Summer 2015

Alyssa Boczkiewicz – Perugia, Italy Intensive Italian Language and Culture

Boczkiewicz, AVitals: Senior, Strategic Communications Major, International Studies Major, European Studies Certificate

Goals: My two biggest goals are to reach fluency in the Italian language and find a job in Italy for after graduation. I am also excited to discover the charms of Perugia and experience new adventures.

Motivation: My passion and focus area academically are Italy. I have already studied abroad in Florence, Italy, but am going back so that I can become fluent in the language and job search. Perugia offers a great intensive language program, a charming Italian town famous for its art and unique culture, and one of the most famous chocolate factories in Italy. For these reasons (especially the one having to do with chocolate), I have chosen to spend my summer in Perugia, Italy.

Previous overseas travel: Italy, Ireland, UK, Spain, Greece, Poland, Germany, Switzerland

Amanda Borkowski – Karatu, Tanzania SFS Wildlife Management and Wildlife Research

Borkowski, AVitals: Senior studying Animal Science and Life Sciences Communication

Goals: I have a lot of goals for this trip, but I’m mostly excited to see the sights and experience the culture and animals of Eastern Africa. Everybody dreams of seeing a lion in the wild, right? …No? I’m actually just a crazy cat lady looking for some thrills. But really.

Motivation: In all seriousness, I’ve dreamt of going to Africa since freshman year of college here at UW. I had been meeting with a Peace Corps officer with talks of volunteering over there after graduation. This inspired me to take a year of Swahili here on campus. Best class ever. I fell in love with the culture, the scenery and the different way of life that East Africa offers. I am very excited to learn how to approach conservation practices and research exotic wildlife while working with the local communities to increase awareness. Kwaheri wa Marekani! Mimi nina kwenda Tanzania! (“Goodbye America! I’m going to Tanzania!” in Swahili)

Previous overseas travel: Student Ambassador for People to People (France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy), Mexico, Canada

Heather Brevard – Shanghai, China UW Global Gateway Program

Brevard, H.Vitals: Freshman Bachelor of Science in Economics and Computer Science

Goals: I am ecstatic to be spending a month in a country where the primary spoken language is a language I am studying instead of English. I hope to use my exposure to Mandarin to improve my listening and speaking skills beyond what I could achieve by just attending class. I hope to experience Chinese culture first hand, from education practices to food to pastimes.

Motivation: I’ve wanted to go abroad since I became serious about my language studies in tenth grade. I realized I loved studying Spanish and began delving into other languages. Since arriving at Madison, I’ve begun my dream of studying Mandarin – a dream that was compounded by my selection to studying in Shanghai via the Global Gateway Program. I am elated to make my textbooks a reality by traveling to China.

Previous overseas travel: This will be my first time outside of the states

Garrett Frankson – Almaty, Kazakhstan

Frankson, GVitals: Astrophysics major, Leadership certificate.

Goals: I want to explore as much of Kazakhstan as possible in the 8 weeks that I’ll be there. I’m also hoping to share as much as possible with my friends and family back in the states, as well as with you, the study abroad blog reader (if that is in fact your name…). I’m a space geek, so I have a huge desire to venture out to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is where Russia has been launching rockets since the beginning of the space age.

Motivation: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with outer space. At a young age when I discovered it was possible for humans to ride a rocket up there, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Currently, about half of all space farers come from Russia, so learning how to speak Russian is a necessity for astronauts. Hence, as soon as I got accepted into UW-Madison, I signed up for first semester Russian. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to study abroad. I was surprised to find there were Russian-speaking summer programs offered in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. I want to make this experience as unique and unordinary as possible, so I decided on Almaty.

Previous overseas travel: Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. I was also in Cozumel, Mexico, for a week over winter break which is technically overseas. I think.

Annie Johnston – Tianjin, China UW Intensive Chinese Language Program

Johnston, AVitals: Psychology and Chinese double major

Goals: I love Chinese, but I have never been to mainland China. My goal is to learn how to be a part of China, and use the opportunity to refine my language skills and master the culture. A career in China is very appealing to me, so I hope my summer in Tianjin can help me get a feel for my future possibilities as a resident there.

Motivation: I loved my time in Taiwan last year, and since then I have been dying to get back a native-Chinese-speaking environment. And now that I’m a Chinese major, I have an excuse to hope over to China to take more Chinese classes!

Previous overseas travel: As a child, I traveled to Europe (France, Italy, England). 2013-2014 I lived in Taiwan.

Tina Liu – Tianjin, China UW Intensive Chinese Language Program

Version 2Vitals: Biochemistry Major, Chinese Major

Goals: China is a very large country, with many differences across each province and among the northern, southern, eastern, and western parts of the country. My study abroad program is in Tianjin, China, which is only about an hour away from Beijing, the capitol, and since I have never been to northern China before, I hope to learn all about the culture and customs of northern China. For example: the staple foods there, the common “slang” terminologies, and the way of thinking in the local areas. I also hope to learn about the cultures and customs across all of China’s different regions, the similarities and differences, and the histories of each province. Lastly, I hope to improve my language skills during my time abroad, to speak like a native Chinese person.

Motivation: As a Chinese major, China is (obviously) the most ideal country to go to for me to gain more knowledge about anything that is related to China and the Chinese language. Additionally, China is a country with one of the longest histories on Earth. I think China’s history is fascinating, and by being in the country, I will be surrounded by many historical sites and see in person some of the oldest places in the history of civilization.

Previous overseas travel: Fujian, China

Stephanie Sartell – Prague, Czech Republic CIEE Central European Studies

Sartell, SVitals: Political Science Major

Goals: I can’t wait to be exposed to a new language and culture. I want to learn what its like to live a European lifestyle. I also want to use the prime location of Prague to travel to surrounding countries I have never seen before.

Motivation: I have an incurable case of wanderlust. I found Prague to be a unique location because I don’t know many people who have been here before. I always thought I would study abroad in Western Europe; traveling to Central Europe instead is a twist I never expected.   In particular what stood out about the Czech Republic was how it has had major political changes fairly recently.

Previous Overseas Travel: Italy (Rome-Florence-Venice)

Rebecca Wanta – Shanghai, China UW Global Gateway Program

Wanta, RVitals: I’m a sophomore studying Religious Studies and Social Welfare with a certificate in South East Asian Studies.

Goals: I’m very excited to learn more about Chinese religion while in Shanghai, so I hope to visit a ton of temples and learn about everyday religious practices. I also hope to learn conversational Chinese! Overall, I just hope to have an incredible time and learn as much as I can about Chinese culture and the country’s history.

Motivation: I took an Introduction to Taoism class last fall, and that was the first class that exposed me to Chinese religion. When I heard about this study abroad program I thought it would be a great opportunity to witness Chinese religion and learn about it more in depth!

Previous Overseas Travel: Last summer I spent one month in Siem Reap, Cambodia participating in a Buddhism Service Learning Course.

Leyan Xu – Florence, Italy Studio Art Centers International (SACI)

Xu, LeyanVitals: Chemical Engineering Major

Goals: Travel as many counties as possible. Capture every special, happy, memorable and beautiful moments with my camera. Learn as much photography knowledge and Italian as possible. Discover the artistic inside me, cross fingers.

Motivation: I’ve always been attracted by Europe in general, because it has inspired people from the past and now to discover ourselves, like Renaissance. It is a wonderland where romance and the journeys of art start. So many books and masterpieces were created on that continent. I want to experience the life depicted in books and painted on canvas.

Previous overseas travel: Singapore, Thailand, Canada, Arctic Circle, Mexico, Spain, France, Australia, Ireland, and the United States, because I’m from China.


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