Indiana University Overseas Study

Erik Trautman

Shadows flood the lawns at the Margherita gardens as the sun sinks. The unkempt grass waves in the breeze. The teeter-totter rocks in synchronization with the wail of a distant ambulance and children bob around on a large trampoline.

Spring has arrived, escorting a myriad of balls and Frisbees that weave around in all directions against the peach sky. The college kids pop around like popcorn on their slack lines. Some juggle at the gardens, others play with devil sticks, and everything is amongst a circus of dogs. One guy shapes bubbles and another carries some tall flowers.

man creating giant bubbles in park

crowds in the park
I’ve passed a few afternoons in the gardens—you can tell because I’m red and spotty. On the first of May and on Mother’s day I picnicked and sampled the stands: pecorino (sheep) cheese from Sardenia and olives from Puglia.

another large vendor booth

a vendor booth

I visited the turtles in the central lagoon—the turtles I met in August and tried capture in Blog 1. I was disheartened because all those afternoons had passed and muttering the pair of words “un caffé” to the barista gave me away as an English speaker. I expected passing eight months in these gardens would transform me, I thought having predominately Italian chargers meant I was a different person, but it seems, in this pond, I will always be the same old turtle slugging behind all the fast fish. This is, however, a rather tranquil lagoon in a simply magical place. I’m surrounded by friends and sites I fear to miss and I’m no longer hunting turtles.

a hut with a wall of flowers

yarn and knitwares

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Meet our Summer 2015 bloggers:

 Emily Eckelbarger - Florence
Emily Eckelbarger Emily will be traveling abroad during the summer before her sophomore year to participate in an IU faculty-led fine arts program in Florence, Italy. She is an English major with a minor in studio art who looks forward to taking classes in drawing and Renaissance art history while in Florence. Emily hopes Florence’s rich history and engaging art scene will help deepen her appreciation and understanding of art history and advance her exploration of applied art.
 Erica Ewen - Berlin
Erica Ewen Erica will be studying for a month this summer in Berlin, Germany. She is majoring in History with minors in Criminal Justice and Public Management. Her love of History and growing knowledge of World War II drew her to the program in Berlin. She can’t wait to visit the sites that she has learned about for the past three years and document her experiences through photos and blogging. Her hope is that through her experiences, she continues to learn about Germany and how the country has memorialized events from the past 100 years.
 Maddie Hineman - Copenhagen
Maddie Hineman Maddie will be spending the summer in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is an Elementary Education major and is excited to learn about many different cultures during her time abroad, and to come home with a new perspective of the world.
Kendall Machledt - Prague
Kendall Machledt Kendall will be spending the summer before her senior year in Prague, Czech Republic. She is a Sociology major with minors in Journalism and Communications & Culture. Having never been overseas before, she is looking forward to taking in all of the various cultural differences while in Europe, and gaining a better sense of the world around her. Kendall plans to use her sociology and journalism backgrounds to share the exciting experiences and knowledge she gains while abroad.

Katie Bosler

I’ve been home from Barcelona, Spain for a little over a week now, and as predicted, I can’t believe it’s over.

No, I haven’t experienced major ‘re-culture shock’, or felt overwhelmingly sad to be home. But I do find myself thinking about this past semester all day, every day and it almost feels like it never even happened. The friends that I spent the most time with there are spread out across the states, with different summer plans and jobs. I no longer have anyone to relate to about my journeys and experiences, which has left me not talking about them very much at all. You can see why it feels like it almost was a dream.

Now, I’m experiencing an awkward stage to the start of summer—no one else is done with school yet, and a large amount of my friends are still across the pond, enjoying their last trips throughout Europe. Despite the short time home, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my time in Barcelona and everything it taught me.

While its hard to piece together every little thing that I’ve learned and gained from being overseas, I find myself comparing the American culture that I’ve been thrown back into to what I experienced in Spain. There are many things I loved and learned from the Spaniards. I think we can all benefit from their unique outlook on life.

Here are some of my favorite lessons:

1. Experiment with tapas

In Spain, when you can’t quite decide on just one entrée for your lunch or dinner, there’s a solution—tapas. Tapas, the Spanish term for appetizers, are fun to order when you’re dining with a group and feeling indecisive about your meal. Ranging from eggs (tortilla), iberian ham, fish, bread with tomato sauce (pan con tomate), vegetables, fries (patatas braves), and more, you can try just about every category of food in one sitting. This makes the meal more exciting, you never know exactly what you’re going to end up with!  The portions are designed for everyone to share, so you’ll never have to worry about leaving hungry.

tapas

A standard tapas dish, a selection of meats including different hams and salami

2. Sit down and enjoy your meal

This took awhile for my friends and I to get used to when we first started dining out in Spain. We would order our food, receive it very quickly, and finish it in an alarmingly fast speed that is the norm in America. After a few days of waiting over forty minutes for our check after we finished our meals, we realized that sitting and chatting for an hour or more after eating was expected, and it would be odd if we didn’t do that. After awhile, we got very used to this custom and enjoyed elongating our meals with more chitchat.

3. Say “Hello” to everyone

While I view America as a very friendly country, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcome I felt everywhere I went in Barcelona and the rest of Spain. Whether you’re entering a clothing store, grocery, restaurant, or simply walking along the street, everyone says hello, regardless if you know them or not. By just by walking past someone, or coming within a few feet of them, it is customary to say, “Hola, buenas!” (hello) and acknowledge their presence. This would often make my day as I would be greeted by multiple strangers that I passed by.

4. Relax—There’s no rush

In Spain, no one is in a rush. This applies to almost every kind of situation that we find ourselves in here in the U.S. Spaniards simply like to take their time, and don’t believe it’s necessary to get all worked up with anxiety about being late (which makes life a heck of a lot easier). For example, waiting in long lines, waiting for the bill, or waiting a very long time for assignments to be returned are all very normal things there.

As a student, it was hard to understand how they could delay returning test scores and assignments for such long periods of time, but after awhile I enjoyed not having to spaz out about how I did on a test because I had a few weeks until I had to worry about it. You accept that things will get done when they get done, and its as simple as that!

5. Puente (long weekend)

The Spanish word ‘puente‘ means bridge, and it used to describe long weekends in Spain. Spain, and Europe in general, are notorious for having a large number of holidays and vacation days compared to what American companies offer. Spaniards will often have Thursdays, Fridays, or Mondays off of work. Also, during the summer, they will find themselves with several weeks in a row off for holiday, which is part of the reason they get to be such avid travelers. I had several puentes throughout my time in Spain, and I appreciated them very much as I was able to extend my weekend travels a day or two longer.

travel group

My travel buddies and I on a ‘puente’ weekend in Amsterdam!

6. Get outside of the house

This might have been one of my favorite Spanish customs. The Spaniards are constantly outside, spending time in their neighborhood parks, streets, or simply enjoying their meals outside. I loved coming home to my neighborhood, El Putxet, everyday after class around 6:00 p.m.  I knew I would get to see many families with their youngsters and dogs gathered around the park and streets, socializing with each other. This social scene took place before dinner, which wouldn’t be until 9 or 10 pm. It’s a perfect time to unwind from a busy day and catch up with your neighbors.

Barcelona beach

When the end of April hits, the beach becomes a prime destination for Spaniards in Barcelona

As I’m settling back home in Indiana, I hope that these lessons of Spanish life will always stay with me. I know my time overseas has changed the way I view the world and myself. I am a different person four months later. I now hope to focus more on the moment, say a hearty “hello” to passing strangers walking by and live life at a Spanish pace.

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Sarah Whaley

In the middle of semester one at Uni, this wonderful thing happens: students get a two-week break from classes. I should clarify it isn’t equally as wonderful for everyone. One of my friends had a professor explain it was a “break,” not a “holiday,” and promptly assign the class three or more assessments to complete. However, for me mid-semester break meant two weeks of traveling with my parents.

Our first destination was the South Island of New Zealand. I met my parents in Christchurch at the airport, and after a nervous drive on the left side of the road back to the motel, they fell asleep. They were tired from their travels, whereas back in Adelaide it was two and a half hours earlier and I was sleepless for some time. It felt strange seeing my parents again, even though the overwhelming feeling was excitement. I felt a bit alien in my own life.

Sarah visited by her parents

First hugs in two months.

However, I didn’t have much time for thinking on such feelings as the next morning I woke up to my 21st birthday, my first time feeding eels, and in the evening my first time seeing “real mountains,” the Southern Alps (to anyone who has seen the Rockies or the Swiss Alps, apparently the Appalachian Mountains don’t count). The rest of the time in New Zealand was a gorgeous, literally and figuratively breathtaking whirlwind. We drove to a different part of the island every day and stayed in different motels every night. We hiked to see glaciers and icebergs around Mount Cook, we swam under the stars in Queenstown, and we cruised on a rare sunny day at Milford Sound. Even when boarding the plane for Sydney I wasn’t convinced I’d actually visited such an incredible place, and it was hard to watch the awe-inspiring beauty disappear below me as the plane climbed higher.

Lake Tekapo

Surreal New Zealand beauty at Lake Tekapo.

All the same, I was eager to arrive back in Australia. That was until the third day in Sydney. The first day and a half were nearly perfect weather. We could wear short sleeves, something we hadn’t been able to do in New Zealand, and we visited the must-see tourist destinations like Bondi Beach, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House. I thought the Opera House was incredible – the pictures always make it look white, but when you’re close you can see the entire structure is covered in white and off-white colored tiles arranged in intricate patterns.

However, the next couple days were terrible. The aquarium and the wildlife center weren’t terrible, nor was meeting my friends for dinner on the last night, but the weather was horrendous. Papers were calling it the “storm of the century.” Other places in the world, the weather would have been categorized as a cyclone. Umbrellas were useless and their skeletons littered the streets, every piece of clothing you wore outside was soaked through in a matter of minutes, countless people were without power, and north of Sydney some houses were literally floating off of their foundations. The umbrellas lying lifeless in the streets were amusing, but the people who were dying were not. When the Sydney airport finally stayed open long enough to let us leave, I felt only relief.

trash can full of umbrellas

Umbrella casualties of the Sydney cyclone.

Sometimes people don’t realize the size of Australia. It’s comparable to the U.S., not only in size, but in variations of people, lifestyles, and weather across the land. When we arrived in Adelaide the sun was brilliant across the hills and houses. My dad exclaimed, “Now this is Australia!” After resting the first night in Adelaide and meeting up with some of my friends who’d stayed for the break, we headed out for what we thought would be a one day and one night excursion to Kangaroo Island.

Though Kangaroo Island can be seen from the South Australian mainland, it feels like it’s much further away in its floral and faunal diversity. It is an expensive trip, so one can’t just make it on a whim. The ferry alone for three people and one car was nearly AUD$500, but every second of our (extended) stay was worth it. Before I left, my friend Glen joked I’d be disappointed if I didn’t see a single kangaroo. He needn’t have worried, because merely a half hour onto the island we’d already seen a handful. Australians are pretty good about aptly naming locations.

The rest of the first day went as planned, though the sun sank faster than we could drive. We saw sea lions at the (un-aptly) named Seal Bay, the Remarkable Rocks (which truly are remarkable), and fur seals at Admiral’s Arch. By the time we were driving to our motel in Parndana, the sun was far below the horizon. On the ferry over we’d been warned of driving at night and keeping your lights low so as to not blind the animals, but nothing could have prepared us for the next harrowing hour and a half. I was crouched forward the entire time with my arms balanced on my knees and my hands clenched into fists beneath my jaw, eyes squinted and vigilant of any suspicious shadow on the road. My parents were similarly positioned and after passing or stopping for (and thankfully not hitting) ten possums, four large kangaroos, and 58 wallabies, our nerves were shot. No kangaroos, my hat.

We slept deeply until a storm jolted us awake, and in the morning we were ready to leave as the forecast continued to show rain. As we prepared to head out, Sue, the lady who owned the place, greeted us with bad news. The ferries weren’t running. We were trapped on the island for another day and couldn’t get a ferry out until 5:30 pm the day after. I was horrified: all my plans for showing my parents around Adelaide were shot. On top of that, I didn’t have any clean underwear. After being consoled by my parents, things started to look up. Not being able to leave the island meant we were going to make the most of our time there, regardless of the weather. We ended up visiting Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park and I experienced one of the most memorable moments of my life, cradling a kangaroo joey. The joey’s name was Tigger and, as were the other animals in the park, he was a rescue. He’d been saved from his mum’s pouch after she’d been hit by a car. I fell for that little kangaroo right then and there and the rest of the day wasn’t so bad either. We explored the north side of the island and then watched some Aussie movies like Red Dog and Phar Lap while our clothes were in the wash.

Sarah holding a baby kangaroo

I now believe in love at first sight.

Our final day on Kangaroo Island was ANZAC Day, which was the centenary commemoration of Australian and New Zealand forces landing at Gallipolli, Turkey during WWI. Thousands of young men lost their lives, and many of the residents of Kangaroo Island at the sunrise service we attended had families that were affected. It was an honor to participate in the service and lay down a poppy in memory of the soldiers who died, not only those from Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., but those representing all countries devastated by the loss the war resulted in. After the service, we ended up being able to catch an earlier ferry back to the mainland, but I’d learnt an important lesson that not all changes in plans are bad changes. Plus, how many people can say they’ve ever been trapped on an island?

traditional war dance

A Maori family from New Zealand performs a traditional war dance, or haka, at the ANZAC Day memorial service.

 

As expected I only had a short time to show my parents around Adelaide, but it was a wonderful time and I was glad to be back in the midst of what I know. I also finally had the chance to process the feelings of being alien in my own life I’d first experienced upon meeting my parents in Christchurch. I deducted it was almost a temporary reverse culture shock brought on my the (welcome) intrusion of my old life into my new one. My parents are still my parents, but my definitions of home and myself have changed. How could they not, with so many new experiences? I imagine the reverse culture shock upon returning to the U.S. will be ten times greater. All the same, it was sad to see my parents go and for the next week all the Aussies sounded funny again compared to my parents’ American accents. Though the next couple of months are full of as many uncertainties as the first few, one thing is for sure: Adelaide is, officially, home.

Sarah on Campus

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Carla Sraders

For the past four months I’ve been in Seville, everyone constantly talked about two things – Semana Santa (holy week) and la Feria de Abril (April Fair). All semester I had been looking forward to these two traditional Sevillan celebrations and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Semana Santa, or holy week, is the entire week before Easter Sunday. Because the city is so packed with people and the streets are impossible to navigate, the university cancels school for the whole week. Restaurants and local businesses may close during the week too. While holy week is technically a religious holiday, most residents in Seville take part in it for more of a traditional sense. Sometimes over three generations of families have been in the same hermandad (brotherhood) so whole families spend the day watching.

During the week, pasos (floats) from each respective church or brotherhood in Seville march from their church towards the main Cathedral. Some groups can walk up to twelve hours in the street holding candles, crosses, and the large floats. Residents spend all day in the streets, watching the pasos that go on from noon to sometimes 7 A.M. The spectacular images/floats/decorations during the week truly showed how beautiful a city Seville is.

Samana Santa

Sevillians carry floats weighing over a metric ton.

 

While I traveled during the first part of the week, I was lucky enough to be in Seville for the second half of Semana Santa. In the U.S., there is such a focus on the actual day of Easter, while here in Spain most of their focus is on holy week before Easter. Because my dorm is in the center of the city, getting around during Semana Santa was nearly impossible. Thousands of residents come out during the week to watch their family and friends during their procession and the streets are difficult to walk through. While I enjoyed watching the pasos (floats) of different processions, by the end of the week I was thankful for the streets to clear out a bit and have the city return to normal.

While Semana Santa is a more religious celebration, la Feria de Abril is much more a festival. Always two weeks after Semana Santa, la Feria is a week-long celebration of flamenco, family, manzanilla, and fun. Again, university classes are cancelled for the week and lots of businesses are closed. Starting on Monday at midnight, there is a ceremonial lighting of the entrance known as alumbrao. Thousands and thousands of tents are laid out among the fairgrounds – all containing tables, food, drinks, and space for dancing. While some tents are public, the majority are private tents owned by businesses, organizations, or families. In addition to the tents, there are tons of typical amusement park attractions – swinging ships, ferris wheels, and tons of other attractions. Women wear typical flamenco dresses and flowers while men wear suits.

Feria attire

Traditional attire for la Feria

Again, like the week of Semana Santa, I took advantage of the time off of school to travel a bit. I returned to Seville during the middle of the week and was able to participate in all activities Feria. While on the first day I went towards la Feria during the day, I quickly realized that it is more alive during nighttime. Most times I went to la Feria my friends and I didn’t leave our apartments until around midnight or 1 A.M. and returned home around 5 or 6 A.M. (and surprisingly there were still thousands of people there).

One of the nights I went to la Feria my friends and I spent almost the majority of the time on amusement park rides. Not having been to an amusement park since high school, we had much more fun than anticipated on the rides. Each time we went we walked around, danced, and somehow persuaded our way into private casetas (tents). Tents are filled with all types of people where you can talk, dance, and drink. During the final Saturday of la Feria, my friends and I went to la Feria again and spent the majority of time together in a large group. Overall, each time I went I met new people, did something different, and finally understood why everyone had been talking for four months about the thrill that is la Feria.

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Erik Trautman

I’m often asked to compare the lifestyle in Europe to that in that in the United States and I constantly grant Europe points for it’s transportation services, however, they can throw a first time user for a loop. After a frantic scramble between trains to get my family to the Liguria coast, I’ve got the hang of traveling on trains. After one plane trip to Seville and another to Dublin, I’ve got planes figured out, and after eleven-hours of bobbing around on a bus with friends like a bunch apples in a tub as we careened through the French Alps on the road to Grenoble, I have a grasp on bus travel. Below are six tips that will help you avoid some of the speed bumps I hit along the way.

  1. Plan ahead! Trains are the most comfortable way to travel but if you don’t book them far ahead of time your wallet will be empty by the time you arrive at your destination. Also, validate your tickets on regional trains and check for connections. I made the mistake of neglecting these last two things and paid a hefty fine. Furthermore, often you’re destination won’t appear on the screen because they only list the final destination of the train, check for the train number instead.
  2. If that ship has sailed, BlaBla Car is a good ride-sharing service that is largely available in Europe. Basically, you create a profile and search for your destination. If a driver with the same destination has open seats, you can send them a message requesting the spot. I was tentative at first but most drivers have past reviews and a rating. I’ve used the service to go to from Bologna to Milan for twelve euros as well as the return to Bologna for the same price and from Bologna to Turin for twenty.
  3. If you’re traveling by plane Ryanair is a good low-cost airline. Travel light because your first bag is free but if it doesn’t fit the measures (roughly a stuffed to the brim backpack) you’ll be hit with a baggage fee. Be warned that the flights are cheap because it’s a minimal airline; the seat aren’t comfortable and don’t recline.
  4. If Ryanair doesn’t reach your destination, Skyscanner will find the most affordable airline, it found me a flight for about half the price of Expedia’s best suggestion.
  5. As for places to stay, make friends with Erasmus students. Erasmus is like overseas studies, however, Erasmus is only for European students. The word is often misused to describe any foreign student, but Erasmus students come from all over Europe so they often have connections in popular destinations and they make great travel buddies.
  6. If you can’t find a buddy to stay with, AirB&B and Couch Surfing are good alternatives. Although I have never personally used their services, they both come highly recommended. Hopefully it goes without saying, use caution and your best intuition with couch surfing.

Although travel can be chaotic, after a few trips you’ll surely get the hang of it, and in the end it’s well worth the hassle. Below are a few photos of where my trips have taken me. Safe travels, or as they say in Italian, “Buon Viaggio!

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Sarah Whaley

Views of Australia shared by friends back home tend to consist of sea and sun. Not studying. Nor did mine prior to the start of classes at University of Adelaide. I have to admit the studying part of study abroad is still not sitting well with me. When I could be surfing instead, why would I want to sit inside and open a book?

However, reality reminds me studying at Uni is the only reason they gave me a visa to get into the country. So I figure now I am halfway through the semester, I may as well embrace it.

Selfie in front of trees.

Looking far more prepared than the first day.

Studying in Australia is quite different from studying in the U.S. For starters, undergraduate degree programs here are typically three years long instead of four and taking gap years between high school and university is not uncommon. That means some of the freshers (freshmen) arriving on campus spent the past year or two backpacking Europe or being a ski instructor in Japan. Also, many students at Uni live at home and commute to classes, which is less common in the U.S. for a state university. Otherwise, students live with friends or in residential colleges (separate campuses housing around 150 to 250 students from various universities).

The living conditions of students contribute to the confusing Aussie terminology surrounding education. Back home we often use the terms school, college, and university interchangeably. Here each means something distinct. School strictly refers to kindergarten through 12th year. So when I unconsciously let a phrase like “my school back home…” or “school work” slip, I get strange looks. Saying “my college back home” is greeted with similar looks, as college strictly refers to a residential college. Only university (almost always shortened to uni) refers to university, and hence phrases such as “I’m headed to uni” and “uni work” are commonplace.

After nailing down the education lingo, I found adjusting to other major differences at uni easy, even enjoyable. First, taking only 12 credit hours worth of classes a semester as opposed to the 16 or 17 I am used to at IU has been a welcome relief. Four classes are certainly more manageable than five or six. Also, the lack of busy work has been amazing. Most courses in Australia are assessed entirely on the outcome of three or four assignments as opposed to weekly submissions. That said, the lack of padding to your grade when facing major papers or exams can be an added stressor. One missed or botched assignment (especially if you have an unforgiving professor) will lead to failing the course. It is also more difficult to dedicate time to studying for uni when you don’t have a graded assignment to turn in, though that’s exactly what Australian professors expect you to do. It’s more difficult to get away with turning in a major assignment you finished the night before. If you’re lucky you’ll pass, but you won’t get distinction or high distinction (meaning you’ll receive a 50 to 64 percent, but no higher). Professors expect to see you’ve put in time reading other books related to the topic and doing practice exercises outside of class.

Though the assessment structure in Australia sounds intimidating, I’ve found it easy to adjust to in comparison to the little things I never expected could throw me off. For instance, I brought over old folders and journals from the U.S. to use for classes here to avoid extra costs, only to find out the paper is the wrong size. Like the British, the Aussies use A4 paper. Which in U.S. measurements is just off enough to make a difference at 8.27 by 11.69 inches. Luckily, the printer at St Mark’s always reminds me when I’ve forgotten to change documents to A4 paper by refusing to print. Other inconveniences such as not knowing how to format different types of papers, or how to reference in Harvard style had me almost in tears during a busy assessment week. But once I got over my embarrassment and asked the questions I needed to, my professors and Aussie friends were understanding and curious to learn more about the differences in American formatting rather than impatient with my ignorance of theirs. My friend Glen even proofread one of my papers to correct my poor American spelling (they don’t understand our use of “z”s in “colonisation,” our lack of “u”s in “colour,” or even why we call a “.” a “period” instead of a “full stop”).

All in all, I think I lucked out taking arts and humanities electives while abroad. I’m used to writing papers, which are most of my assignments (here my engineering friends cringe). The class topics are fascinating to me: Indigenous Studies of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders; Anthropology of Emotion, Mind, and Person; Electronic Writing; Introduction to Linguistics. Indigenous Studies is easily my favorite class, as my professor is enthusiastic and I would have never had a chance to take such a course back home. I love doing the readings about Aboriginal Dreamings and find myself looking for evidence of institutions paying respect to Aboriginal people everywhere. Anthropology is providing me a new and challenging way of looking at the world divided not into binaries such as black and white or Eastern and Western, but into small and specific cultures, times, and places. My professor for Electronic Writing is the most accommodating and friendly of all of my professors, taking time after class to get to know me and answer my questions about the differences in Aussie class structure and formatting.

South Australian Museum

A trip to the South Australian Museum for Indigenous Studies fieldwork.

Linguistics, which I thought would be a breeze, is killing me. (My use of the phrase “killing me” being an interesting linguistic phenomenon itself.) Not only is enough information packed into each week of the course that it could be its own course, but the professors are generally unhelpful. Every time I ask a question I get looked at like I’m only trying to get a good grade (which I would like as well, I suppose, but really I just want to know what I am doing) and I’m given an even more ambiguous answer than before. And now we’re learning phonetic transcription and the International Phonetic Alphabet, I’m more aware than ever of my status as a foreigner. After mid-semester break I will be facing an in-class transcription exercise spoken in – guess what – an Aussie accent. Which, though I’m now mostly adjusted to, I do not hear in my own head when I repeat auditory input back to myself. Did you know the Aussie pronunciations of “merry,” “marry,” and “Mary” are written differently in IPA? According to my American pronunciation, they should be the same.

Though adjusting to certain classes and differences while studying in Australia has been a challenge, I suppose I wouldn’t change that part of my experience even if I could. After all, the goal of studying abroad is to push one’s limits and learn to live in another culture – not to conform it to your previous expectations of the world. Even your expectations of yourself have to change. At home I’d pass with flying colors. Here I might just pass. BUT I also learned how to introduce myself in Kaurna (the local Adelaide Aboriginal language), read about fire-walking for a class, created a new blog called Found Objects of Adelaide, and got to explain the definition of a “Hoosier” to hysterically laughing Aussies. Cool as, mate.

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