Our Top 10 Study Abroad Blog Quotes from Fall 2015

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Ashley Houston
December 23, 2015

Airplanes have been boarded, finals finished, and last goodbyes shared. Our Fall 2015 bloggers are wrapping up their semesters abroad and submitting their final reflection posts. With more than 400 posts and counting, we learned new things about our programs and lived vicariously through our students. Looking back on the semester, these were our top 10 favorite blog quotes from IES Abroad students:

10. “One of the things I've come to really appreciate is just saying yes sometimes or doing things for the sake of experiencing something I might never be able to do again in the future…Being abroad is a bit of a cleanse in that I'm at the liberty to do whatever, experiment, experience, and exist in ways that don't have to be limited like they might be on a college campus in America.”

Making the Most out of Studying Abroad by Alex Nguyen (Columbia University | Tokyo)

Photo Credit: Annie Lyall Slaughter

9. “What happens when you don’t have plans? Well, you figure things out and you live by the seat of your pants. You ask for help at information desks and you get a map that you end up writing all over and folding and refolding so many times it tears at the creases. You’re up for anything and willing to take detours because you have time to spend and no other plans to worry about except eating somewhere and eventually heading back to home base to sleep. With little expectations for what the day holds, everyday has the potential to be fantastic because it wasn’t an absolute failure and some fun was had.”


Traveling Without Plans by Emma Ropski (Hope College | Barcelona)

8. “One thing I will definitely take home from this experience is a much more open mind to different cultures and how they perceive and experience things differently. I am also more willing to take part in more cultural events, whereas I used to feel as if it wasn’t my place because I’m not from their culture”


Saree not Sorry by Kayla Petersen (Miami University | Christchurch)

7. “It’s okay to be lost, I think. I never really realized that before coming to Ireland… I’d like to keep getting lost. And found, too, but always lost again, so that I am constantly pushing myself beyond the places I know, beyond the places in which I am comfortable, beyond the places in which I am sure…Studying here wouldn’t have been the same if I’d known exactly where to go from the beginning. I’m grateful for having gotten the chance to simply muddle through, to experience a place that neither I nor any of my close friends or family knew.”

Getting Lost by Chelsea Thomeer (Williams College | Dublin)

6. “Traveling to Rio the first time around, I was beyond freaked out expressing my sexuality—again, something a straight person never thinks of when going abroad. Identifying as bisexual at the time, my mom had told me to just not bring it up—she was afraid someone would react violently, and she wanted to avoid that very possible outcome. What happened instead was that I was accepted with open arms. Latin America is often viewed as an archaic and machismo place, but it was the warmth, acceptance, and huge LGBTQ community in Rio that allowed me to find the space in my mind and heart to fully realize my sexuality as a gay person.”

Navigating the World While Gay by Marco Lomazzo (The New School | Rio de Janeiro)

5. “The challenge is to use these lessons that we gain from the Galápagos to ultimately change our behavior and way of thinking. I am not doing any “good” if I go back to the United States and preach people to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle if I myself am not. The problems associated to the Galápagos do not just exist in this bubble, and before we are critical of the actions of others, I have found that we need to be critical of our own lives and choices. Only then will we be able to critically have a conversation about the environmental problems that our world faces.”

The Reality of “Paradise”: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly by Eudora Erickson (University of Rochester | Galápagos Islands)


4. “Making mistakes, making the best out of poor planning, and being with good friends through the whole process is one of the most emblematic themes of my time here in Beijing…I've learned so much about China and the Chinese language, but I've also gained insight on myself—the roles I play in groups, my good and bad qualities—yet most of all, I really came to appreciate how far kindness will get you.”

Last Mistake in China by Kelly Cunningham (DePaul University | Beijing)

3. “Don’t let your struggle deter you from your triumph as I almost did. In going abroad, you make a commitment to allow yourself to grow and mature. You take a vow to better yourself and solidify your humanness. These two months have been extremely difficult, but I smile today because I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”


Two-Month Breakthrough by Jonathan Thibeaux (Morehouse College | Shanghai)

2. “To even get here, to the edge, of what feels like the Earth, is a privilege, a profound privilege that beguiled my mind in the moment and days afterward.”

Waka Waka by Jada Bullen (Georgetown University | Rabat)

1. “Four and a half months ago, I came here wide-eyed, hopeful, and chomping at the bit for some adventure. I'm happy to say that along the way, I found more adventure than I could have ever dreamed of…I've realized lots of things about who I am and what I want. I've come to form opinions about social and political issues that affect my life here and back home. I've learned that culture is something we have to be both sensitive towards, and inquisitive for. I've learned that privilege means nothing until you learn to give that privilege away. I know I want to travel more, and probably for the rest of my life. And I've come to hundreds of other conclusions that I would have never come to if I didn't completely remove myself from my life and live it by myself across the world...Four months ago, I wanted a new perspective, and boy, did I get it.”

Reflecting When I'm Supposed to Be Packing by Cortney Cordero (Hofstra University | Cape Town)

Read more blog posts from our Fall 2015 study abroad bloggers!

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Ashley Houston

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