Academic Year 2012-2013

JESSICA SELINE– Buenos Aires, Argentina

Vitals:  I am a sophomore studying Spanish and Anthropology with a Global Health minor

Goals:  While there are so many goals I have for studying abroad, I am most excited to integrate myself within another culture. I want to experience life as a typical porteña (resident of Buenos Aires). I hope not only to become fluent in Spanish, but to also have the smooth, “shaa” Argentine accent. I not only want to walk amongst the towering, sprawling buildings of the city, but I also want to see the slums of the desperately poor on the outskirts of town. Overall, I hope to not be afraid to get my feet wet, to keep going when I fail, and to grow as a person.

Motivation:  For as long as I had thought about college, I knew that studying abroad was something I dreamed of doing. However, it was not until I was a freshman that I began to dream of going to Argentina. As a Spanish major, going to a Spanish-speaking country was a given. However, the larger reason I chose Argentina was for the opportunities it will provide. Buenos Aires will allow me to experience the excitement of the big city, unmatched cultural richness, and the chance to see the chaos and beauty of a country outside of the United States and Europe.

Previous overseas travel:  Germany, Austria & Italy

DEVIN SHIRLEY– Aix-en-Provence, France

Vitals:  Sociology and French Major

Goals:  I would love to come away from this study abroad experience fluent or nearly fluent in French. I can’t wait to experience everything about living in France: the food, the language, the people, and the way of life. I want to be immersed in this culture!

Motivation:  It’s been a goal of mine for a long time to become fluent in French, so studying abroad in France makes perfect sense! I also think that study abroad is an unmatched life experience; when else do you get to live somewhere for a year while working towards a degree? I think that studying abroad in another culture brings so much enrichment academically, personally, and professionally to the participant. I can’t wait for this awesome experience! Why not go?!

Previous overseas travel:  Canada (including Québec!), France, Bahamas, and Mexico

MICHAEL PODGERS– Freiburg, Germany

Vitals:  History, German Major

Goals:  I want to learn as much as I can about German culture and life.  I also want to take advantage of the travel opportunities I’ll be afforded to see some of the world’s great places, experience life in some of the world’s great cities, and build connections with a diverse range of people.  I want to make lasting and fulfilling international friendships and of course leave speaking German fluently.

Motivation:  Since my freshman year in high school I have taken German classes and a long-time goal of mine has been learning to speak another language fluently.  This was a natural step for me.  Freiburg seems like an amazing city and I am super excited to have the chance to learn and study IN GERMAN(!) at a German university.

Previous overseas travel:  Ireland, France, the Caribbean, Germany, Austria, Italy


Vitals:  Double Majors in Spanish and Japanese

Goals:  I hope to become fluent in the languages that I love and that appeal to me and I’m hoping this study abroad experience will help me fulfill that.  I also want to learn everything I can about Japan’s culture.

Motivation:  I’ve always loved Japan and its culture, even though I barely knew anything about it, since I was a little girl, more specifically since I was three.  As I grew up I came to love Japanese culture more everyday, so my desire to learn the language and study there grew as well.  I always knew I was going to study abroad while I was in college no matter what it took, but now that I have the opportunity and I am actually going, I couldn’t be happier.  I’m also super excited that I’ll be able to travel to Korea, another country I have an intense interest in, during my winter break!

Previous overseas travel:  Mexico (three times)

MARGARET BUTZEN– Tokyo, Japan (Sophia)

Vitals:  Geological Engineering Major, Geology Major, Japanese Major

Goals:  My goal is to experience real Japanese culture and life, make friends and invaluable connections, but above all I want to learn, learn about everything I can, take advantage of any and all opportunities to learn.

Motivation:  I wanted to study abroad once I entered college, but I wasn’t sure where until I started studying Japanese. Now my goal is to work in Japan, or work for a company that works closely with Japan, therefore this opportunity not only gives me the chance to experience a new culture, but also a chance to see if working in Japan is a future goal I can reach.

Previous overseas travel:  I have never traveled overseas, and I have only been out of the country once, to Quebec in Canada


Vitals:  I am majoring in International Studies (Track: Culture In the Age of Globalization) and I am also pursuing a double major in Spanish (Track: Language).

Goals:  My biggest goal for my study abroad experience is to, of course, become fluent in Spanish. I have been taking Spanish for about 9 years and yet I still feel like I am not great at speaking it! Another huge goal of mine is to understand the culture, the people, and the lifestyles of Peru. I want to become engrossed in the Peruvian culture whether that is through living with a host family, making new Peruvian friends, or traveling to other areas outside of Lima. A lifelong dream of mine has been to see Machu Picchu, learn all about the history of the Inca, and hike up to the highest point of the ancient ruins. So, naturally, this is what I intend to do while in Peru!

Motivation:  Ever since my first time traveling abroad, I knew that I wanted to try out studying abroad for a long period of time. I know that this will be difficult for me, but my excitement is far more powerful than my fear. I chose Peru because I knew that I wanted to go to South America and also, because I have always wanted to see Machu Picchu. Also, Peru was probably the best financial option for me which had a great impact on my decision to study in Peru. I chose a year-long program because I really wanted to see what holidays were like in other parts of the world. I am really looking forward to seeing what traditions the Peruvians have for Christmas and Easter!

Previous overseas travel:  I have had the pleasure to travel to: China, England, Italy, France, and the Dominican Republic

PAM XIONG– Seoul, South Korea (Yonsei)

Vitals:  Elementary Education Major and East Asian Studies Major

Goals:  It has always been my goal to experience a study abroad program while in college.  The country that I have always wanted to visit is South Korea. While in South Korea, I would like to continue my Korean language study.  Most importantly though, I would love to do everything that a typical Korean person would do.  I want to live and endlessly experience the Koran lifestyle.  While in South Korea, I also would like to go sightseeing.  Lastly and most importantly, I want to go fangirling over my favorite Korean artists.

Motivation:  I have always had an interest in other people’s culture, and I have always wanted to travel in a different country.  By studying abroad, it would give me the opportunity to do this.  South Korea became an interest of mine after my friends introduced me to the Korean music industry and their dramas.  It was through constantly listening to their music and watching their dramas that I took an interest in their culture and started studying their language.

Previous overseas travel:  None


Vitals:  Communication Arts- Rhetoric and Spanish majors

Goals:  I’m really excited to live in a different country. One of my goals is, of course, improving my Spanish speaking skills, but I also really want to learn as much about the Spanish culture and history as I can. I really want to feel like a Spaniard by the time I leave. Additionally, I want to travel all over Europe and visit as many countries as possible. I hope that I can further my knowledge about Spain and Europe and make lifelong friends along the way.

Motivation:  Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to study abroad or be an international exchange student. Since I have grown up learning Spanish, a Spanish country was the natural decision for me. I chose Spain because it is the origin of the Spanish language and has such a long history. Additionally, I chose Madrid because it is the capital of Spain and the city embodies the diversity that is Spain. Even though I will be living in Madrid, I plan on travelling around Spain in order to see all the great aspects of the country.

Previous overseas travel:  None! This is my first time out of the U.S.

ISAAC HUBEN– Taipei, Taiwan

Vitals:  Chinese and Linguistics Majors, considering the TESOL certificate.

Goals:  My first Chinese teacher was Taiwanese. If it weren’t for her extraordinary care and energy that she put into her teaching, I would have not continued to study Chinese. Because of her, I always wanted to go to Taiwan to experience it first hand. There, my major goals are not only to improve my Chinese but also to deepen my understanding of the people and region.

Motivation:  When I transferred to the UW this school year (2011), I knew that I wanted to do whatever I could to improve my Chinese, and throughout the year I have taken every opportunity I have been given to improve. In fact, I became known throughout the department for my “excessive” number of conversation partners. My hard work helped me to have much improvement in my spoken Chinese and even win gold at the University, State, and Midwestern Chinese speech contests. No matter where studying abroad will lead me, I know I will eventually become fluent in Chinese.

Previous overseas travel:  Even though I have traveled abroad before, it wasn’t until after last summer when I studied and lived in Mainland China that I gained a true traveler’s sense of independence and adventure!

SAMI GHANI– Istanbul, Turkey

Goals:  I have too many goals to count. I’ll be eating more food than I can describe. I want to visit the ancient mosques, like the Blue Mosque, churches and ruins. I want to sit on the Bosphorus River sipping on tea, and maybe lion’s milk if it’s at night. I want to go see an incredible football game between Turkey’s fierce teams. Most of all I want to meet the Turkish people, form lasting bonds, and throw myself to the winds of adventure.

Motivation:  Turkey has to be one of the most fascinating countries in the world, and it’s a shame more people don’t know more about its vibrant history. It’s east meets west, secular meets religious, Europe meets the Middle East meets Asia, and the result is a beautiful mélange. Spending an entire year in Istanbul, with its deep history, architecture, and kebabs, oh man the kebabs, will be a dream come true.

Previous overseas travel:  Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, France, and of course, Canada