot
“Rejuvenating, boundary-pushing, and adventurous!”
Jonathan S. • Butler University • IES Abroad Milan - Music: Voice, Composition & Instrumental
Jonathan walking in Milan

What’s local fashion like?

"Local fashion in Milan is high class 24/7 since it is arguably the fashion capital of the world. You will NEVER catch a Milanese in athleisure or looking anything less than exemplary. I absolutely love this cultural dynamic of fashion. There is also a good mix of classy vs. 'out-there' fashion."

Coffee in Milan

What’s the local way to order a coffee?

"The local way to order a coffee in Milan is super simple and straightforward, you always know what you're going to get! In the morning many people order a cappuccino but after 11 a.m. ordering this is an unspoken crime. When you order a coffee (un caffè), expect a shot of espresso with sugar on the side. You can ask for a latte but from my observations, they are not as popular. Of course, there are really no iced coffee drinks; however, you can ask for a shakerato, the Italian version of iced coffee!"

Jonathan cooking in Milan

What's the best advice you’ve received about study abroad?

"The best advice I've received from studying abroad so far has been the idea of continually putting yourself in spaces where you will learn and engage with the host countries culture. For me, this has been traveling around Italy and engaging in different settings within Milan as well like talking with locals in caffe's. Almost everyone has been incredibly kind and helpful especially in terms of learning the language! I've learned that you MUST not be afraid to fail at the language if you ever want to learn."

Jonathan in Milan on walking path

Could you see yourself living in this city again in the future? 

"I could definitely see myself living in Milan in the future. Milan has so many opportunities for really whatever you are interested in raging from business to fashion to art/music. I also appreciate the culture of Milan in that there is an emphasis on efficiency AND taking time to enjoy life, la dolce vita! No city is perfect, but Milan has a lot to offer."

Let's hop on over to Cape Town and check out what Christian has been up to this semester!

Checking in with Christian Header

One word to describe people from your host city?

Christian Herald Headshot
“I would describe people in Cape Town as being extremely welcoming. Everyone is so kind and friendly— it is nearly impossible to not make friends. ”
Christian H. • University of Richmond • IES Cape Town - University of Cape Town
Christian hugging an elephant

What's been your favorite field trip or course excursion so far?

"My favorite field trip was our trip to Kruger National Park in September. Winter in South Africa is a really great time to see animals— I compiled a list, and we saw 23 different types of animals during our time at the park! We also saw plenty of elephants, which is one of my favorite animals. It was amazing to see all of the biodiversity that South Africa has to offer, and I also really enjoyed our braai (what South Africans call a cookout) at night in the middle of the wilderness. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience!"

Christian at Kruger National Park

When you get home, what is the first thing you’ll say when someone asks “how was it?”

"I'll probably say 'it was the best thing I've ever done,' or 'it was life changing.' I never thought I'd be the person to come back from abroad and gush over my experiences, but it's exactly how I feel!"

Cape Town mountains

Tourist destination in your host city that’s completely worth the hype?

"Signal Hill is definitely at the top of my list for this. It's a giant hill next to Lion's Head— one of the three major mountains in Cape Town— that overlooks a lot of the western part of the city. Going there and watching the sunset with friends has definitely been one of my favorite activities I've done thus far, and it's absolutely worth the hype it gets."

Christian painting in Cape Town

Could you see yourself living in this city again in the future? 

"I absolutely could see myself living in Cape Town in the future. DC will always have my heart as my favorite city, because it's my hometown, but Cape Town definitely has the number two spot by a long shot. The people here are kind, the nightlife is incredible, and it's absolutely beautiful— there's not much more you can ask for in a city."

Learn more about studying abroad in Cape Town or Milan. Interested in becoming a Correspondent? Learn how to participate in our Correspondents Program! 

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