Top 10 Study Abroad Blog Quotes of Spring 2016

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Kiah Zellner-Smith
June 3, 2016

Right now, our Spring 2016 bloggers are finishing up their semesters abroad, while our summer bloggers are arriving on site. With almost 400 blog posts, our students had a lot to share about their study abroad experiences all over the world. Some made us laugh, others made us reflect, and many inspired us.

Here are our top 10 favorite quotes from Spring 2016 IES Abroad student bloggers:

“Going abroad is scary. It's unpredictable and crazy and intoxicating. As I pack my bag for Germany, I keep in mind to include with my things my curiosity and bravery. Because although I know being abroad won't always be comfortable, if I allow myself to experience it fully, it will be well worth the trip.”

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye! by Fiona Dwyer-Mcnulty, IES Abroad Berlin (Marist College)

"Something I like to remember is that studying abroad is not one long vacation. It is living a day-to-day life, and that includes homework. And crappy weather. And loneliness. And slow days to decompress and recharge. As students living away from home, we should remind each other—and ourselves—that not feeling like we’re living to the fullest all the time is perfectly okay. In fact, I think it’s valuable. I’ve learned just as much about myself in my quiet, solo days as I have during energetic trips with new friends.”

Don't you ever get homesick? By Jane Swingle, IES Abroad London (University of St. Thomas-MN)

“Regardless, all of this boils down to: it all works out; eventually, somehow. I wish I could tell my December self to stop worrying so much, that the money problems would fade away in the backdrop that is the rest of this city. I can’t, but I can tell any prospective study abroad students. If we are in the same boat, if the money is tight and just keeps getting tighter, if you are working long hours and squirreling away every dollar you can: I am so proud of you, and it is going to be so worth it.”

On Money by Kaylie Padgett, IES Abroad Dublin (Knox College)


“A lot of culture shock seems to stem from the idea that the culture one is used to is the only culture that exists and the only one that exists correctly. Herein the idea of something being different is somehow then ‘shocking’; different isn't shocking. It's just different. By having an open mind that accepts, acknowledges and understands that my culture is my culture and is not in any way a better culture, I feel I've been able to further appreciate Spanish culture.”

The Fine Line Between Teaching & Learning by Ashley Simmons, IES Abroad Granada (Brandeis University)

“At this point, two weeks in, I think that all of our predispositions about Beijing have been replaced or refined. I once saw a quote by Aldous Huxley that read, ‘To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.’ While it may appear to be harsh and condescending, this has always resonated with me because of the truth within those words. Our past experiences, our current knowledge, or our future aspirations all contribute to the differentiation between the ways we all interpret things in our lives.”

Crucial First Impressions by Brandon Berardo, IES Abroad Beijing (Wofford College)

“I’ve discovered that relationships with people from different backgrounds are some of the most valuable, not only because of the knowledge you gain from them, but also because you slowly learn that we are all just humans trying to navigate this chaotic world we live in.”

Going, Going (not quite), Gone by Manuela Tauscher, IES Abroad Freiburg (Skidmore College)

Photo credit: Layne Garrelts

“I realized that traveling to a new place was one of the best ways to overcome fear: fear of the unknown, fear of things you can't control.”

Pack It Up by Oliver Lowe, IES Abroad Cape Town (Gettysburg College)

“My challenge for you is to try and go beyond what you originally thought you were capable of.  Step out on the ledge of your comfort zone and take a chance. It is better to learn from your mistakes than to not try and never know what the end result could have been! I promise that you won’t be disappointed with the results because I know I certainly wasn’t. You will be surprised with the positive difference it will make not only in your life, but also the lives of others around you.”

Sydney, Round Two by Morgan Roush, IES Abroad Sydney (Penn State University)
Photo credit: Theresa Feeney

“My advice for a study abroad student is simple: Be open to change. Go to a café (one old, one new) twice a week if you can. Be a tourist. Speak German when you can...Get outside as often as you can. Don’t sit at home all the time (unless you need a mental health day; totally understandable). Go to the museums. As many as you can, they have enough for any and all types of people. Go to a ball and dance even if you feel silly or think you look stupid. Don’t think you’re stupid if you mess up your German, or feel like you’re ‘too American’ sometimes. You’re learning and growing and adapting. Don’t take anything too seriously. Make friendships, and if you lose some, too, just accept them and move on. You’re in Vienna goodness sake, the time is all yours and it’s about time you’re greedy with it.”

Auf Wiedersehn Wien by Selina Donahue, IES Abroad Vienna (Catholic University of America)

“I began to ask myself: Am I misrepresenting my experiences? What would I do if I couldn’t tell anybody about it? Where would I go if I couldn’t post pictures of it? I think there’s a fine line between sharing your experience with others, and crafting your experience for others…I that think too often we get in the mindset of ‘doing it for the Insta,’ which is our half-hearted way of admitting our millennial narcissism. It’s easy for our motivations to become muddled, especially as we compare ourselves to others…The feedback on the experience shouldn’t be the gratification we need. That’s not sustainable happiness. Experiences should be gratifying within themselves.”

Who Are You Traveling For? By Camille Smith, IES Abroad Rabat (Loyola University of Chicago)

Read more blog posts from our study abroad bloggers

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Kiah Zellner-Smith

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