DU students return from abroad

The International House at DU

Many University of Denver juniors are back on campus this quarter after returning home from their adventures of studying abroad in various countries around the world. Studying abroad in a foreign country offers many different opportunities for DU students.

Along with these opportunities come many ups and downs. For example, students have the chance to meet new people and return to their home university having made new friends. But, they may also experience homesickness and culture shock.

As students are working on the transition back to being at DU, they agree their study abroad experience was life changing and rewarding.

They are excited and eager to share their stories about their most important abroad experiences and what they thought was most valuable with the DU community and want encourage others to study abroad during their time at DU.

Italy offers great opportunities

Italy is a very popular location for DU students wanting to study abroad because there are a wide variety of programs to choose from in many different Italian cities.

One of the favored cities is Rome, where DU junior, Elizabeth Patch chose to travel to for her semester abroad through the International Studies Abroad (ISA) program DU offers.

After being overtaken with a great love for the country four years prior on a family vacation, Patch began to study the language at DU as a sophomore to prepare herself for living in the city and communicating with the locals.

The American University of Rome was a perfect choice for her as she states, “I chose Rome in particular because it offered courses that related to my major and minor”.

Just like many returning study abroad-ers, Patch had both strong likes and dislikes of the city during her experience. She mentioned the size of the city as well as having to deal with a lot of tourists as something she didn’t like about Rome.

“The worst part about studying in Rome was the size and the cleanliness of the city. Rome is a very large city making it difficult and time consuming to get around and get things done. It is also very dirty and crowded with tourists,” Patch said.

On a lighter note, Patch liked being able to see Rome’s biggest attractions on a daily basis as well as meeting many new people.

She said, “My favorite part about studying in Rome was meeting the people in my program and being able to see sights like the Coliseum and the Pantheon on a regular basis”.

Patch also commented on her return to the United States saying she didn’t experience any reverse culture shock, but was very tired.

She was very thankful for the small break she had before classes started to get used to Colorado time again.

Spain, a popular choice for many DU students

Many DU students who study abroad choose to go to Spain. Chelsea Rebro, a junior here, chose Bilbao, Spain in the Basque Country as her destination. She also went through ISA.

After hearing from others how beautiful the country is, she had no problem picking where she wanted to study.

“I wanted to study in Spain because I am a Spanish major, and I wanted to be in a country where I could easily travel to other cities/countries if need be”.

Rebro enjoyed her experience fully explaining her fondest memories and touching on the beauties of her destination.

“I am really glad I chose northern Spain as opposed to southern Spain because the Basque Country is a very unique place and it is not very touristy. The northern part of Spain is so pretty because it has coasts, but it also has hills and mountains”.

Like Patch, Rebro had some dislikes about her experience in Spain, “The thing I liked least about this part of Spain is that the people are not as open and friendly. Many northern Spaniards keep to themselves and come off as a little cold at first. I did not meet any local students at the university either”.

Rebro wants to encourage other DU students to travel to Spain for their study abroad experience because she learned a lot about the culture and language.

“I would HIGHLY recommend this city and program to other students at DU and other universities.”

Studying abroad, a very rewarding experience

DU Juniors Chelsea Rebro (left) and Elizabeth Patch

Both students agree that their time abroad was very life changing and rewarding. Rebro says, “The best memories I have from study abroad are with my host mom and her family”. By living with a host family she learned many things about the culture and language.

 Patch states, “It pushes you outside of your comfort zone and forces you to learn about another culture. Especially in countries that do not speak English, you are forced to learn how to communicate with the locals”. She also came away having made many new friends from all over the US.

Students hoping to go abroad in their college careers

After reading some of the interesting stories from DU returnees, current juniors may want to consider going abroad at some point during their time here. Talking with an advisor in the Study Abroad information office at DU, otherwise known as the International House, is a great place to get started for anyone who is interested in taking the first step in applying to go abroad.

Nicole Hubbell, an advisor for those who are interested in going to Italy, but who also knows a lot about other destinations briefly explained the process in a current interview.

Most students go abroad the fall quarter of their junior year. Because we on a quarter system here at DU, this seems to be the best time to go for various reasons.

Hubbell explains, “Being on the quarter system, the fall makes more sense for most students because you’re only gone for one quarter and usually are getting a semester’s worth of credits rather than missing two quarters like you would in the spring”.

However, certain academic circumstances or students who are athletes may cause them to go during the spring of their junior year, or fall quarter of senior year.

Students must complete a few steps before they begin the application process to their choice of country, school and program.

First they must attend a series of meetings at the International House.

“The first step is to come to a Study Abroad 101 session. Those are offered almost every day of the week if not once then twice a day. There is no need to schedule an appointment and the times are listed on the website,” Hubbell explains.

Also, for certain regions of the world, for example, Spanish speaking countries or the UK, students must attend a regional meeting. After this they are able to meet one on one with an advisor such as Hubbell.

Program requirements vary, but for DU students the best option is to take advantage of Cherrington Global Scholars, which helps them in the financial area of planning for studying abroad.

Hubbell goes over the basic requirements for this option, “Students need to have a 3.0 GPA or higher, be at least a junior standing so that is 90 credits at DU and cannot be on probation at the time they go abroad”.

She recommends that students visit the International House between the fall and winter quarter before they plan on going abroad so they have time to complete the process.

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