Students Are the Most Thankful for This One Thing While Abroad

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IES Abroad
November 25, 2019

Whether it was an outstanding trip or a spectacular meal, there are a lot of little moments that bring a smile to our students' faces now that they’ve returned from study abroad. The underlying theme seems to be (spoiler alert) the relationships they forged, whether with other students in their programs, with people they met along the way, or with themselves. It can be pretty hard to narrow down an entire semester (or year) into one thing to be thankful for, but luckily our IES Abroad Student Ambassadors found that every experience was shaped significantly by, well, people. Read on to hear what they have to say!


The Best Memories Are The Ones You Share

"I can't be most thankful for a single moment. Instead, I am most thankful for many moments with a single person: my friend Jin. Not only was Jin in my IES Abroad Shanghai cohort, but he is also a peer of mine at the University of Rochester. During our semester abroad, we did everything from play on a local rugby team together to hiking in the world's deepest river gorge. A true dynamic duo if I ever saw one. Jin made my study abroad experience so much more memorable, and I'm really grateful I got to share a semester in Shanghai with him." - John Cole (IES Abroad Shanghai, Fall 2018 | University of Rochester) 


Finding A Home Away From Home

"I am thankful and beyond grateful to have called Argentina my first home away from home. I am also grateful to experience the sun-kissed warmth of the north in Cachi and Salta, the bone-chilling charm of the most southern city in the world, Ushuaia, and the frozen, icy beauty of Patagonia." - Anngelica Peters (IES Abroad Buenos Aires, Fall 2018 | Penn State University)


Trying Something Totally New? Check!

"During my study abroad semester, I was able to experience something I was never normally able to experience in my hometown: hiking. And it was even more amazing to be able to do this with friends I made while in New Zealand. I am thankful that I was able to challenge myself, and that I had the support of those around me. Some of the hiking could get a little scary at times, but having those people around who I know were there for me was one of the best relationships I could have asked for." - Emily Manasian (IES Abroad Auckland, Spring 2019 | Miami University) 


"One of the memories that I am most thankful for is the Thanksgiving dinner. I had a moment to realize how much all of our language skills had improved while conversing in Spanish throughout the meal. I was also so amazed by how helpful and friendly the professors, staff, and orientation leaders had been during our entire study abroad experience." Lena Etoka (IES Abroad Salamanca, Fall 2018 | Occidental College) 


Reconnecting With Friends? Score!

"I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to travel and see my friends who permanently live elsewhere in Europe. When I was a freshman, I made friends with two guys from Scotland who were study abroad students in the U.S. When their time in America ended, I thought I wasn't going to be able to see them ever again. When I studied abroad in Dublin I was able to visit them and continue to grow and strengthen that friendship. Friendships are definitely something I am most thankful for when thinking about my experience." Allie Grandos (IES Abroad Dublin, Spring 2018 | University of Iowa)


A Hometown Visit to Remember

"When I was in Vienna, I got to meet people from Greece, Russia, Germany, France, and more. A few of my Italian friends were from Trento, which is in Northern Italy near the Dolomites, so they took me to visit their home town! I was able to see and experience a part of Italy I never would have seen if it weren't for my Italian friends I met in Vienna. I even got a chance to hike in the Dolomites thanks to them! I am forever grateful for this group of friends I made, they were definitely one of the best parts of my time abroad." Emily Peterson (IES Abroad Vienna, Spring 2018 | University of North Texas)


"I am most thankful for my trip to Kinosaki, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. I went on my own during winter break, and I loved exploring the area on my own while making new friends. I stayed in a town next to Kinosaki, where I found possibly my favorite coffee shop in the world: a small store a short walk from my hotel run by a kind elderly couple. They helped me book a ferry (the only feasible way) to get to Genbudou, which was so much more beautiful that I thought it would be. There was also Kinosaki itself, where I was able to go to plenty of onsen for amazingly cheap, and went to the top of Mt. Daishi, the view from which also cannot properly be captured in a photo. I would love to go back one day." Jessalin Urbano (IES Abroad Nagoya, Academic Year 2018-2019 | Penn State University) 


A Very German Festival

"The day the carnival came into town, I told my friends we had to go! Cat, my Thai-German best friend advised the festival was best enjoyed at night when the lights were on and the stars shone brightly. Hope rallied the rest of our group, and the five of us embarked on our journey to the fair. The fair foods weren't the fried Oreos and popcorn I was used to back home. I took a bite into my dark chocolate covered apple as my friend Juan snacked on his Wurst. Ritvika dragged us to the swings and we swung around meters high in the sky, looking at the Black Forest outlining Freiburg. The photos we took that night are what I look at when I'm feeling low. Staring at the pictures, I'm taken right back to those moments of laughing and bliss floods back into me." - Myiah Smith (IES Abroad Freiburg, Fall 2018 | Georgetown University)


A Journey Through the French Countryside

"Towards the beginning of the program, a group of us decided to visit Colmar, a French village not too far from Freiburg. The eight of us, having spent very little time together before that trip, got along beautifully and we enjoyed an incredibly special day touring the small town, eating innumerable pastries, and longingly gazing through boutique clothing shop windows. For the second half of the day, we rented bicycles and rode through the French vineyards and into a smaller village nearby. Even though I wasn't close to everyone at the start of the trip, the relationships I began to form during that trip Colmar are still very meaningful to me." - Rena Childers (IES Abroad European Union, Spring 2019 | Pomona College) 

Interested in hearing what recent students did during their time abroad? Want to hear more about a specific program? Contact one of our Student Ambassadors to ask all your study abroad questions!

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