Spring 2015

Rebecca Cooks – Aix-en-Provence, France (Sciences Po University)

Cooks, RebeccaVitals:  International Studies Major, French Major

Goals: It is the chance of a lifetime to live and study in another country, and I am excited to experience being submersed in a new culture. I hope to travel Europe, explore the French language, and meet many different people. In doing all of these things, my goal is to grow in my confidence and independence as I increase my world view.

Motivation: Midwest Nice. The idea that the Midwest and the people living there have a special quality of kindness that one struggles to find in other places. I have loved being raised in this environment, and it is all I have known throughout my education. But now I have the opportunity to learn in a completely new place with its own different qualities. It has been my dream to study in France for years, and the Aix-en-Provence, France, program provides the perfect setting for me to improve my French, learn about the surrounding culture, and study both of my majors at the same time. I am motivated to expand my view and knowledge of the world and its people, starting in Aix. My hopes to progress my International Studies and French majors, to travel France and Europe, and to learn more about myself are close to becoming a reality!

Previous overseas travel: I have never been outside of the U.S. Let this first-time adventure begin!

Sarah Ferguson – Aix-en-Provence, France (Aix Marseille University)

Ferguson, SVitals: Genetics and French Double Major

Goals: Perfect my pronunciation of the phlegmy French “r”, learn to make at least one French pastry, and make some native French friends!

Motivation: My grandparents used to take a month vacation in France every year and my Grandmother would always bring back little gifts and trinkets for me. After bring curious about France since I was five, I decided to take French in middle school. I liked it so much I decided to keep taking it all the way through college! I have always wanted an environment where I could perfect my French accent and studying abroad in France supplies exactly that! I hope I can improve my French speaking skills as well as pick up some new cultural habits to improve my life and the lives of others around me.

Previous overseas travel: 1 week in Anguilla (an island next to the British Virgin Islands) with my Grandpa in 2007. I’m a newbie to Europe!

Gabrielle Fishbaine – Bangkok, Thailand

Fishbaine, GVitals: International Studies Major, Southeast Asian Studies minor, and possible Art minor

Goals: I can’t wait to completely immerse myself in a culture so far apart from my own and experience life through a different set of “eyes”. I hope that after my program, I will be more knowledgeable about the many different cultures in Southeast Asia and how they differ from our own, and further apply this new knowledge to my future endeavors, having a more global mindset.

Motivation: Ever since I can remember I have dreamt about traveling the world and experiencing all things possible beyond what I knew existed in the United States. College to me has proved to be the perfect excuse to travel, while also learning in and outside of a traditional classroom setting that will count as credits back home at UW-Madison. I cannot truly pick one specific reason as to why I chose to study abroad in Thailand, or Southeast Asia in general for that matter, but I guess it had to do a lot with my desire to experience a culture that I knew very little about. After taking a class on economic growth and development in Southeast Asia, I started doing some research and found that UW-Madison had an exchange program set up with a university in Bangkok, Thailand, and I knew at that moment that this is where I wanted to go.

Previous overseas travel: Italy

Megan Gray – Arica, Chile

Gray, MVitals: Kinesiology Major

Goals: My main goal is to learn what it’s like to be a part of Chilean culture, and to learn all about health care practices in another country. In addition, I hope to document this experience through 100 pictures I will take with the hashtag #100daysofchile on Instagram (follow me @megray5).

Motivation: The summer before I chose my study abroad program, a friend got me into hiking and backpacking. I knew I wanted to learn Spanish when I studied abroad, and I also wanted to go to a place where people do these outdoor activities all the time. I also happen to be a kinesiology student hoping to someday become an Occupational Therapist. When I found out about SIT’s Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment Program in Arica, Chile, I knew right away that this was the program for me! Not only is it in a country with 36 parques nacionales and hiking trails from the Atacama Desert to Patagonia, it also has a medical focus and is in a Spanish-speaking country. I can’t wait to pack up my bags and start my adventure!

Previous overseas travel: Ireland and Northern Ireland

Aaryn Kealty – Copenhagen, Denmark

Kealty, AarynVitals: Human Development and Family Studies with a Certificate in Education and Education Services

Goals: In Denmark, I will be studying Child Development and Diversity which will give me the opportunity to work with children and families in a completely different social context than I grew up in. I am excited to learn how the happiest people in the world approach child development and the context in which these children develop.

Motivation: I chose Denmark after reading an article online about why the Danes are said to be the happiest people in the world. I have always thought that happiness over the course of a lifetime is rooted in one’s childhood. As an HDFS major, I became interested in how the Danes raise their children and what it is in everyday life that allows these children to grow into the happiest people in the world.

Previous overseas travel: Italy, Mexico, Canada

Gabi King – London, England

King, GVitals: Journalism and Mass Communications major, Environmental Science minor

Goals: My goal is to experience first-hand the places in London and Europe that I’ve admired and dreamed of since I was young and loved Paddington Bear and Madeline. I hope to meet people from all over the world and learn more about cultures and life outside of the star-spangled U.S.

Motivation: I chose London because it was the perfect marriage of big city life and history, as well as being a great starting-off point for other travel destinations. University of Westminster has a huge class selection and a large portion of international students, so I can continue my Madison academics while meeting new people from all over as well. Plus, I’m hoping the tea-loving stereotype is actually true.

Previous overseas travel: Italy, Belize, St. Lucia, Mexico

Rose Lundy – Galway, Ireland

Lundy, RVitals: Junior in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Integrated Liberal Studies minor

Goals: I am excited to really get to know Ireland and learn about the national history, culture and literature. On my weekends and breaks I plan to explore the countryside and visit the different areas of Ireland.

Motivation: My parents have always placed a lot of importance on travelling and experiencing new cultures, so I have planned to study abroad since before I even started high school. I chose Galway, Ireland because I am very passionate about music and music journalism, so I wanted to be immersed in a city with vibrant culture. Galway is famous for its architecture, local music and natural landforms, and I wanted to experience all of it.

Previous overseas travel: Canada, Spain, France, Morocco.

Kaitlin McCuskey – Seville, Spain

Mccuskey, KVitals: Neurobiology major with a global cultures certificate

Goals: During this study abroad experience my goals are to not get lost on a daily basis in Sevilla, be able to converse like a normal person with my host family / Spanish speakers, and to have my own (less dramatic) eat pray love experience, emphasis on the eating part. Cuisine, as it’s influenced by many factors, reveals the secret influences of a region. As a correspondent I hope to bring to life Sevilla and other places I travel through the food I eat.

Motivation: Somewhere in Spain has always been my ultimate study abroad location since I was in sixth grade. This was reconfirmed when I had been fortunate enough to visit Barcelona last spring break and fell head over heels in love. The architecture and relaxed atmosphere had me like … It wasn’t until I started looking through the Spain study abroad programs that I realized Sevilla was my destiny. Sevilla isn’t Spain’s largest city but that didn’t mind me. I wanted a location where I could really incorporate into the daily life while still being in a metropolitan city. Sevilla is the southernmost city available for the UW – Madison’s study abroad programs offered during the spring semester. This was by no means the main determinant, more so a happy coincidence. There wasn’t a rhyme or a reason as to why I fell in love with Sevilla, it was just love at first sight. I know this will be revealed in my blog, so get ready.

Previous overseas travel: Mexico and Spain

Chloe McKenzie – Perth, Australia

Mckenzie, CVitals: English major with a certificate in Global Cultures

Goals: I wanted to prove to myself that I could live on my own in a different country. I also wanted to be forced to define myself in a completely unfamiliar context, since I go to college in the same town I grew up in.

Motivation: I chose Australia because it was far away, the people there speak English, the weather is incredible, the wildlife is incredible, and…yeah, that’s basically it. More generally, I was always going to study abroad. My cousin went to study in France when I was 8; this trip has been in the works since then.

Previous overseas travel: lol, none?

Jeremy O’Brien – Rome, Italy (Internship)

Brien, JVitals: Community & Nonprofit Leadership Major, Global Health, Gender & Women’s Studies, and African Studies Minors

Goals: I plan to learn the interworking’s of how international relations works on the policy side. By working directly for the U.S. government and the United Nations, I plan to be a valuable asset to decision making processes.

Motivation: Global health is a field I am passionate about. By interning for the U.S. Department of state, I will be engaged in many United Nations agencies, including the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Developmental Law Organization, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. These are all key organizations to the global health world, and I’m extremely excited to contribute to the work that these agencies are doing.

Previous overseas travel: Perú, Mexico, Guatemala

Paul Van Vliet – Utrecht, Netherlands

Van Vliet, PVitals: Junior Math and Economics Major

Goals: I hope to explore Dutch culture as a local and become nearly fluent in Dutch.

Motivation: I have spent a large portion of my life in a small region of the world, around people with relatively similar cultural backgrounds and worldviews. Studying abroad is to this point the best opportunity to step outside those boundaries and explore another culture as something other than a tourist. I wanted to study in the Netherlands from the very beginning as I have strong family ties to the country and a general appreciation of all things Dutch.

Previous Overseas Travel: Bahamas, Canada

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