About Me

My name is Adaleni and I am currently a junior at WOU. I decided to study abroad because I have always enjoyed traveling. I specifically chose the Segovia, Spain program because traveling to Spain has always been one of my dreams and also because one of my high school teachers went on the same program and she always talked about her great experience. Coming from a Spanish background I wanted to go somewhere where I could improve my Spanish and what better place than Spain! This will also help with determining if I want to continue my Spanish minor or change to a Spanish major.


Hello, My name is Mario Barba and I am a senior at Western about to begin my first term in the Education Program in the Fall. I am going to Mexico to study spanish so I will be able to complete my Bilingual/ESOL endorsements making me more marketable for my ultimate goal of being a bilingual elementary school teacher.
I am very excite to go on this journey and hope that all go well and I come back comfortably speaking and writing spanish.

Introduction: Courtney Barrett (China)


My name is Courtney Barrett, I wanted to take the time to introduce myself to the WOU study abroad blog. In just 2 weeks I will be leaving for China to study Traditional Chinese Medicine! I chose to travel to China because their culture is completely different from ours; China is a country with so much history, culture, and tons of people. Ever since I was little my dad often traveled to China on business, I was always so fascinated with the currency they use and the special desserts he would bring back. It has been a dream of mine to study abroad and now I get to travel to the country I most desire. I am thrilled for the opportunity and I cannot wait to share my experiences!

Thanks! I will be posting again in one week right before I depart!

Introduction (Michael Smiley)

Hi! My name is Michael Smiley, and I’m studying Modern Standard Arabic for six weeks in Fes, Morocco (Summer 2013). I’ve never studied Arabic before, nor have I ever been to a country that speaks Arabic. I’ve never traveled abroad on my own, and I’ve never been outside of the United States for more than four weeks (I will be in Morocco for a total of nine weeks). This trip is a lot of firsts for me!


I’m actually cheating with these blog entries, since I wasn’t able to get the blog to work for me until a few days ago, and even then I haven’t had the necessary combination of an available power outlet, stable wifi access, and free time. So the introduction, pre-departure, arrival, and first week blog entries are actually all being typed up on Monday, June 24, 2013.


So why did I choose to come to Fes? I should start by saying that I’m a Social Science major, which basically means I can just cobble together all of the classes that interest me into a degree. I really have no ultimate plan with my college career; the only criteria for which classes I’ve chosen to take (apart from required classes) is whether or not they seem interesting. It’s probably fair to say almost all of my time is spent daydreaming (often while doing other things, of course—I can multitask, sort of). Whenever I see, experience, or think about anything, I’m always imagining several other things at the same time. The daydreams are always fueled by what’s being fed into my brain, be it scenery, pictures, or books. In a way, the acquisition of knowledge feeds my imagination. I’m always keen to find the best feasts for the imagination, and I’ve developed particular tastes. The Middle East and North Africa have always had an inexplicable draw for me, though only recently have I consciously recognized it. Much of my free time in the past few years has been spent gathering pictures and lore about Africa and the western reaches of Asia.


One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is whether my interest in other lands, cultures, peoples and histories is benign, or insidious. Seriously thinking about colonialism, Orientalism, the dark side of the romanticization of reality has led me to question my personal daydreamer’s pursuit. Regardless, I do want to learn more about the world, and I don’t think it’s because the rest of the world is “exotic” compared to my usual surroundings. One thing I’ve learned in my anthropology classes is that weird is relative; studying other cultures makes the strange familiar, and the familiar strange. The mundane and the fantastic are one and the same.


Whoops, this is actually probably way too long for an introduction post. I tend to go off on tangents when I write directly from my mind, so I’ll sum it up as succinctly as I can. Why did I choose Morocco? Because Morocco fascinates me.


Introduction: Josh McGraw

Hi my name is Josh and I am doing the Queretaro Summer session program. I am interested in this program because I am wanting to complete an endorsement in Bilingual/ESOL. This degree will allow me to help ELL students further their education in a positive more efficient way. I cannot wait to get to know my host family, and the other students on this program, more.

Rosario, Argentina-Introductory Post

Hola Tod@s!

My name is Emmanuel Macías, a senior studying social science with a focus in sociology and Spanish minor.  I am an east Oregonian native (Hermiston), first generation Latino, and the youngest out of my siblings. This spring term, I will be interning with VOX Asociación Civil in Rosario, Argentina!


There are many reasons why I chose this site. One of the most important reasons is because I want to have a professional work experience related to advocacy and social justice work within the LGBT community. As an openly gay Latino and advocate for LGBT, student, farmer workers, DREAMers, etc. rights, I knew this would be an opportunity of a life time. One of my sociology professors has worked with this non-governmental organization and was able connect me with folks in the organization. After doing my research of VOX and seeing how visible and active they are, I knew I had couldn’t let this slip away.

Another reason I chose Argentina is because I would like to strengthen my Spanish and learn more about the culture and history of the country. I am a native speaker (family is from México), however I am in need of sharpening up my spanish. Though I am able to communicate with folks, I truly want to build my confidence and be able to have critical and effective conversations with folks all in Spanish.

I have taken many courses throughout my time at Western and most have been focused on Latinoamérica. Whether it was about the Cuban revolution, Zapatistas in México, or the dictatorship regime in Argentina during the 1980s, expanding my knowledge on the history, culture, language, geography, etc. of Latinoamérica is important to me.  While in Argentina, I hope to get a better sense of where people stand post the dictatorship and economic recessions they had faced. I want to get a glimpse of the natives in the Northern parts of the country. I want to see how the LGBT community differs from the U.S. and Arg. I want to learn how to dance Tango, try mate, asados, cafe con leche, etc.

I am going into this experience with open arms and hope to soak every thing in. This is a 10 week program and I hope to take full advantage of the opportunities and challenges that come my way. Upon return, I will be graduating and looking for a job, YAY! This internship will hopefully, more or less, give me a better understanding of what my life will look like within the near future.

I plan to blog as much as possible so look out for meh y’all!