Be BOLD!

Alexia Blog Pic

PHOTO: MOUNT VICTORIA LOOKOUT IN WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

I have been back from New Zealand for three weeks and it still feels like it was all a dream. Looking back at pictures makes my whole experience seem surreal. At first I was nervous about going because this was my first time travelling out of the country alone. Not to mention, it was the longest I was going to be away from home!

At the same time, though, I was so excited for the adventure. I was READY to experience life in a new way, which just so happens to be a concrete part of the deal when going abroad! You would think I wouldn’t be in much of a culture shock because Kiwi people still speak English but… that is not the case!

There are so many fascinating aspects of the country such as the diverse wildlife, incredible scenery, and the amazingly profound Maori culture. Everything about New Zealand was so different from the U.S. in the most refreshing way possible. I honestly didn’t even have much time to miss home because of all the fun experiences and places I was lucky enough to see while away (don’t tell my mom I said that, though).

I learned so much not only about New Zealand, but about myself (as cliché as that sounds). I pushed myself to do things I wouldn’t have ever thought about doing or would have had the courage to do at home, like skydiving! I’m still questioning why I did that one but, the fact of the matter is I am beyond happy that I made the decision to go abroad.

I want to inspire people to make the decision to be BOLD! The world is yours if you’re willing to immerse yourself in it. Take an opportunity to live life outside of your comfort zone! The memories you make are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

-Alexia Dos Santos, Internship in New Zealand, Summer 2017

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Go Abroad, You Won’t Regret It

Concert (Vienna, Austria) - Ana-Maria Frampton, 2017Photo: Concert at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Moving abroad? Easy. I was certain I had this whole “moving to Vienna” thing figured out before I even got there (not the case, of course). Arriving in Vienna wasn’t the tough part. The city is gorgeous, full of history, culture, and never-ending events to attend. Whether it was a festival by the Danube, or a pride parade in the center of the shopping district, there was always something to do. No, the difficult part was the day-to-day things you don’t consider. I didn’t speak German. Store hours? Everything is closed by 7 PM, and good luck finding a grocery store open on a Sunday.

It was frustrating at first, but once I figured out the small quirks of the city, I spent my days studying in cafes, touring museums, and traveling throughout Europe with a new set of friends. I even managed to learn a few phrases in German! Living in Vienna was one of the best experiences of my life, and the adventures I had there will stay with me for a lifetime. So take the opportunity and GO, somewhere, anywhere! You won’t regret it. Dankeschön and auf wiedersehen (thank you and goodbye)!

-Ana-Maria Frampton, exchange program at WU Vienna in Austria, Spring 2017