Study Away: Vermont

For the UAS Whalesong

“Not good, not bad, just different.” I said these words to myself as I sat on the plastic like mattress in the white painted brick walled room. What had I got myself into?

I applied to the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) in the Fall of 2014 with my heart set on traveling back to a country where I had lived in for 11 months a few years previous. My heart was set on it, really. Yet, a back-up plan is always important. So when my original exchange plan fell through I obtained the help of Marsha Squires, the incredible Study Away/Exchange coordinator at UAS. Instead of an international experience, I studied and traveled to a place within the boundaries of my own country, Johnson, Vermont through with National Student Exchange (NSE) program in the Fall of 2015.

I hoped Vermont would bring me out of the realm of comfort into a part of the United States that had previously not been on my radar – “the east”, and yet still this area might have some similar characteristics to home like mountains and a small town. What I knew of Vermont could be summed up into three bullet points: maple syrup, home to a few friends, and snow in winter.

I learned from my high school exchange the importance of having as few expectations as possible of the place you are visiting.  And so it was, that when I flew across the country, I intentionally had very little knowledge of my exchange destination. Continue reading “Study Away: Vermont”

Study Abroad: Estonia

For the UAS Whalesong
It’s true. I’m proud to say I spent my junior year (last year) studying away in Estonia through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). I’ll give you a moment while you silently ask yourself where Estonia is before opening a new tab to a search engine. To save you a bit of time, Estonia is the northernmost Baltic country in Eastern Europe, two hours south of Finland by ferry and sharing an Eastern border with Russia. By the way, “Is that a real place? Where is that?” were the two most common questions I received when I told people I decided to spend a year in Estonia. Followed by “What language do they speak?” which only made people think I was messing with them when I responded with a straight face, “Estonian.” Continue reading “Study Abroad: Estonia”