Welcome to WOU’s Photoblog for Students Abroad!

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I’m pleased to introduce you to WOU’s photoblog for students who are studying or interning abroad.  I  invite you to follow our students on their journeys from pre-departure preparation through the return home.

Photoblogging is a wonderful way for students to share what they are learning, observing, and discovering in their new environments.  Enjoy the journey with them!

WOU’s photoblog is modeled on the Australian “Bringing the Learning Home” project developed by Jan Gothard, Greg Downey, Tonia Gray, and Linda Butcher, and with their permission, utilizes some of the materials from that project.  http://ozstudentsabroad.com/

Santillana del Mar

I have to play a little bit of catch up because the last week was really hectic and I didn’t have time to post as much as I wanted to…

Anyways, for our last excursion they took us to Santillana del Mar where we were free to explore the little town at our leisure. The whole time spent in Spain I was surrounded by tangible preserved history but I never lost the sense of awe I first felt on my first taxi ride into Oviedo. Walking in this town totally reminded me of how lucky I am to have had this opportunity and now am apart of the passing history of this town. All the shops are too cute  and just the setting in general is beautiful! While exploring, we found the museum of torture that we were told is not for the faint-hearted but definitely an interesting glimpse on the history of not only Spain but Europe in general. THAT was an intense experience although it was very interesting. Afterwards we just continued wandering throughout the little calles and shops until it was time to go. It will forever be a sunny-filled memory spent with good company.20140719_115556 20140719_123149 20140719_123317 20140719_134126

London Week 3!

Hello!

So a lot has happened since my last post. First, I will start with the two field trips I have had with my class. The first one was on the Churchill War rooms and it was really interesting going through the timeline of all the things he accomplished. We got to hear actual conversations he had with other people and got to read letters that he wrote to his wife. Next we went to the National Portrait Gallery, and although it was not my personal interest it was still a cool thing to see. There were many famous portraits and the museum was laid out in different time periods so we got to learn a little about the significance of certain time periods. This weeks field trip was to the Maritime Museum. We took many pictures at the prime meridian and learned a little bit more about Nelson. Now, before the program to study abroad had started we all had to write about a certain British Leader and mine was Nelson, so I was really excited to see what kind of ship he used while he was sailing and learn some more facts about him. Unfortunately, the only thing I got to see was one of the ships. There was a Nelson exhibit, but I had gotten lost so I didn’t get to go in :(

A little about what I have been doing when I am not in class is went to the supermarket by myself! After three weeks of being here I was finally able to go out without having someone accompany me. Now, to get to the supermarket, you get on a bus and it takes you right there, I know how silly of me to feel scared to go that far. But I am happy to inform you all that I even went on the tube all by myself. The tube is a max/subway and it is really confusing, you have to change to different lines to get to a certain place. I used the tube all alone today, I went to the National History Museum and M & M World. It was a cool place to go and check out. They were both free and the M & M World had a variety of different gifts, so it wasn’t all chocolate, but there was four different levels so that was interesting. I also went to a park called the Heath and saw a small zoo. I went to watch a film while I was here and it was interesting. They have assigned seats here, so if you get there early enough you will get a good one, also there are VIP seats and those are just bigger seats and bigger arm rests and are closer to the front.

I also attended church on Sunday and went to their annual chocolate festival. Basically, they should not call it a chocolate festival. It was literally a stand where they gave free ice cream. You had to stand in line for about half an hour. It was good, but I was expecting a lot of little stands with different types of chocolate to try out. On Saturday, I went to watch Wicked and it was the best play I have ever seen! I was impressed with the actors, and the theater itself. It was such an amazing experience. I also found my favorite place to eat in London and it’s called Frankie and Benny’s, they have amazing pasta. The cafeteria food isn’t all that great, but it is still edible.

Well, that’s all for now! One more week of classes left!

The shade tells the time!

The shade tells the time!

Nelson's Ship

Nelson’s Ship

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Going in to Earth!

Going in to Earth!

Prime Meridian!

Prime Meridian!

Standing in the Prime Meridian!

Standing in the Prime Meridian!

Wicked

Frankie and Benny's

Frankie and Benny’s

Week 5

As I finish my study abroad experience I am sad to leave and at the same time I am ready to go home. I am done with the school part of my trip and wish I could have visited the city and been a tourist more. I have learned so much here in Mexico. Hopefully some day I can come back and visit.
School was hard last week and the beginning part of this week. Breaking it up has made it better, but I still got super stressed. Being away from home and out of my home country made it harder for me, as well as for my friends. We all felt so stressed, but we did it and survived and are stronger because of it.
This past weekend was a blast. I remembered why I don’t like humidity while visiting the city of Jalpan in Sierra Gorda. It was nice to keep cool while we hiked along, over, and in a river. The hike felt more like being in Oregon with all of the trees and river. The water was so clear, and came right out from the rocks.
While there, we learned about what makes a magical city in Mexico. I don’t remember all of it but, it can’t be super touristy, there are no chain restaurants, and it has to have hotels.
The city also has a mission. The priest who built it also built five others in Mexico. During some part of his project, something happened to his leg, but he continued on anyway. He did all of his traveling on foot.

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Week Three: London

This week has bees crazy. Last Friday I went to Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. It was amazing seeing the real Stonehenge after visiting the replica in Washington for years. It’s a shame that I could only get a few yards from the stones, but it makes sense not letting people walk through the stones as it would cause the grass to turn to mud and cause erosion. The Salisbury Cathedral was gorgeous. The detail of the tombs and the stain glass was spectacular. And the town is full of history as well by possibly being the oldest settlement in Britain. On Tuesday this week, I went to Bath to attend a World War Two walking tour. It was tiring, but it was interesting seeing where Bath was rebuilt following the bombing and what was preserved. Bath is such a beautiful place and we couldn’t have asked for better weather for it was sunny with a nice cool breeze, a nice change from the London heat wave. Thursday I’m having to leave at 5:45 an to catch the train to Stratford upon Avon to visit the birth place of Shakespeare. It’s going to be a very long day, but it’s worth it to see such a historical place.

~Kallan

Below: Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath

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Week 4 in Queretaro!

Week four has come and gone and my trip is coming to an end soon. In some ways, I am looking forward to coming back to Oregon because there are things that I miss. However, I really do love Mexico and my host family, so I’m not quite ready to leave yet.

This week, I went shopping in the biggest mall that I have ever been too! I also spent lots of time in the Centro going shopping as well, buying gifts for both myself and for others.

On Sunday, I went to an amusement park, about half an hour away from my house in Queretaro. The park had both regular rides and water rides. One of the water slides was the fastest one I’ve ever been on! I had a really good time, although I did get sunburned.

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Week 4

Another full week of school and fun! For one of my classes I had to write a 4 page paper (typed and 1.5 spaced) in Spanish so my evenings were filled with research and typing in Spanish on an English keyboard…but I finished it with time to spare and still had tons of fun this weekend!

Saturday some of the other girls and I went to a huge shopping mall. We spent hours there and didn’t even come close to seeing everything! Then on Sunday we spent most of the day at an amusement park/water park. Lots of sun and fun with great people!

My Spanish has most definitely improved since I have been here and I am feeling pretty confident. I only have one more week to go so I am doing my best to make sure I will get to do all of the last minute things I want to do before coming home and still get all of my homework done. I am looking forward to being done with classes but sad that I don’t have more time to explore the city. It will be nice to come home to familiar things though. I know it’s not quite over yet but it has been an amazing experience that I know I will remember for a long time.

Returning Home

I’m going to miss Argentina. My host mother was fantastic, I nearly cried saying goodbye to her today. All the friends from my program were hard to wish well. I’m going to miss the view of the river I get everyday walking along the bank, and defiantly the food.

For our last day, we made dessert in Spanish. It was amazing.

For our last day, we made dessert in Spanish. It was amazing.

I will not miss taxis though. Getting to my hotel in Buenos Aires was a test of patience because of my taxi driver. The man got lost and went past the exit for a good twenty minutes, then had to turn around and come back. So I got charged extra which I am not pleased about.

Vamos Argentina! Party at the monument!

Vamos Argentina! Party at the monument!

Not to mention flying. Whoever thought showing us the movies Flight a week before we all left is an idiot. The entire movie is about a horrific plane crash so during turbulence all I could think was “oh my god I’m going to die!”

So I’ve realized that while I’ll miss the people in Rosario and the places there, I won’t miss traveling itself at all.

Week 6: In the Homestretch

Well week 6 has come and gone and I can safely say that even though I am loving Scotland, I am missing my family. These last couple of weeks have gone by much faster than I thought they would and now I have to start thinking about packing and how I will fit everything into my suitcase.

Since I last wrote, I have done a lot of work at my internship with the School of Sport. I got to assist in two bicycle trials where we measured lactate levels in the blood during different difficulties of cycling and also compared them to the participant’s heart rate and other values we took during the trials. During the first trial, I mostly observed and just handed things to people when they needed them so that I could get the feel for the trial protocol and such. Then during the second trial, they let me take the helm. I got to take the blood samples (which I thought was really cool) to test the lactate levels and also controlled the resistance on the bike. Even though I was really nervous, I feel like I did very well and I learned a lot from it.

Another big part of my internship with the School of Sport is data analysis. I have been taking the data from the trials and putting them into Excel to make spreadsheets and charts. I also have been working on formatting a feedback form for the participants of the studies so that they can see their results as well.

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

Apart from my internship, I took another trip to London with two of my roommates and it was a wonderful trip. We saw and did so much that I can’t believe we fit it all into only three days. The highlight of my weekend had to be going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was amazing to see where the films were actually shot and walk on the sets. It was surreal to be there, the detail in all of the props and sets was astounding to see. We also got to try butterbeer, which was delicious.

At the studio tour!!

At the studio tour!!

The Hogwarts Castle Model

The Hogwarts Castle Model

While in London we also saw the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Baker Street, Paddington Station, Piccadilly, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, and even did a night bus tour of the city. The night tour was one of my favorites because it gave us a chance to see the whole city all lit up, it was also a very warm evening so that we didn’t get cold sitting in the open top of the bus.

Night bus tour view of the London Eye

Night bus tour view of the London Eye

Rainbow we saw from the train back to Scotland

Rainbow we saw from the train back to Scotland

Another week has passed, which is a happy and sad thing. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I have spent over six weeks here now. I can’t wait to see what my last two weeks in Scotland will bring!

Natalie

Week Five: Now It’s Time to Leave

This last week in Argentina was incredibly hectic. All of my finals were on two days, so I slammed out two tests and turned in a term paper. While happy it was over, I found myself sad that I would  be leaving Argentina in the next week.

Also, Mat, his friend and I all had an adventure after finals on Thursday. We all got asado to go but realized there was no where to eat it seeing how it was 8:45 at night. So we hunkered down on a street corner and started to eat the best barbequed steak and chicken I have ever had. We had no silverware so it looked pretty silly. Half way through we realized people were giving us these dirty looks and then Mat and I remembered something. In class, that morning, our teacher told us it was culturally unacceptable to eat in the street. …But we still did it anyways.

It was made even more bittersweet in our final Spanish class. Five out of eight were there and we made sweets with the teachers. It was nice to just sit and talk, but also hard. The majority of my class is there for ten weeks and I had to deal with knowing I would probably never see them again.

For our last day, we made dessert in Spanish. It was amazing.

For our last day, we made dessert in Spanish. It was amazing.

However, they did offer for my 21st birthday this next year to head down to Eugene (where they all go to school) and will take me out drinking. It’s an on going joke with us that they’ll take me out for drinks because I don’t drink…

I’ll miss them, it’ll be hard to go to Spanish next year and not see them sitting there begging the teachers for how to ask where the toilet paper is… (this was the first thing we learned)

All of us together on our last day of class.

All of us together on our last day of class.

Following this we had the goodbye dinner. The majority of kids turned up and it was again wonderful but emotional. After spending ten weeks with the same 26 people, it’s hard to think that I probably won’t ever see them again…

The goodbye dinner with my friends Isamar and Karina.

The goodbye dinner with my friends Isamar and Karina.

On the left is my Grammar teacher and the right is my Conversation teacher.

On the left is my Grammar teacher and the right is my Conversation teacher.

Of course this weekend was for hanging out with my friends. We celebrated Isamar’s birthday and watched the Peruvian Festival. It was fun, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I won’t be here next week to see what’s happening at the river.

Festival for Peruvian heritage in Rosario Argentina.

Festival for Peruvian heritage in Rosario Argentina.

My last day was also fun. I hung out with Naomi and Karen, and two of Naomi’s friends came and met with us. It was a good group and we looked at the stalls and had fun walking by the river. Afterwards I headed home and picked up some flowers as a gift for my host mother.

Dinner tonight was another adventure. Monica was out with friends so around 8 I went to a restaurant I wanted to try and got some food to go. When I came home, Monica was there. Turns out she came home to cook me a pizza and wanted to know why I had bought this food. I of course, in my terrible Spanish, explain it was because I thought she was out eating with friends. I then declared the food a present and we split it. Tomorrow we’ll be eating the pizza for lunch, which I look forward to.

My last day in Rosario.

My last day in Rosario.

Week 4

This week has been pretty crazy because technically it has been dead week but I have survived the week.  Besides doing homework I went out with friends to the centro on Friday and went shopping.  The centro is pretty amazing because all the culture of Queretaro culminates in one place.  I had a great time walking around and had fun with friends.  On Saturday I went to a water park with my host family and got to ride a raft.  In the end this week has been stressful but also fun.  I look forward to my last week as being bittersweet.  I get to go home but I am going to miss my host family and the wonderful city of Queretaro.  Goodbye for now.