Indiana University Overseas Study

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Adventures AND Academics

Rachel Larsen - Copenhagen

Let’s be real: everyone who studies abroad is so excited about the place they will be visiting and the people they will meet, not necessarily focusing on the courses being taught. As obvious as it might seem that STUDY abroad has quite a bit of work associated with it, it seems like some of the students who are studying around me are baffled by the expectation to complete work at such an exciting time. Along with studying during your adventures, students have all of these amazing plans that they know will absolutely work out 100% of the time and will be perfect and be life changing…

I think it’s time to set some realistic expectations for what you might experience while studying abroad. (more…)

Never A Dull Moment

Jordin Perkins

Class photo

Our Class: After handing out suckers to the entire class, Professor Schachermeier insisted we ask someone to take our picture speaking only German. This was the result.

Every Wednesday, I walk into my “Cultural Heritage of Austria” course and ask, “So… Where are we going today?”

Like most other courses, the first hour and a half is held in the main IES building. However, unlike other classes, the second half of every class is designated to physically seeing what we’ve been studying in our textbook.

So far, we’ve seen 4 museums, 3 grave-sites of important historical figures, 1 castle, too many churches to count, the library that inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’s library, and many other important landmarks in Vienna.

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You could say we’ve seen a lot of the city… you would be wrong. We haven’t even seen half of it yet!

From these class outings, I’m learning not only more and more about the history of this city, but that, alongside the old buildings and artifacts, there is always something new to see. One can never complain about being bored.

World renowned Christmas markets are popping up everywhere, there is always a new symphony or opera to see for as little as 3 Euro (sometimes even for free!), and getting lost in the city (not that I’ve done that 4-5 times already…) leads you to little cafes and boutiques that, while you may never find them again, add to the charm of the city.

And the professors here sure do take advantage of these opportunities.

While not all courses can afford an excursion every class, most have at least a few scheduled into their syllabus. This sense of a classroom outside of the classroom is an eye-opening, hands-on way to learn that will make returning to lecture halls and textbook discussions difficult.

Having already met a few, I hope to encounter more professors in IU’s Journalism program who use this method of learning – allowing us to step outside of the classroom and into the lesson’s physical material.

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A Spanish Sunday

Nicole Warren

Sundays are especially wonderful in Barcelona because many shops close and the Gothic neighborhood is teeming with dancing, pop up markets, and music.  As my week is typically filled with educational requirements or tourism checklists and my Fridays and Saturdays are spent enjoying the nightlife of Spain, I relish in the slow pace of Sunday.  

In the United States, my time would be spent usually cramming facts in for a quiz or checking off tasks on a massive to do list for the week of classes.  My GPS personal dot would almost always be found in the Herman B. Wells library on IU’s campus.  For me, all of the assignments seemed to creep up on me all week and then just avalanche onto my already stressed mind.

In Spain, my life is much different.  Sure, I have some assignments to think about for the week to come but it’s nothing as all-consuming as my time at IU.  In Barcelona, nights of the week are spent meeting for study breaks at local cafés; this makes an effective combination of experiencing the food culture and finishing work.  Students in Barcelona are more inclined to commit to meeting to do homework at a local spot such as Marti for unreal Tomato Focaccia or Café Francesco for one of the flakiest and fluffiest croissants that you have ever tasted.  It’s quite an interesting dynamic.  When Sunday creeps up into the schedule, my friends and I have time to unwind and walk around the different Spanish neighborhoods.  Stall after stall line up on the Barceloneta stretch that dead ends into the beach.  I am usually always pushing to make the venture towards the beach because I personally enjoy the salty air whipping my hair and popping in for a big burger at Maka Maka.  The last time I went there I had a burger topped with buffalo mozzarella, fried eggplant, and peppers and it was a taste bud sensation!  Additionally, we tried the banana chocolate milkshakes that were equally exquisite.

spanish milkshakes

So, these milkshakes only look a LITTLE good. Ha ha.

awesome burger

My awesome burger

I have spent many a times on the Barceloneta beach, due to its essential mix of sand, sun, and amazing food.

Barcelona beach

Barcelona beach

Classes this semester have been challenging but also manageable.  The hardest part of studying for finals is that you have to exit the tough mindset that you are on vacation and buckle down for achieving your grade goal.  The end of the semester is always the hardest because its very similar to the grind of a typical college campus: assignments pile up, inevitable goodbyes to close (or new, in study abroad’s case) friends, and making sure you have done everything you wanted to do in that particular city before returning home.

I have missed many aspects of the U.S. but I will treasure these times in Barcelona for a lifetime.  I am not finished here but this city has already changed me, perspectively, for the better.  I hope to convince anyone who will listen to go to Barcelona!

View all posts by Nicole

A home away from home – PUCP!

Christine White

An often forgotten part of study abroad experiences is, quite frankly, the studying. While though it might seem through my updates to friends and family that I spend all my time exploring Lima or traveling Peru, I spent three very full, very long days a week at PUCP – la Pontificia Catolica Universidad de Peru – my home away from home.


Study Abroad to Spaniard


Many study abroad students often have a goal to fit in to their host country. Knowing that I will be living in Madrid for one year, being recognized as a local is an important goal of mine. Study abroad students are often picked out in a crowd, but with time we can learn to adjust to the local culture, and even be mistaken for a local. After my two short months in Madrid I have already picked up on a few Spanish habits that I have attempted to demonstrate in my daily life.


Who Turned Up the Heat?


One week in, one midterm down. When each class is only three weeks long, the pace moves fast. But never once has it been overwhelming. The university does a great job of organizing the classes and providing social programs to let you interact and get to know your peers outside the classroom. The London School of Economics (LSE) provides an array of activities for students who wish to sign up. There are weekend day trips to Stonehenge and Oxford, and evening musical outings to The Lion King or Les Misérable. But you do need to be prepared to spend some time in the library and do the assigned class readings.


The Road to London


Departure day is rapidly approaching. I have been busy packing my bags and saying my goodbyes to friends and family. I know it will be a surreal feeling when I finally step onto the London School of Economics campus in central London.


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