Summer 2016

Former Featured Bloggers: Summer 2016

HHannah Baird
Wright State University
Malaga, Spain
My name is Hannah Baird and I’m a junior at Wright State University. In 2014 I traveled to Europe for the first time and immediately fell in love with Spain. From there my love for the language and culture grew. I decided to take this leap of faith to travel to a country where I know no one else going on the trip. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Spanish culture this summer in the city of Malaga.

isabligGiovanna Berrocal
California Baptist University
Madrid, Spain (ISA INT)
During my time abroad, I hope to invest myself in the Spanish culture by building relationships with locals and exploring every corner of Madrid. I want to come back to the U.S. with a different global perspective, a different mindset. I lived in Monteria, Colombia for the first 10 years of my life and have moved more than 20 times since then. Anything that has to do with design or photography brings joy to my life. I am content with my camera, my sketchbook, a map of a new city, and a pair of comfortable shoes that enable me to explore an entire country.

UntitledRyan Birdwell
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Chile (ISA SL)
Hey! My name is Ryan Birdwell, a senior about to graduate with Global Studies/Spanish at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Completing a study abroad trip has been a goal of mine for a while now during my time here in UNL, since I know it is an unforgettable experience that throws you into wildly different surroundings, which makes you adapt to a new situation. During my time abroad, I’d like to make this point of contact and engage, as well as make progress with my career development. In my free time, I’m a gamer, and I like to play bass guitar on the side.

IMG_1306Kevin Brock
Ohio University
Amman, Jordan
I am a student who is passionate about learning about middle eastern culture and how Islam shapes societies in the middle east. This past semester I created and participated in a TEDx panel discussion about perceptions of Islam in America, where over 200 people attended. The middle east and Islamic studies interest me because they are often misconceived by even the most educated westerners, so I wanted to learn about these topics through an academic and cultural standpoint. I hope to one day use my knowledge of the Arabic language and understanding of Islamic culture to work in the oil-gas industry in the middle east.

IMG_1115Megan Carr
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
London, England
I have never been out of the U.S. This trip to London will be the most amazing learning experience for me to grow and become more diverse. Discovering a new culture and a new way of life. I have always had to work hard for whatever I wanted and have had to go through hardships that most 20 year olds do not have to experience. Part of the reason I am in Broadcasting is to one day become the head celebrity broadcaster on E! News. There is an E! News in London and I will be wanting to visit there during my trip. I cannot wait to become a new and improved person.

prof faceKaren Chin
University of Kansas
Shanghai, China (ISA INT)
I am an Asian American, first-generation Queer woman. I grew up in San Francisco in a predominately Asian community that catered to the model minority myth. I moved to Kansas for college with a family member to so that I can afford a 4 year University and working my way through college ever since. I hope to explore issues of health and human rights by looking at the treatment of minority and underrepresented communities. I enjoy digital media, illustrations, storytelling, and public art. I like to create spaces for people to express who they are at their fullest and create spaces for people to have discourse on the issues pertaining to themselves or their community.

Anna Cobb
University of Kansas
Amman, Jordan (ISA SL)
I grew up in Suburbs of Topeka, Kansas (aka Top-City). The best city on earth. I grew up with two brothers, who are both amazing people and both heavily impact the way I view the world. I’ve been told I’m a romanticist. I will find a way to make anything romantic, from a Sunday morning to my algebra homework. I love the outdoors, running, documentaries, human rights, going out & most importantly, my friends and the University of Kansas. I have an extreme case of wander lust, and I am hoping going to Jordan this summer will cure that wander lust.

IMG_1012Alyssa Collier
The Ohio State University
Cusco, Peru
I have always had a passion for traveling for as long as I can remember. To date, I have traveled to 11 different countries and always ready for my next adventure. And I’ve always had a passion for Spanish as I grew up speaking and learning the language since I was 8 years old. My first trip to Peru was in 2014 for a short-term study abroad program where I immediately fell in love with the country. I knew that I had to return one day to learn more about the culture and improve my Spanish speaking skills. I also hope to find the perfect ceviche, have endless pictures with llamas, and go on as many adventures as possible.

Allison Conley
Washington State University
Cusco, Peru
I currently live and attend school in Pullman, Washington- the epitome of a small college town- where I am studying to become an English/History high school teacher with a Spanish minor on the side. In my free time, I love to sing and make music, play with my dogs, spend time with my friends and family, and binge watch travel and food T.V. shows. I’ve never been outside of North America before, so I am extremely excited to experience the fascinating and gorgeous country that is Peru!

11951900_10203240951183230_9123294383340987741_nJordan Dollenger
University of Mississippi
Paris, France
My name is Jordan Dollenger, and I am a rising senior at the University of Mississippi. Upon arriving at Ole Miss, I immediately declared French as my minor, and I’ve dreamed about traveling to France ever since. This summer, my dream becomes reality! I’ll be spending 5 weeks studying abroad in the most beautiful city on earth, and I plan to visit as many new places as possible, meet as many new people as I can, and experience the French culture to the fullest of my ability, blogging along the way!

453 (3)Connor Dooley
Saint Anselm College
Cartago, Costa Rica (ISA SL)
I am a college student from Saint Anselm College going into my Senior year. As a Spanish major who very much enjoys the study of language, literature, and foreign culture, I hope to learn about all of these aspects of the Costa Rican culture. I am a rather unique individual, being the fourth oldest from a family of eight children, and a double major in Computer Science and Spanish with a minor in Web Design. I spend my time by helping others and when I am not doing that, I am usually further cultivating my talent of creative writing.

IMG_7849Kyra Flowers
Bowling Green State University
Meknes, Morocco
I am a twenty year old senior with perpetual wanderlust and an impressive collection of poignant quotes. I have traveled the world through my favorite books and always wanted to live a life of adventure, amazement, and experiences outside of words on pieces of paper. Yet, I always came up with fear-based excuses for not taking the leap. I am graduating in December and realize now that I am the one who chooses what my future looks like after college. If I want adventure, all it takes is the decision to “boldly go”. For me, it’s time to get moving.

Abaynesh Getahun
University of Colorado, Boulder
San Jose, Costa Rica
I would love to return fluent in Spanish, and have learned the ability to hold everyday conversations, as well as expand my vocabulary. I think what makes me unique, is that my family is Ethiopian. This means I’ve been accustomed to not only American culture, but Ethiopian culture as well. I love studying culture and language, this experience will fill me with knowledge and experience!

Parrot!Tyra Girdwood
University of North Carolina – Wilmington
San Jose, Costa Rica
I’m a South African Senior at UNCW juggling the formidable nursing major with a whimsical history minor. When I’m not knee deep in the pathophysiology behind loop diuretics or delving into the historical formation of Syria, one could find me trying my best at kayak water polo or practicing a surprisingly tough workout called ping pong. I also enjoy writing short stories, poems, and painting the occasional sea creature. I’m looking forward to learning about Costa Rican healthcare, experiencing the vibrant culture, scarfing down a few authentic tamales and some dulce de leche, and salsa dancing the night away!

ImageMichelle Hawkins
Mount Mary University
Valencia, Spain (ISA INT)
As an International Studies major, I am passionate about human rights and social justice, and I am very excited to complete my internship at fundacion por la justicia. In addition to learning Spanish, I also am fluent in German, and am learning Arabic. I look forward to exploring the Islamic history of Valencia and Spain this summer. I am also hoping to join an ultimate frisbee team to connect with locals.


Hannah Hock
Liberty University
London, England (ISA INT)
I am a tall blonde from Colorado who loves adventure and the outdoors. I have never been to Europe, so I am excited to experience a new culture of people, food, and experiences. I can’t wait to make new relationships and travel around London and the rest of Europe. I love reading, writing and design, playing the piano, trying new foods, and hiking. This is my first opportunity in an internship involving my major of advertising and public relations. I will be spending five of my ten weeks in London and the other five on the countryside of rural Sussex.

IMG_0206Caroline Hoffman
Elon University
Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Chile (ISA SL)
While I am abroad, I hope to improve my Spanish language skills and ability to communicate with native speakers. I am also excited to learn more about Chilean culture by living in a homestay, participating in service learning, and traveling throughout the country. I am an elementary education major and hope to become a teacher in a U.S. school with a high population of English learners. This will not be my first time studying abroad, but it will be my first time in South America. I am passionate about travel and look forward to further exploring the world this summer!

13094155_1255415887819913_7266379695958215059_nAnis Huszainey
West Virginia University
Amman, Jordan (ISA SL)
I’m currently a senior in WVU, majoring in International Studies and emphasizing my major in the Middle East and Africa. I am also minoring in Foreign Literature in Translation where I focus on translated Arabic literature. I hope my time in Amman would be spent on understanding the landscape of the Middle East in many way; historically, culturally, socially and poetically. I think my passion towards the Middle East is what makes me unique! I love reading Arabic Literature especially poems from famous poets. I love blogging that is one of my hobbies. I also love to travel and have been to 23 different countries and Jordan marks my 24th country! I guess that is what makes me unique!

IMG_1530 (1)Kathryn Ippolito
University of North Carolina Wilmington
London, England (ISA INT)
I am a film studies student, but am passionate about several art forms and enjoy going to museums as much as spending time seeing films at the cinema. Although I have studied abroad in London in the past, this time, I hope to discover more of the hidden gems of the city. I spent most of my previous visit going to touristy sites, such as Buckingham Palace, The Tower, and Piccadilly Circus. However, this summer, I would like to explore reclusive retreats in the city, such as St. Dustan-in-the-East, which is an ancient church that was destroyed from the Great Fire and turned into a garden. I would also like to travel to different areas in London that don’t really look like the regular London, such as the Kew Gardens, that features exotic plants.

Passport PhotoKristine Juranit
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
San Jose, Costa Rica (ISA SL)
I am studying to teach both English and Spanish. Some of my hobbies are doing things related to languages, cultures, and traveling. I also have a talent for reading, remember things, and writing. When I go abroad, I want to practice my Spanish, but I also want to get some practice in preparation for a possible career in teaching abroad.

FullSizeRender (5)Melissa King
Arizona State university
San Jose, Costa Rica
I am a junior in college majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications with a minor in Media Analysis. I am unique in the sense that I am a very creative and artistic person who loves everything about nature and traveling. I love trying new things whether it be adventures, foods, trips to new places, or meeting people.

Photo on 6-6-16 at 12.12 PM #5Matthew Miles
The Ohio State University
Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Chile
My name is Matthew Miles. I’m nearly 21 years old, and I’m a short-fiction writer from Dayton, Ohio. I suppose I want what most people want when going abroad–to meet people who live in a different country, with different customs and culture. While I want to recognize and comprehend the differences between cultures, I would much rather find the veins of commonalities that run through us all. I want to make sense of humanity. I want to be a part of beautiful moments.

13312713_10205989347403125_2576234004269927832_nEmily Morales
California State University, Northridge
London, England (ISA INT)
Hi, My name is Emily Morales and I am interning with ISA for 6-weeks at a London-based production company called Blink Films! I am a Senior attending California State University, Northridge majoring in Screenwriting and minoring in Business Management. There is a lot I hope to get out of my time abroad, but foremost learning the ins-and-outs of British entertainment! I like to write, hike, try new food, watch TV & movies (duh!), and of course, travel! (: I am looking forward to meeting new people and embracing and immersing the British culture. I can’t wait to be a true Londoner and share my adventures with all of you!

blog photoMorgan Munyan
Bloomsburg University
Lille, France
I love to learn new languages. I know American Sign Language, French and a little German. I hope to be able to improve my French skills while abroad and learn about the culture of France. I also hope to travel to some neighboring countries and learn some new languages while abroad! During my free time I enjoy playing the guitar, singing and cooking. I love the theatre and I once played Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. My favorite animal is the Siberian husky, which also happens to be my school’s mascot. I have a collection of over sixty husky items!

13244829_10206321325376740_4238593031640573059_nBari Pearlman
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Rome, Italy
I fell in love with traveling the moment I stepped off my first international flight (England) and haven’t been able to get rid of my wanderlust since. Traveling to Rome marks my first international trip alone and the beginning of the quest to have as many passports as I can and a map full of pins. As an ADPR major, I have a love of stringing words together to get people thinking and talking and have taken to blogging to express all of the crazy thoughts that go through my head. I can’t wait to try all of the food, visit all of the museums, meet all the amazing people, and really experience the culture of Rome. I consider myself an amateur photographer, bookworm, art nut, food enthusiast, classic movie lover, and an adventurer.

ISa BlogNatasha Pineiros
The College of New Jersey
Salamanca, Spain
I grew up in Quito, Ecuador until the age of 13 when my family and I moved to the United States. After living in California, we moved to New Jersey, and have been on the move ever since. After graduating high school, I attended a community college where I found love for higher education, culture, and diversity. Having traveled to 8 states, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador, adding Spain to my traveling repertoire will be an honor. In Spain I am hoping to perfect my Spanish and nourish my curiosity for the ambiguous.

IMG_20160413_162214Taylor Rawls
University of Richmond
Valencia, Spain (ISA INT)
I am a complete lover of music and can find good music wherever I go, including concerts, street performances, and even karaoke bars (which is, granted, not always good music, but is still fun). I’m also a big reader and do my best to find a bookstore in every city I go to, even if I don’t actually buy a book. I speak four languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, and American Sign Language, and I love learning about new languages and cultures. I just want to learn (and experience) as much as I can about Spanish and Valencian culture.

IMG_6179Stephania Rengifo
William Paterson University
Florianopolis, Brazil
I am marketing and global business student at William Paterson University in New Jersey. I was born in Colombia and moved to the US when I was 12 years old. Once I moved to the US, I realized that there is so much more than my native country’s culture. I learned to be tolerant and appreciate the beauty of other cultures. I look forward to meeting the locals in Florianopolis and my classmates, and I hope to learn about them, share memories and come back to the US with lifetime friends.

20160608_111938 (1)Celina Semente
Montclair State University
Florence, Italy
I am currently a student at Montclair State University. Although I have traveled to several countries, visiting Italy has always been a dream of mine. Being able to immerse myself in this culture for 6 weeks is unbelievable and I cannot wait to start my journey in less than one month. From my time abroad, I wish to have as many cultural experiences as I can! During my down time, I enjoy hiking, yoga, or anything outdoors. Reading is also one of my favorite hobbies. If I am not doing any of these, you can catch me cooking or baking.

photoblogCatherine Anne Shackelford
University of Arkansas
Thessaloniki, Greece
I’m an adventure-seeker who is constantly inspired by the world and different cultures. I love learning new things (piano, languages, cultures, sports, etc.). I typically enjoy challenging settings that stretch me as a person, especially if it means that I can grow as a person. I’d like to say that I am not someone who fits into a neat little box. I’m a range of things that make me outgoing and yet introverted, adventurous and yet a homebody, a writer but also a speaker. Creativity is perhaps the driving force that leads me to desire a range of things. I am excited to love, explore, and learn. And documenting those things through writing would be an incredible opportunity.

IMG_0104Kelsey Sims
University of Mississippi
Granada, Spain
My name is Kelsey Sims and I’m a rising senior at the University of Mississippi. This summer I am studying abroad in Granada in order to finish up my Spanish minor, as well as be immersed in the Spanish culture. Back home, I am a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, president of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and a writer for the Daily Mississippian, our school’s newspaper. Other than that, I enjoy the little things in life such as dancing, singing, playing indoor and outdoor games, watching baseball, and exploring new places (even if that is simply a new way to get from one class to another). I can’t wait to begin my adventures abroad in Granada.

isa blog picLeticia Siqueiros
Benedictine University
Madrid, Spain
I am Hispanic and although I am mostly Mexican, I have roots in Spain! I hope to visit the land of my ancestors while improving in the language along with knowledge of the Spanish culture. Even though I have been taking Spanish courses for years and speak it consistently, I want to truly perfect the language and make my family proud. I love writing constantly, whether it is writing stories, conducting research for a psychology course, or updating someone on my newest adventures in life. Some of my favorite hobbies are playing the piano, playing with my dogs, singing, and writing.

20160401_164428Ayanna Soaries
SUNY Purchase
Seoul, South Korea
As a black college student from Brooklyn, I never really had a lot of opportunities to go outside of the country due to multiple reasons (money, time constraints, etc) and honestly being able to study abroad in South Korea is an absolute dream come true for me. I’m studying to be a graphic designer and I want to use my skills to communicate ideas that can be seen all over the world. I also enjoy long walks on the beach, writing and telling stories, and cooking homemade meals.




Nikki Springer
Iowa State University
Shanghai, China (ISA INT)
I have always had a passion for travel ever since I was a younger kid. I was able to have some really amazing opportunities in high school to travel, and after that I was changed. When I started college I had no really clear direction of the path that I wanted to take. But once I started taking some classes that I was really interested in, I knew what I wanted to pursue. I came across adoption studies in one of my Human Development classes and become extremely interested, and it is now a goal of mine to become an international adoption agent after I graduate. Being that I love to travel, the Fall of my Sophomore year I decided to do a study abroad with ISA to Chengdu, China. I had the best experiences and made some life long friends. And I can not wait to go back to China in less than a month!

HeadshotKelsey Thayer
Central Michigan University
Santiago, Dominican Republic
Hello! I am Kelsey Thayer. I am a student at Central Michigan University studying abroad in the Dominican Republic. I want to learn more about the culture of the Dominican and perfect by Spanish speaking. I love to travel and have been to both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico before, along with about ten road trips across the United States. I love learning more about the different cultures that I wouldn’t see at home.

hsaDavid Thomas
University of Arkansas Fayetteville
Beppu, Japan
I’m a senior at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, studying Journalism and Japanese. I spend way too much time reading articles on the internet, so I’d just like to do my part. I’m going to pack as much exploring as I can manage into my time in Japan, and pick up some closer understanding of the language and culture.

DSC_0307Sydne Tursky
University of Arkansas
Paris, France
A Southern girl with a passion for big cities, long naps and endless travel, I often laugh at my own jokes and get overly enthusiastic about very insignificant things. I also spend a vast majority of my time writing, reading and baking my acclaimed snickerdoodles. I feel so privileged to study abroad and explore the world by actually living in new cities, instead of just experiencing a few days there. While I am in Paris this summer, I hope to improve my French language skills and fully integrate into the Parisian lifestyle by living in a homestay.

Versión 2Savannah Vance
Grand Valley State University
Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Chile (ISA SL)
I am a student at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan studying speech-language pathology. I am in love with the idea of traveling but I have never been outside of the United States until now! I love to volunteer and help animals because, to me, they are just as important as people and deserve all the love and care in the world. My hobbies include leisurely swimming, hiking, and spending time with the people I care about most, my friends and family, and of course my beautiful dogs, Marley and Winnie! I try to see the best in people and always laugh even when times get tough. Life is too short and one might as well enjoy it in the best way possible by being human: laughing, crying, and living life to the fullest, in whichever way that makes you the happiest.

Molly Vossler
University of Florida
Barcelona, Spain
What do I hope to get out of my time abroad? Primarily a tall, dark and obviously handsome Spanish artist whose appearance is indecipherable from that of Javier Bardem in Vicky Christina Barcelona. And if for some reason a dangerously steamy romance with a fictional character isn’t possible this summer, a bit of perspective – and a lot of food – would be nice too. I think meeting new people (Javier Bardem’s identical twin) and trying new things (perhaps a nude beach or a run with the bulls) will pop the bubble I’ve been sitting in for nineteen-and-a-half years.

IMG_0117 (1)Sean Walston
The Ohio State University
Seoul, South Korea
My name is Sean Walston. I’m a sophomore at The Ohio State University majoring in Marketing and Korean who will be traveling to South Korea for the first time since being born in Daegu. I was adopted by an American family before my first birthday, limiting my exposure to my native culture and language. While abroad in Korea, I aim to immerse myself in the Korean lifestyle in order to gain a better understanding of Korea and its people.

IMG_20151020_232122208Carly Wormmeester
Grand Valley State
Santiago, Dominican Republic (ISA SL)
I am an ambitious and imaginative 20yr old from Grand Rapids, Michigan. My passions include social justice, the color purple and cats. This summer I will be traveling overseas for the first time! The idea of studying abroad intrigued me because I am endlessly curious about other people and the way they live. During my time abroad, I expect to learn valuable life lessons through a series of embarrassing American tourist blunders. More importantly, I hope to foster new friendships and expand my cultural awareness.

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Lily Zirlin
University of Pennsylvania
Salamanca, Spain
Since 5th grade, I’ve traveled and explored new lands every summer. These past two summers, I’ve found myself in Northern India, backpacking the Himalayas, living with host families, and learning about Buddhism. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about throwing myself into the unknown that keeps me adventuring. Maybe it’s the meaningful connections I make abroad, the overwhelming kindness I find, or just plain excitement, I can’t choose. But I do know that during my summer in Spain, I will make lasting friendships, try new things, and indulge in my love for the language. ¡Adios!