Academic Year 2013-2014

Elaina Genthe – Santiago, Chile

Genthe, ElainaVitals: Sophomore Zoology and Spanish Major with a Pre-Secondary Education Emphasis

Goals:  I hope to be completely immersed in the Chilean culture: I want to make a lot of Chilean friends, try all the vegetarian food Chile has to offer, and become a productive part of the university and city of Santiago by volunteering and getting involved with multiple clubs/activities.

Motivation:  I chose Chile for a variety of reasons and it would be impossible to list them all, but mainly because the Spanish dialect is so challenging, the people are so friendly, and my best friend from high school, Inge, is from Chile and currently lives there. When I went to Chile my first time, in December 2012, it was my first opportunity to travel outside of the Midwest, let alone the country! I immediately fell in love with the kindness of the people, the “modismos” of the language (slang), and the fast pace city life of Santiago. I cannot imagine studying abroad anywhere else, I need to finish my love affair I began with Chile first!

Previous overseas travel:  Chile (Santiago, the Patagonia region, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Zapallar, and Maitencillo)

Christian Gerhart – Madrid, Spain

Gerhart, ChristianVitals: Sophomore, Neurobiology (and possibly Spanish) major

Goals: My main goal is to improve my Spanish communication skills and be able to comfortably hold a conversation in Spanish. I would also like to travel and explore the beautiful country of Spain as much as possible. But most of all, I want to immerse myself in the Spanish culture and adopt the lifestyle of a Spaniard. I couldn’t be more excited to see what its really like to live in this amazing country.

Motivation: For a while now I have felt that it’s very important to develop speaking skills in at least one other language. I knew that the best way to improve was to spend time abroad. I wanted to spend enough time in Spanish speaking country to make sure I would improve my speaking significantly. Also, I wanted to do something that would challenge me and give me an experience that would help me grow as person. Before I started college, I went to Spain with my Dad and my Grandfather and on the trip I was able to get a feel for a few of the Spanish cities. I liked Madrid a lot and, after looking into the program, it seemed like an excellent fit. I’ll be able to stay in Spain for the entire year and have a reasonable amount of independence, while at the same time having help available if I needed it.

Previous overseas travel:  I have traveled to Spain and Germany and spent three weeks in Costa Rica this past winter.

Lydia Greve – Varanasi, India

Greve, LydiaVitals: Majoring in Political Science and Languages & Cultures of Asia, with a Certificate in Global Cultures

Goals:  While in India I hope to advance my knowledge of Hindi, integrate in to a host family and immerse myself in Indian culture, and travel to different regions of the country to experience the variations between them. I don’t want to have too many expectations for the year, because I want to go in to it with an open mind and be able to take things as they come. I hope this year will give me an opportunity to learn more about the world and its people. I want to explore not only the differences that make cultures unique, but also the similarities that unite us as humans. (Okay, and I want to learn how to cook lots of Indian food!)

Motivation:  I’m from a pretty small town in Wisconsin, so I didn’t grow up with a lot of diversity around me. I think this is part of what sparked my interest in travel. I ended up spending my junior year of high school as an exchange student in Turkey, and that experience really helped me see how big (and small) the world is, and it made me feel like I could do anything. I chose to study in India because I think it will be a great challenge, and also a transformational experience. I know it will push me out of my comfort-zone and help me grow as a person.

Previous overseas travel:  France, Turkey, and Canada (does that count?)

Gail Gustavson – Lima, Peru

Gustavson, GailVitals: Sophomore majoring in International Studies with a Global Health certificate

Goals:  I want to become 75% fluent (doable, right?) and learn deeply about a new city and its culture. I also want to make friends from different countries and learn about international career possibilities for after graduation.

Motivation:  I chose Lima because it is home to an interesting and colorful culture, excellent food (so I hear), friendly people, and a beautiful landscape for me to hike in! I am excited for the large city and exploring different neighborhoods within Lima, as well as throughout the country and South America. Since I’m going for a year, I know I’ll have a lot of time to travel. And I can’t forget to mention that the average temperature in Lima is about 60 degrees… goodbye Wisconsin winter!

Previous overseas travel:  Mexico, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland


Scott Hennelly – Palmerston North, New Zealand

Hennelly, ScottVitals: Sophomore majoring in Life Sciences Communication with an Environmental Studies and CALS International Certificate.

Goals: To learn. In every sense of the word: learn about new places, new people, new skills, and learn about myself. While I expect some of this learning to get done in the classroom, I expect most of it to come from my experiences outside of school. This does not mean I don’t expect to study… because I do. But I’ve found that the most important lessons that I’ve learned came from participating in life, not in class. With New Zealand as my teacher, my goal is to raise my hand as much as possible.

Motivation: Motivating me to study abroad didn’t take much. I can’t even fathom why anyone would pass up the chance to study abroad. When in your life can you actually “live” in a whole new country and not have to worry about anything but classes? Sure you could take vacations when you’re older, but they don’t give you the opportunity to soak in the culture like study abroad does. I couldn’t see my college experience being complete without it.

Previous overseas travel: Only Canada, but I’m glad that will change soon!

Stephanie Knab – London, England

Knab, StephanieVitals: major(s), Junior Communication Arts-Film, Television and Radio Major

Goals:  I want to be able to understand another culture, make new friends from all over the world, expand my comfort zone, be more independent, see and experience the world, and have tons of fun!

Motivation:  I’ve always wanted to travel the world so studying abroad was the easiest decision I have ever made. I highly debated between Australia and London. Australia because how often can you really go to Australia? It would truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, I chose London and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. This way it’s still an English speaking country, it’s cheap and easy to travel around the rest of Europe, and London is one of the most famous cities with a rich history and vibrant social atmosphere. I couldn’t possibly be any more excited!

Previous overseas travel:  Mexico!!

**Stephanie changed her time abroad from the academic year to the fall semester only

Monica Murphy – Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Murphy, MonicaVitals: Junior studying Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies

Goals:  My primary goal is to acquire fluency in Brazilian Portuguese, but most importantly build lasting relationships while in Brazil. I am also looking forward to World Youth Day and FIFA World Cup 2014 because some of the games will be in the city where I will be.

Motivation:  I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but originally I wanted to go to Spain. I changed my mind because I took Portuguese 301 my freshman year and discovered the beauty of Portuguese and Brazil. At the time Brazil was invisible to me; I never really thought about traveling there before. Thus, I am excited to immerse myself in Brazilian culture, because it is quite unique and unknown. To be honest, I am most thrilled to be speaking in Portuguese 24/7.

Previous overseas travel:  Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico


Michelle Turner – Shanghai, China

Turner, MichelleVitals:  International Studies Major, Political Science Major, East Asian Studies

Goals: One of my biggest goals for this trip is to dramatically increase my proficiency in speaking Chinese. I hope by that the end of the trip I can communicate with native Chinese speakers without too much hesitation. I also want to immerse myself in Chinese culture and explore as much of East and South Asia as possible.

Motivation: Studying abroad as been something I have always wanted to do. After traveling to China with my parents during high school, I felt a connection with the culture and language. After taking a Chinese course during college I knew I really wanted to go back and experience China. With my academic focus being on politics and foreign relations with East Asia, China is the perfect place for me to continue my academic studies and perhaps even prepare myself for a future career.

Previous Overseas Travel:  England, France, China, Japan, and Israel

Lisa Xiong – Seoul, South Korea

Xiong, LisaVitals:  Elementary Education Major, East Asian Studies Major

Goals:  It has always been one of my goals to experience a study abroad program while in college.  I have never been outside of the United States as well as never really leaving Wisconsin.  While studying at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, I would like to continue to learn the Korean language.  I have been taking the Korean language since I entered UW-Madison.  I am still not goods the Korean language, but I will continue to study the language.  My goal is to be able to communicate in Korean and understand Korean when I come back.

Motivation:  South Korea is a country that I have always wanted to visit.  I want to experience the Korean culture and experience their daily life.  I have always been interested in learning about other people’s culture.  Being able to go abroad and experiencing it first-hand is really exciting for me.  I want to be able to celebrate their holidays/celebrations.  I would also love to go sightseeing in South Korea.  One place I have to go and see is Jeju Island.  It’s a hot spot for tourist and I heard it is a beautiful place and culturally enrich place to visit.  One essential thing that I would love to do is go and see some of my favorite Korean bands perform.  I have been introduced to the Korean music and film industry around my middle school years.  Listening to Korean music and watching Korean dramas have made me become more fascinated and curious about the Korean culture.

Previous overseas travel:  None