Returning Home

February 11th, 2016 by under Semester, Spain. No Comments.

By Lina Bauer
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A month has now passed since my return to the U.S. after being abroad for five months. Although, there have been moments when I can’t believe I am not longer living in Barcelona and can no longer visit the Sagrada Familia, the many buildings created by Gaudi, or the Museo Del Picasso in between classes. I miss the simple afternoons, where I sat in cafes, surrounded by Spaniards, listening to ordinary conversations and learning about another culture.
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I also feel a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity of studying abroad. Living in Spain on my own allowed me the opportunity to test whether I could be independent. Whether I was able to survive on my own, travel by myself, and rely on myself to accomplish everything I needed done.

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Slowly feeling like a native in a city that was not my own is what I miss most of all. Looking back to when I arrived to Barcelona, I vividly remember that first day in Spain. Barely able to communicate in Spanish, and feeling like a lost student in unfamiliar territory, I missed home and the comfort of my family and friends.

Finally, after months abroad, I was able to leave the city I had called my home for four months to leaving as someone who could call Barcelona a second home, and will fondly remember the magical four months I spent there for the rest of my life.

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Back on American Soil

February 10th, 2016 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

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Back in College Park for the Terps game

Being back in the United States has given me a new appreciation for my time abroad. There’s such a suspenseful build up to the study abroad experience, which doesn’t end once you get there. As soon as I landed in London it became a constant thread of what do I do now, who can I meet, where can I visit. It’s extremely hard to step back for a moment and just take in what’s going on, understanding that you may never have the opportunity to live in this city again. It’s a strange sensation, but being home has given me a new appreciation for my three months in London.

One of the biggest differences is coming back to the routine that I’d left behind. As I traveled around Europe or spent my time in London the first thing I had to do was set a new routine for myself. I could make it whatever I wanted to; Mondays became museum Mondays followed by one-pound drinks at the school pub. The

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Museum Mondays at the Victoria and Albert Museum

weekends became excuses to travel around the city of London, the English countryside, or take a flight to mainland Europe. It was a beautiful thing to be able to create my own schedule, working around the 3 days of classes I had between Tuesdays and Thursdays. Luckily some of the other exchange students I met had similar schedules, and we could spend all of our free time exploring the city the way we wanted.

The nice part of coming home is getting to be back with all of my friends. Being home for Christmas was a great thing to come home to. But after a long winter break it was nice to come back to college park to see the boys. I found it interesting that even though I felt like I had been gone for months, so many people acted like I had never even left. It was refreshing to get right back into the groove of College Park. It just goes to show that no matter where you go or what you do, life will go on as if you never left. It’s a good way to make you feel insignificant, but at the same time it’s a great reason to get out of College Park. So many people ask me if I feel like I missed out by going abroad my first semester senior year. I always answer the same way. While I certainly missed being at UMD, the times I had in London were more special than anything I could have experienced in College Park. And coming home to College Park gave me a new appreciation for my time away.

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A Month Abroad

February 9th, 2016 by under Spain. No Comments.

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been abroad for over a month now! Having never been to Europe  before, January was one of the most surreal months of my life. I went to London and Oxford in the UK, Interlaken and Zurich in Switzerland, Nice and Monte Carlo in France and Monaco, and Montserrat and Valencia in Spain. Needless to say, I have caught the travel bug. As I mentioned in my first post, I originally had my heart set on going to Australia and right now I couldn’t be happier that I chose Barcelona. Not only are numerous countries at our fingertips here, but there are endless sights to see in Barcelona itself and I truly can say that a semester isn’t enough to do it all.12647429_10209084687420870_4099085115319219990_n

At the conclusion of my first month abroad, I’ve learned that studying abroad is a huge balancing act. It’s been a balancing act between wanting to travel every weekend but also see the sights and experience all that Barcelona has to offer, eating healthy during the week and indulging on the weekends (I’ve heard the abroad 15 is real and I’m terrified), wanting to eat out and try the foods of Barcelona but also wanting to save the money for traveling and lastly balancing the temptation and ability to go out any night of the week but also needing to make time for yourself to catch up on sleep. It’s an adjustment getting used to this balancing act, but I’m working on it!

For me, my biggest challenge has been wanting to see numerous places but also fearing that at the end of my semester I’ll feel as though I missed out on staying home in Barcelona. While four months abroad seems like a long time, when it comes down to it our weekends have filled up so quickly and the past month flew by in a heartbeat. Never in my life did I think I’d see so much in so little time. Each place that we travel to, we constantly find ourselves saying to each other that we feel as though we’ve been picked up and put into the backdrop of a movie. The sights we’ve seen genuinely look like wallpaper, especially the vast mountains of Switzerland.

My biggest piece of advice for people going abroad is to keep a journal or a blog of some sort. I have my own personal blog for my family, friends and myself. When you’re doing so many different things abroad, it’s easy to forget the details of each trip. Therefore, I’ve been adamant about writing about my travels as soon as I get home to preserve the memories and share with others. At the end of my trip, I know I’ll reread them, and probably be upset that it’s over, but I think it’s the best way to remember every detail.

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Scotland the Brave

February 4th, 2016 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

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I got to travel around quite a bit during my stay abroad.  Edinburgh was definitely one of my favorite trips.  I wouldn’t say it’s the most exciting place in Europe to visit, but this city was the only place I visited that made me say “I would move here in a heartbeat.”

The city is full history; everywhere you walk there’s a good story beneath your feet.  I took the trip with an organized group, but stayed an extra day and night there by myself.  On my day off, I signed up for a walking tour of the city.  We visited graveyards, monuments, a castle, and endless other amazing sites.  I learned all about Scotland’s greatest writers (there were a lot- see: JM Barrie, RL Stevenson, Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and more recently JK Rowling), philosophers, scientists, visionaries, and artists.  I heard wonderful tales of heroes and villains.  I especially enjoyed learning about the Scottish struggle for independence.  I enjoyed my tour so much that I signed up for another tour directly after.  This tour was in the evening; I had to endure freezing rain (like actually, it hailed) during the entirety of the tour. It was totally worth it.  This tour was all about the “dark side” of Edinburgh – witch burning, torture and execution, eerie folklore featuring dark fairies, and all about the generally miserable life of an average 1600s Scottish person living in the most disgusting city imaginable.

Edinburgh today seems generally perfect.  The reason I said I’d love to live in this city is because it has everything.  All of the food I had was excellent (and WAY cheaper than anything in London!).  The people were especially friendly.  The music scene there is excellent and easily navigated.  There are infinite cool pubs and fun spots.  The landscape is gorgeous and perfect for casual hikes.

10/10 would go again

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Beginning My Adventure Abroad

February 4th, 2016 by under Italy. 1 Comment.

BridgetBloggerCiao! My name is Bridget Hollenbeck and I am a junior studying at the American University of Rome.  At Maryland, I am a double major in Marketing and Psychology. I’ve known since my college search that I wanted to study abroad – and I am so happy to have fallen into the perfect program. I chose Maryland-in-Rome for a couple of different reasons, some more glamorous than others, including the fashion of Italy, the courses they offered, and most importantly the FOOD. I am so excited to get to know Italy to its full extent – I want to know everything there is to know about the city of Rome. I want to spend weekends in Milan, learning all about the world of fashion first hand. I want to attend Fashion Week. I’m also excited to travel everywhere: Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, the list goes on forever. However, most importantly I hope to learn more about the person I am and who I want to become in the future.

P.S. With every post I’m going to provide the name of a restaurant with life changing food: Luzzi’s 4 cheese pizza.

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Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland!

February 2nd, 2016 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

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Our last moments in Germany were a rush; unfortunately we weren’t able to really wrap up our trip. Our flight was canceled due to the impending blizzard and we had to leave on Friday instead of Saturday. Thursday night was absolute madness. We found out that the flight was cancelled around 8:00 pm and had to find a flight that flew out the next morning. None of us were packed and one of us almost didn’t get a ticket, but

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A picture of all of us on our first day in Munich. This was the first time we were on our own and it was when we really bonded as a group.

we all got home in one piece and we beat the blizzard (by about an hour and a half). Although I’m sad that we didn’t get to have a final lunch with all of our professors or learn how to make homemade spätzle, like we had planned, I have to say that this was an absolutely amazing trip. I learned so much about German culture and history, and I got really close to the people in the group, but I learned about myself too. I was forced out of my comfort zone and into a place where I didn’t know the language or the customs. It was hard, going into restaurants and not knowing what I was ordering or how to order it in the first place. It was hard not knowing how to get somewhere and how to ask for directions. But I learned to really enjoy the little accomplishments when they happened. It was really exciting the first time I paid for something without asking how much it was in English. It was fun doing small everyday interactions like saying hello to people in German and feeling like I was really starting to get the hang of it. Of course, I didn’t learn German in three weeks, but there is something really cool about being in a foreign place and being able to hold your own. I think that was the biggest thing that I got out of this. I loved the history and the sightseeing; it was amazing, but I learned how to put myself out there and figure out what to do when I wasn’t sure how to get something done. To me, that is invaluable. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat and if I get the chance later in life, I would like to go back to Germany and explore more. It is a beautiful country and I had an incredible experience.

The view of Germany as we flew out from Stuttgart.

The view of Germany as we flew out from Stuttgart. I hope to see it again.

 

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♫ Penny Lane is in My Ears and in My Eyes ♫

February 2nd, 2016 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

squareOne of my most wonderful experiences in England was taking a pilgrimage of sorts to Liverpool with my dear friend Maya to visit the home of the Beatles.  This is something I can only describe as a sort of religious experience.  We first made our way to The Beatles Story, a sort of kitchy local museum honoring all things Beatles.  The museum was all sorts of corny, the audio guide was awful, and the place seemed a bit disorganized.   Was it a tourist trap?  Yes.  BUT WHO CARES?  It was worth it.  I had a completely fantastic time, and no amount of bad curating could possibly make me any less joyful to be surrounded by relics of the greats.

Me everywhere in Liverpool: screamingBeatles

 

After the museum we made our way to the Cavern Club.   The man inside covering Beatles tunes was by all accounts a drunk man with a gruff and unpleasant voice.  He forgot half the lyrics, and stumbled over his chords.  Didn’t matter.  It was a blast, and after a few pints the covers didn’t sound so bad after all.

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Our final journey was to find Penny Lane to stalk visit the old stomping ground of our beloved sonic heroes.  At this point it was dark and well below freezing.  These sights were completely across town, hours away.  This was a trying time, and several times we considered turning back.  We persevered.  I wasn’t totally sure about it at the time, but I can now say it was worth it.  The exhaustion and miserable cold are but dull memories now; the feelings of excitement live on in this very “pro-pic” worthy photo:

 

penny lane#blessed

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A Foody’s Dream

February 2nd, 2016 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

IMG_1868One of my favorite pastimes while studying abroad was going to the different markets that London has to offer. Living in Shoreditch gave me access to several of the markets that London is famous for, some of which are famous for food while others are famous for the colorful characters that visit. The closest market to where I live is the Old Spittal Fields Market. This market was renowned for being the oldest market in London. My favorite part of Spittal Fields is that they have different types of sales on a regular basis. One day they had an antiques show; vendors were selling old military weapons, jewelry, retro clothing, and an odd assortment of anything and everything you can imagine. This type of pop-up market was special to Spittal Fields and made it very interesting to visit.

 

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The Beauty of the Camden Locks

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One of many street paintings in Camden

Another market that London is absolutely famous for is called the Camden Market, located along the canals of Camdentown. This market is by far the most bizarre that I’ve ever seen. Many of the vendors are famous for selling different styles of gothic clothing, spiked hats and shoes, all leather attire, and several other oddities. Yet there is something for everyone at this market, including fine jewelry, delicious food, and novelty t-shirts. The market is also one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in London. They have a bevy of canals running up and down the market. There are also several locks that make for entertaining maneuvering of these canals by the boats traveling along them. Every time a friend would come visit I made sure to show them Camden Market, as it epitomizes the eclectic culture that London is known for.

 

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Enjoying a cheese Toasty at the Borough Market

My absolute favorite market in London is called the Borough Market, located right next to the London Bridge on the South Bank of the River Thames. This market is famous for one thing and one thing only, the food. Vendors from all over the world come to display their lavish dishes. The diversity of the market represents all of the cultures that London takes in. Different dishes from Asia, the Americas, and everywhere in between can be seen, and more importantly smelled, as you walk through the market. The market gives you the option of purchasing a fresh meal, or fresh ingredients for you to take with you. My favorite part of the market is the free samples; every vendor gives you a taste of their medicine. There were times where I would walk through the market and feel full, without ever buying a dish! Now that’s a deal that can’t be beat.

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Leaving my comfort zone

February 2nd, 2016 by under Italy. No Comments.

11403233_10204614190374824_1463049479962264027_nEver since I started looking into colleges, I knew I wanted to study abroad. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of being on my own in a place that’s so different from my comfort zone at home. As a born and raised Marylander, coming to Rome is by far the most crazy, terrifying, and unbelievably exciting thing I’ve ever done.

So what brought me to Italy? The last time I was in Italy, I was 6 years old and had one of the greatest family vacations of my childhood. So, it was only fitting to have one of the greatest experiences of my early adulthood in the same country. I’m excited to learn new things about myself and grow as an individual, and I look forward to doing that in the city of Rome! As a business major, going to school in a large city will help me learn how the business world works in a different country. Not only will I learn a lot in school, studying abroad in Rome will force me to learn everything that comes with living on my own, and I’m excited for the ups and downs that come along with that.

Being a part of a Maryland-In program is like having a little piece home with you for when you’re feeling homesick. While it’s great to be surrounded with people who I know, I’m nervous about not being able to put myself out there and meet new people. My goals are to really force myself to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I’m usually too scared to do, such as trying new foods at restaurants or traveling by myself. I can’t wait to share my experiences and individual growth with everyone reading this, and am so excited to be able to call Rome my home for the next 4 months!

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MBA Global Programs – Winter Courses

February 1st, 2016 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Our MBA Global Business Courses offer 2nd and 3rd year MBA students opportunities to broaden their global mindsets and build cross-cultural competency skills that will provide for greater success in the global workplace. Through industry site visits, experience first-hand the opportunities, growth drivers, and challenges in doing business in specific region or culture. Through on-campus coursework (before and after travel), and 8-10 days of travel in their region of study, students gain specialized industry and regional knowledge through applied learning projects and networking opportunities with international company executives. Each program grants 4 credits (1 credit earned during Fall Semester and 3 credits earned during Term C). 2015-2016 programs in January 2016 included: India, Japan and South Korea, China and Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, and Chile.

—Julia Gumminger, Program Manager for MBA Global Business Courses, Office of Global Initiatives – jgumminger@rhsmith.umd.edu

Below are some comments submitted by students who participated in recent programs.

Andrew Roberts
MBA Candidate, Part Time, DC evening program
United Arab Emirates, January 2016 Global Business Course

“The trip to the UAE has been an extraordinary, eye-opening experience. Beyond the extravagance, national pride, and rate of growth that are readily apparent while exploring Dubai & Abu Dhabi, there is such a wealth of culture. The UAE is a young, melting-pot of a nation that has been propelled into the world’s spotlight as a result of the ruling family’s unwavering commitment to become the region’s top destination for virtually every sector and industry. Through our study of project management and the factors impacting these unbelievable feats of vision, engineering and wealth, we have learned multiple sides to every story of success and failure–appreciating the differences in governance, oversight, and culture that make business here unique.”

Our group has stood among, atop, and within some of the world’s largest, most magnificent structures and projects. We’ve toured markets in Old Dubai, and sat across boardroom tables from some of the most accomplished professionals in the region. The entire experience has taught us a great deal, but more importantly, has raised important questions about the balance between sound, short-term decision making and the relentless pursuit of long-term visionary strategy.”

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Photo credit: Andrew Roberts

Photo credit: Andrew Roberts

Dan Williams
MBA Candidate 2016
Part Time, DC Weekend program
China and Hong Kong, January 2016 Global Business Course

“I enjoyed meeting and conversing with the Sichuan MBA students. They offered a unique perspective on how best to enter the Chinese market as a foreign firm.”

Gregory Whaley
Executive MBA candidate, 2016
United Arab Emirates, January 2016 Global Business Course

“Greetings from Dubai. Our business trips have been phenomenal. I feel as though they offered diverse perspectives on how to conduct business in this city. No area spoke to my specific concentration as expected, however I was still able to gather a deeper understanding of the region.”

Jesse Kellner
MBA Candidate, 2016
Part Time, DC Weekend program
China and Hong Kong, January 2016 Global Business Course

“Our hosts, both Professor Chen and the local tour guides, have been really great. We are well taken care of; these leaders have offered a wise balance of academic/real world learning in tandem with firsthand insights into the country and culture. China isn’t America (insightful, I know) or Chile. Our trip to Chile [Winter 2015] was based in the “Manhattan of South America,” the financial district of Santiago. It ultimately felt just this way; too close to home and somewhat plastic. While we are similarly in a luxury hotel in Chengdu and many of our trips have been to affluent areas and neighborhoods, it’s been far easier (!) to safely immerse ourselves in the truly native culture (often the only English speakers in sight). This facet of the experience has been just as hoped.”

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