Spring 2019

Former Featured Bloggers: Spring 2019

Lauren Ahern
Eastern Michigan University
Bilbao, Spain (Castañeda Scholarship Winner)
Hi all! I’m a Michigander majoring in English and minoring in TESOL at Eastern Michigan University. I thought Bilbao, Spain would be the perfect place to drop myself into even though I have no Spanish language skills whatsoever. Although at times it’s nerve-racking, I’m really excited to explore a beautiful country filled with history and culture and see what kinds of (mis)adventures I get myself into. By the end of my study abroad trip, I hope to have a better understanding of myself, the culture, and the language, and I’m so excited to share those stories with you all!

Lea Rose Allbaugh
University of North Carolina – Charlotte
Florence, Italy (Castañeda Scholarship Winner)
Ciao from Florence, Italy! Four years ago I caught the travel bug and have been obsessed with wandering and adventuring the planet as much as I can. I am currently a junior Communications Studies and Dance Performance double major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I have taken Italian classes for the past two years and am hoping this experience will strengthen my speaking skills and better immerse me into the culture. While abroad I hope to travel as much as I can, meet new people, and find my niche in another country. I have always loved to write and take photos and am looking forward to using this blog to capture life abroad!

Alexander Azar
Clark University
Leuven, Belgium (EuroScholars)
I am originally from Lincoln, Rhode Island. I am currently studying American Elections and Law at Clark University. Traveling to Belgium will be the first time I’ll be away from North America and I hope to learn about how numerous cultures can coexist with one another. My families’ background in education has given me a unique opportunity to understand how to relate to a diverse group of people and exchange new ideas. My favorite pastimes include reading history, writing stories and watching stand-up comedy to improve my biting sarcasm.

Shea Balden
St. Edward’s University
Barcelona, Spain

Gabriella Bancheri
Stockton University
Dublin, Ireland
Hello, all. Since you’re probably dying to know, I’m a literature major with minors in writing and philosophy at Stockton University. My hobbies include making awkward situations awkward-er and showing up to anywhere I go with a coffee stain on my shirt. If I’m not filling my body with unreasonable amounts of caffeine, I’m probably chuckling to myself as I make a to-do list of things I know I won’t actually do. As I embark on the journey I’ve been dreaming about for years, I’m ready to ditch those lists and plunge into an adventure of a lifetime.

Emily Berry
McKendree University
Sevilla, Spain (Castañeda Scholarship Winner)
Spring semester of 2019, I will be in Sevilla, Spain. I look forward to seeing Spain (and more), meeting new people, and learning as much as possible! I am a third year student at McKendree University, studying Spanish and Psychology in southern Illinois- across the Mississippi River from one of my favorite cities, St. Louis. My love for cooking, exercising, and education is immense. I am so happy to make cultural exchanges and to see the great works of positivity.

Caroline Cannon
University of Alabama
Sydney, Australia (Diversity Scholarship Winner)
G’day Mate! My name is Caroline Cannon, and I am Computer Science major and Math minor at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). I am very adventurous and love to travel. I also love the beach, swimming, and basically anything summer related. So, it is no surprise that I chose to study in Sydney, Australia for a semester. I am really looking forward to learning how to surf, feeding kangaroos, scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, and exploring the outback. I can’t wait to see all of what Australia has in store for me.

Jenia Cunningham
Mount Mary University
Sevilla, Spain
Hi! I’m Jenia, an easy breezy Caribbean girl enrolled at Mount Mary University in Wisconsin, USA. I am a student of the universe, so I live for chasing after opportunities to learn and challenge my own perspectives. I am in constant awe of God’s work manifested in the beauty of the earth, so I love spending time outside surrounded by trees and hugged by the warmth of the sun. I am thoroughly fascinated by the intricacies of the human experience, so I am very excited to explore Seville, Spain and scribe all the lessons this study abroad will teach me.

Despina Fergadakis
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Athens: Greece
Greek American student studying in Athens! I am a Marketing student from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I hope to gain a stronger connection to my heritage and explore all Athens has to offer. Follow me for a taste of unique Mediterranean cuisine and the traditional customs celebrated during Greek Orthodox Easter.

Darby Fugitt
Baker University
Malaga, Spain
Hi! My name is Darby and I’m from Kansas City. I’m a senior studying Psychology and Spanish and have plans to go to graduate school for clinical psychology. As this is my first time in Europe, I am eager to experience the culture and meet the natives. My lifelong dream is to travel the world, so this semester will be a great way to get started on that. I am also hoping that I will get the chance to learn more about myself along with the cities I visit. I can’t wait to share what I learn with you!

Megan Grenier
Saint Anselm College
Sevilla, Spain
Hi, I’m Megan! I’m a junior Communication Major and Spanish Minor at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. I’m studying at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Sevilla, España. I’m hoping to travel as much as possible, immerse myself in new cultures and meet new people! ¡Deséame suerte!

Amanda Hagy
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Dublin, Ireland (ISA Internships)
I am a transfer student, part-time server, Australian study abroad student, aspiring journalist, young social activist, and now an Intern in Dublin, Ireland. Growing up in Northern Virginia ten minutes outside of DC I have been exposed to diversity in all areas of my life. Through direct exposure to many different perspectives and mixed backgrounds, I have grown up inherently inquisitive. What makes me unique is that I have not only not had a normal upbringing, but I have had a mix of the best and worst time the last four years. While setbacks have been a constant within the last few years, it has enabled me to find positive outcomes from once seemingly unpassable roadblocks. My hobbies include traveling, running, and always looking to try something new such as cooking recipes, adrenaline activities such as skydiving, and DIY projects. I believe the world is an endless oasis that can be what you make of it. There are never enough words to document all the adventures from the islands of Fiji to bonfires on North Carolinas beaches with lifelong friends.

Rachel Hughes
University of Colorado at Boulder
Gold Coast, Australia
My name is Rachel Hughes, and I am a junior at CU Boulder. I am studying psychology and film. Never having been to this region of the world before, I am so excited to push myself to try new things and meet new people. I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity given to me, because who knows when I will get the chance to again. I hope to gain everything I can from my time in Australia, from learning how to surf to going to school with people I never would have met otherwise.

Lani In
The University of North Texas
Brisbane, Australia

Kirsten Jones
Bowling Green State University
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
I am a junior at Bowling Green State University studying Biology with a specialization in Ecology and Conservation. I am passionate about working with animals and learning more about conservation projects. While studying abroad, I hope that I can see world issues and topics through another perspective. The last time I lived a long way from home was when I worked for the Walt Disney World Company in Florida. I am excited to see where this new adventure will take me!

Ainsley Kelso
University of Tennessee Knoxville
Sydney, Australia (WorldStrides ISA CP / ISA Internships)
This Spring 2019, I am studying abroad in Sydney, Australia through the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. I am majoring in journalism and electronic media and minoring in English. Writing has been my one true passion since a young age and is one of the driving factors of me going abroad. Primarily, I want to draw writing inspiration from the people I meet and the places I go in order to strengthen my skills as a writer. One fun fact about me is that I have been to well over 20 concerts and seen more than 50 different artists/bands.

Alayna Knarian
Grand Valley State University
Cusco, Peru
I’m Layna – a sophomore at Grand Valley State University in Michigan studying Nonprofit Administration with minors in Accounting and Spanish. I love adventure and am a total adrenaline junkie. Although I’ll miss my dog while I’m abroad, I’m very excited to go to Peru because I love Latin American culture and practicing my Spanish-speaking skills.

Erin Kurth
Michigan State University
Leiden, The Netherlands (EuroScholars)
I’m a third year student at MSU studying pursuing Psychology and Anthropology degrees and a minor in Cognitive Science. I’m fascinated by understanding behavior from both cognitive and cultural perspectives, and am very excited to be doing research with the Psychology department of Leiden University. I’m very artistic, and enjoy drawing, painting, music, and theater. In addition to doing research abroad, I’m ready to visit as many museums as I can, begin learning the Dutch language, and use these six months to experience the Netherlands as a student there.

Miranda Lipton
The Ohio State University
Barcelona, Spain
Hello! My name is Miranda, and I am a junior at Ohio State. I am a journalism major and am minoring in Spanish and Political Science. I am so excited for my upcoming semester in Barcelona. I’m hoping to improve my language skills while exploring a different culture and traveling as most as I possibly can! When people have asked me what I want to be when I grow up, I have said a travel writer for as long as I can remember. I look forward to the opportunity to make that dream a reality in these next few months!

Katie Mitchell
Colorado State University Fort Collins
Meknes, Morocco
Katie is jazzed about building community and preferably building it outside. After traveling through Peru, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Belize in the past few years, building empathy and communication with new groups of people in new places has become addictive for her. Now studying journalism and women’s studies at Colorado State University, she gets to research her favorite topic, storytelling, while soaking up the sunshine in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. While in Morocco, she looks forward to attempting to learn the Arabic and French languages, trying to find climbing spots outside of town, and making connections with people around the world.

Maya Morales
University of Colorado at Boulder
San Jose, Costa Rica (Castañeda Scholarship Winner)

Jordan Morrison
Cal Poly Pomona
Florence, Italy
Hello my name is Jordan Morrison and I am from San Diego, California. I am currently a junior at Cal Poly Pomona studying graphic design and minoring in marketing. Since I am from a small beach town I always knew I wanted to see the world and study abroad. During my time abroad I hope to experience art, culture, and adventures in different cities, countries, people, and friends. I hope to get out of my comfort zone and be as adventurous as possible, while taking in how different cultures approach art and design.

Julian Nazar
Soka University of America
Granada, Spain
For as long as I can remember, I have loved playing the game of soccer. This strong passion for the game led me to play soccer in college. In addition, since my early school years, I have enjoyed composing creative pieces and experimenting with my writing. Lastly, I find political issues occurring both domestically and internationally to be fascinating. Through this study abroad program, I am looking forward to learning about the political topics that define Spanish society. In general, I hope to gain a fresh perspective on global affairs.

Lydia Needham
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
San Jose, Costa Rica
I am a country girl from southeast Nebraska. I was homeschooled all the way through high school and now attend classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I love playing guitar and listening to music. I am beyond excited for this program! I hope to be able to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for a culture that is not my own and be able to speak the language more fluently. Above all, I look forward to the amazing opportunity to see more of the world!

Elizabeth Olmstead
The College of Saint Rose
Galway, Ireland
Welcome to my blog! I’m Liz Olmstead and I’m about to travel to Galway, Ireland to spend a semester abroad! I am from Cooperstown, NY. It’s a small town known for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Growing up in a small town was great, but it also made me yearn to travel. I chose to study abroad in Ireland because of my heritage, love of culture, and rainy days. I would love to learn about the history of Ireland. I love music, art and history. I am an extreme extrovert and love to meet new people and make new friends.

Katie Romanovich
California Lutheran University
Barcelona, Spain (Castañeda Scholarship Winner)
Hello! I attend California Lutheran University and am studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain! While abroad, I hope to make lifelong friends and embark on once-in-a-lifetime adventures in not just Spain, but other countries as well! I’m beyond excited to explore the beautiful art and architecture around Barcelona and immerse myself in the livelihood of the culture. Also, I am an avid music lover and hope to attend many concerts and festivals around Europe. As a film major, I enjoy capturing moments through both photographic and cinematic mediums, and I’m thrilled to be able to share my memories with the world through my blogs!

Zach Smith
University of Alabama
Rome, Italy
Hello! I am a junior at the University of Alabama, currently pursuing an English major and Creative Writing/Interdisciplinary Linguistics minors. As a literature/history nerd, I cannot wait to begin exploring the different sights, sounds, and flavors of Italy. I plan on using my experiences to begin work on a long-form creative thesis. Outside of my work, I love to hike, run, and swim. Additionally, I am an avid eater and lover of desserts. I look forward to traveling throughout Europe and creating something beautiful as a result!

Lauren Stebbings
Arizona State University
Barcelona, Spain
I am a Sophomore studying Global Logistics Management and International Business at Arizona State University. I was born and raised in Arizona, however, I LOVE getting out of the Arizona heat to travel. I visited Europe once; Paris for a vacation, but that still didn’t feed my hunger for travel. So I decided to take a leap of faith and bought a ticket to Barcelona, Spain where I am currently studying for four months. I am SO excited to share my crazy stories about travels, the language barrier, the people I have the pleasure of meeting, and of course the paella!

Alixandra Van Sciver
Stockton University
Lima, Peru
For starters, my name is Alixandra Van Sciver and yes, I spell my name differently. That’s something that I have always loved, even when people get it wrong. It sets me apart, before people even know my personality. I strive to be what my parents intended with my name; to be different. I come from a family of 5: Mom, Dad, sister and brother. Couple pets, too! My family is Italian-American. Through my abroad trip, my main goal is to take away culture, experience and expand my horizons in order to bring home knowledge to give to others.

Shalyn Vukich
Saint Vincent College
Sevilla, Spain
Hey, I’m Shalyn. I’m currently a junior at Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania where I’m pursuing a double major in Spanish and Communication. I couldn’t be more excited to spend this semester in Sevilla, Spain where I hope to learn more about the culture and myself each day. Spanish is usually my special skill that makes me stand out, but in Spain I’m hoping it will help me blend in! Bring on the culture shock because I’m ready for my next adventure!

Grace Wallin
Augustana University
Sevilla, Spain
My name is Grace Wallin and I am studying abroad in Seville, Spain for five months through ISA. I am from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where the open sky and the endless prairie gave me room to grow but also a yearning to experience the bustling chaos of other places. Traveling has been a staple of my life and really the inspiration for its direction– writing and photographing the stories and places I come across. I am studying English, Journalism and Spanish at Augustana University to be able to do this. In my free time I enjoy reading, doing anything outdoors, and antiquing (I have an affinity for old treasures). While abroad I hope to be immersed completely in a culture different from my own and grow through the stories I hear and attempt to tell.

Danielle Wehrle
The Ohio State University
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hello! I’m Danielle and I am student at The Ohio State University. As a passionate (and nerdy) lover of linguistics, I am thrilled to spend a semester in Buenos Aires learning the intriguing porteño accent. Growing up on a sheep farm in the Buckeye state left me with an appreciation of home and a desire to explore new cities and cultures. In my free time I can be found crafting, cooking, exploring coffee shops, and attending concerts. and Here’s to trying new things, making memories, and sharing my experiences with you!

Tyra Williams
University of Arkansas- Fayetteville
Sydney, Australia (ISA Internships)

Katie Zerkle
Grand Valley State University
Malaga, Spain
Hola! My name is Katie Zerkle and I am studying abroad in Malaga from January-April! I am a pre-physician assistant student with a minor in Spanish. Someday I hope to work with under-served populations, utilizing both my knowledge of Spanish and medicine. In addition to taking classes here in Malaga, I will be interning at a local hospital with various doctors within all specialties to enhance my medical Spanish and patient interaction. I am both excited and honored to have this experience and to share it with the world!