As the semester draws to a close, students studying abroad took a moment to reflect back on their best and worst memories from their semesters.
The Worst Moments
“My classes are all interesting, but they’re structured so that most if not all of my essays are due on the last day of term, so the last couple weeks of abroad are ruined by constant research and writing for papers that comprise my entire grade in each class.” - College junior Julia Fine, London, England.
“I had my camera stolen when I was traveling in Northern Ireland which was kind of a bummer. I had a lot of pictures from my parents’ visit and traveling with friends on it that I hadn’t uploaded yet and the camera itself wasn’t cheap.” - College junior and Daily Pennsylvanian Copy Editor Jen Kopp, Dublin, Ireland.
“Street harassment is pretty frequent in the city when I’m walking by myself. It’s generally not actually threatening, just a lot of men trying to get my attention in various languages, but it can be uncomfortable sometimes.” - College junior Caroline Wallace, Rabat, Morocco.
“I had to adjust to a different place and situation basically every three weeks. As soon as i would start feeling comfortable where I was, we’d be getting up and moving.” - College junior Andrea Vargas Guerra. Vargas’ program took her to seven different locations throughout the semester, including Hanoi, Vietnam, Bushbuckridge, South Africa, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“My worst experience was seeing the victims of the suicide bombings.” - College junior Andrew Gegios, Beirut, Lebanon.
“My worst experience has probably just generally been adjusting to the differences in the educational style over here. It’s much more independent study oriented, so it has been a bit tough adjusting to that and knowing how much I should be reading for each class when they’re not very explicit about it.” - College junior Luke Barbour, Edinburgh, Scotland.
“The toughest thing has been balancing school work from a rigorous university with traveling most weekends and having to choose to stay put for a few weekends to actually get work done.” College junior Samantha Kochman, Edinburgh, Scotland.
“The hardest part was trying to find a routine; having to realize that beyond the change of setting, your day to day life is going to be vastly different than at Penn.” - College junior Peter Herbst, Paris, France.
“Getting the 24 hour flu on Halloween in Barcelona! My worst experience in a very different way was also the night of the attacks.” - College junior Avalon O’Connor, Paris, France.
“The worst experience has to be when I was returning from fall break, I missed my train back home. I tried to get a BlaBlaCar back but the dude took my money and cancelled on me, leaving me stranded in Paris. I was furious and then I was just really exhausted and kind of tired. You know when you hit that point where being outside of your comfort zone isn’t an adventure anymore, it’s just miserable?” - College and Wharton junior Tabong Kima, Aix-en-Provence, France.
“What really got to me is the weather and early darkness — days with 5.5 hours of sunshine, in which the sun is virtually always hidden behind the clouds are tough because they make you just want to bundle up at home and not deal with classes and people.” - College and Wharton junior Cora Neumann, St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Best Moments
“My best experience is also my worst: I went on a 43km bike ride with my best friend in the northwest coast of Ireland. It was the end of November, so it was freezing, and it rained the entire time. So although the sights were gorgeous, we were soaked and cold for 5 hours riding through the mountains.” - College junior Nayeli Riano, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
“Visiting places like Iceland. I loved how untamed the nature was - I once drove across a suspension bridge across just a sea of black volcanic ash for as far as you could see.” - Engineering junior Katie Wu.
“When I’m walking back home after school, I walk down a hill and I can see over the surrounding countryside. It’s beautiful. As I look, I take a deep breath and smile.” - College and Wharton junior Tabong Kima, Aix-en-Provence, France.
“My best experience is in general to start over in a continent where I know nobody before, realizing how I don’t need people around me all the time.” - Wharton junior Hui Chen, Reid Hall, Paris, France.
“My best experience studying abroad honestly hasn’t been the trips I’ve taken, the parties I’ve been too, the museums I’ve visited or the sites I’ve seen, but the mornings where I have aimlessly wandered through the winding streets of Paris and stopped at a café to read the newspaper.” - College junior Avalon O’Connor, Paris, France.
“My best experience has generally speaking been the group of friends of made in my time here. I’ve become pretty close to a number of full time students here in Edinburgh so that has made study abroad a really great experience.” - Luke Barbour.
“I just really love hearing stories and gaining more perspective about the world. I had a lot of delightful conversations with people over the semester.” - College junior Andrew Gegios, Beirut, Lebanon.
“Language, culture, religion — they should not be barriers, they’re just socially constructed entities that put wedges between people. I knew this before, but this program really reinforced that and gave me hope, especially in light of what’s going on all over the world right now.” - College junior Andrea Vargas Guerra. Vargas’ program took her to seven different locations throughout the semester, including Hanoi, Vietnam, Bushbuckridge, South Africa, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“One of my best experiences was learning to bargain in the Moroccan medinas. The expectation is that shopkeepers will start out with a high price and you have to negotiate it down to something reasonable over a long conversation. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and practice language skills. I met so many friendly shopkeepers who invited us to stay for tea, helped us try on traditional dress for a picture, and shared with us their life stories.” - College junior Caroline Wallace, Rabat, Morocco.
“Dangling my legs over the edge of the cliffs of moher on the west coast of Ireland. It is honestly probably the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been, and I luckily got a relatively windless day to go, so I was able to sit right on the edge and look down the 700-800 ft drop to the water below. It’s both an incredibly exhilarating experience and a really terrifying one at the same time to walk along and sit so close to the edge.” - College junior and Daily Pennsylvanian Copy Editor Jen Kopp, Dublin, Ireland.
“Some of my best memories have been when I’ve gone sightseeing and exploring on my own. London is an amazing city filled with world-class art and architecture, and I’ve found that I’m most able to appreciate its wonders when I’m wandering at my own pace, discovering things I hadn’t seen or known about before.” - College junior Julia Fine, London, England.
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