Insights from Education Abroad Alumni

Education Abroad Alumni (EAA) are Quinnipiac students who have a recent education abroad experience. If you need information about a particular country, program or have concerns about traveling to a new place, feel free to contact an EAA.

mccarthy

Name: Annamaria McCarthy
Major: Sociology; Spanish minor; elementary education - MAT
Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy

Why study in Italy?
I studied in Florence, Italy, because I come from an Italian background and I have always been interested in my country's heritage and culture. Florence is the perfect city because it is not too small but not too large and the adjustment was very easy. It is a city filled with many cultural opportunities. It is also in a great location in Europe that makes it easy to travel all across the country.

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
The most non-American thing that I did abroad would either be walking everywhere or living without a dryer, microwave and toaster.  You never know how much you use those things until you can't use them anymore!

Favorite daily activity?
My favorite daily activity was walking to class.  It was a 20-minute walk every day and I got to pass the Duomo and cross the Ponte Vecchio. It was a beautiful route and it's probably one of the things I miss the most.

Other travel experiences?
I was lucky enough to travel to eight different countries: England, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, and France, as well as many other cities in Italy.  My favorite (besides Florence of course) was either Munich, Germany, or Barcelona, Spain.

Fun fact from your study abroad?
It was my first time out of the country and my first time on a plane by myself! I was terrified at this idea first but it remains to be the best decision I have ever made.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
'La dolce vita' - The sweet life, or the good life... because that's exactly what it was!

Favorite site visited?
It's hard to choose just one - but it would either be the beaches of Corfu, Greece or the Colosseum in Rome.

How has study abroad impacted your life?
Study abroad has impacted my life in many ways.  I have grown to be a more independent person. I have learned much about myself and the world in which I am a part of. Being a part of a different culture for so long was definitely eye opening, and an amazing experience all together.

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
The most unusual thing I did abroad was definitely being a part of traveling and staying in hostels. We would stay in a room with up to 20 people, co-ed, and mostly strangers!  It was a much different lifestyle than what we're used to back in America when staying in hotels.

Best piece of advice?
Travel as much as you can and cherish every single second!  It's over before you know it and you'll be dying to go back as soon as you leave!

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
When I was abroad, I volunteered in a kindergarten classroom.  I taught the students how to speak English. It was an extremely rewarding experience and I would recommend getting involved in any volunteer opportunities to any study abroad students.


quinn

Name: Brianna Quinn
Major: Public relations, political science minor
Study Abroad Location: Cork, Ireland - University College Cork

Why study in Cork, Ireland?
After a while, living and studying in Cork truly felt like home. Cork is a wonderful small city, even if it is the second largest in the country. The Irish people are so friendly and kind, and there is such a rich culture and history to explore. I made friendships with people in Ireland that will last a lifetime.

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
Learned how to Céilí dance while touring the Ring of Kerry

Favorite daily activity?
Having a cup of tea among friends.

Other travel experiences?
Every weekend or I would try to get to a different place in Ireland, like Dublin, Galway and Kerry. During our month off for Easter break, I made it to Spain, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.

Fun fact from your study abroad?
While I was in Ireland, it was the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The ship's last port of call before setting out to the Atlantic was Cobh, Cork Harbor, just a short bus ride away from Cork City. Cobh is a lovely city on the water and certainly a site worth seeing.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
"What's the craic?!"

Favorite site visited?
The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

How has study abroad impacted your life?
I think I have become more mature because I studied abroad. I feel like a real adult now because I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of accomplishing. I've become a more outgoing person, and I'm not afraid to try new things, to go someplace foreign or getting out of my general comfort zone.

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
Toured the old Cork City Gaol, getting all too familiar with the inside of a jail cell.

Best piece of advice? Keep calm and just do it! Let go of the inhibitions that hold you back, because studying abroad happens once in a lifetime, so take advantage of every opportunity.

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
Walking to and from the city center, exploring the area, learning to cook for ourselves and visiting with friends were all regular activities.  The newly renovated Mardyke Arena is an amazing gym, free of charge to students, with plenty of machines, classes and a pool. The UCC International Students Society is good to be involved with too, because they hosted a bunch of cool events to get to know people and enjoy all that Cork has to offer.


robinson

Name: Tucker Robinson
Major: Marketing
Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy

Why study in Florence?
The food is amazing. The city is beautiful. The city is also small and easy to navigate. There are many attractions: The David, The Florence Cathedral, the Uffizi. The city is quaint; for example, cobblestone streets, laundry lines of clothing, and lots of bikers. The people are very friendly and will remember you if you visit their shops. It's in a close proximity to many other great travel destinations in Europe. There is a great night life, lots of good stores, and awesome restaurants.

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
Ate wild boar with Chianti for lunch in Siena after Italian class at 1 p.m.

Favorite daily activity?
I loved my walk to school. I would walk right past the golden view cafe and the Ponte Vecchio, and then have a cappuccino and a pastry before heading to my history of the Italian mafia class.

Other travel experiences?
I traveled to London, Siena, Florence, Venice, Rome, Vatican City, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Corfu, Athens, Barcelona, and Munich, and every city had unique competencies that made them amazing. I spent days bike riding through Barcelona, going on beer walking tours in Munich, eating 10-course meals in Athens, touring the Coliseum in Rome and much more. 

Fun fact from your study abroad?
I made about 20 very tight friends, and have since seen most of them on multiple occasions.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
Vorrei un panino con prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, e pesto. I found a café that I loved and ordered this sandwich all the time. It's probably the thing I said most in Italian.

Favorite site visited?
Pizzalle Michelangelo in Florence was my favorite site. It is on a hill which overlooks all of Florence. Sometimes I would enjoy the view by myself after a run, and other times I would enjoy it with friends and a bottle of wine.

How has study abroad impacted your life?
Besides providing me with priceless friends and memories, it made me realize how small the world is, and how different places are from one another, even if they are close together. Ultimately, going abroad turned me into a traveler, and I don't think that's ever going to go away.

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
The most unusual moment was definitely as I was eating in a Greek restaurant in Athens and a protest arose outside. There was no violence where we were, but it was very interesting to observe people and speak with some of the locals about what was going on.

Best piece of advice?
Start researching and planning your travels before you even leave. You will be surprised at how prepared people are to hit the ground running with that stuff.

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
I went on field art gallery tours, museum tours, and walking tours, enjoyed cooking classes, wine tastings, and went to soccer games. My favorite activity, however, was aimlessly exploring the cities with friends.


walls

Name: Stephanie Walls
Major: Film, Video + Interactive Media
Study Abroad Location(s): lived in Antibes, France & studied in Sophia Antipolis, France

Why study in France?
I have always had a love of the French culture and language, and that love was a major factor in why I wanted to study in France. I chose the south of France as opposed to Paris because after visiting both regions, I preferred the south. Also, I felt I would get a more authentic experience from living in a region where people spoke less English. 

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
Ate galette des rois "king's cake", which is eaten in celebration of the day on which the three kings paid tribute to Jesus's birth (a few weeks after Christmas). Inside the cake, there's a small trinket, and whoever receives the piece with the trinket is "king" for the day and gets to wear a crown. Sadly, despite eating the cake numerous times, I never got the trinket. 

Favorite daily activity?
Walking around Antibes and being able to overlook both the French Alps and the Mediterranean Sea.

Other travel experiences?
Brussels and Brugges (Belgium); Zurich, Lucerne, Üetliberg, and Basel (Switzerland); Milan, Ventimiglia, San Remo, Dolceacqua, Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, Atrani (Italy), London, Liverpool,(England); plus all over the south/some other parts of France.

Fun fact from your study abroad?
 I got to intern at the Cannes Film Festival through my study abroad program. The film festival is known throughout the world, and it was a great experience for me to have as a film major. I also got to see tons of movie stars - Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Nicole Kidman! 

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
Oui c'est ça (Yes, that's right.) Simple, but useful. It was also frequently used among my friends as kind of a joke.

Favorite site visited?
Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, France (where they filmed the movie Chocolat)

How has study abroad impacted your life?
Studying abroad impacted my life in so many ways. Not only did I get to make great friends from all over the country and the world, but I got to experience living within another culture for five months. Studying abroad made me more open-minded in regards to food, music, art, other countries as well as the U.S. 

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
At the end of February/beginning of March, there was a citrus festival in Menton, France. I went to one of the exhibitions in celebration of the festival, which had famous landmarks and other scenes built out of lemons and oranges. They also had fresh-squeezed lemonade, crepes with Grand Marnier, and as many citrus products.

Best piece of advice?
Do things that scare you or that you wouldn't normally do. You'll most likely only get one study abroad experience, so make the most of it. Take chances. Come back with no regrets.

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
While abroad, I got more interested in cooking. I also participated in something called the Buddy System, which paired international students with a French buddy so we could learn from each other.


creegan

Name: Matthew Creegan
Major: Spanish & broadcast journalism
Study Abroad Location: Argentina

Why study in Argentina?
I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, because I've heard so much about it, but never knew anyone who had been there. At first it was a little intimidating to go all the way down to South America by myself, but I was quickly able make strong friendships and call the city home.

Most unusual thing I did abroad?
A pretty unusual thing I did while I was abroad was to get a job working as a conductor for the Buenos Aires Pub Crawl. Most nights I would guide anywhere from ten to over 100 people around Buenos Aires on a tour of the city's nightlife. It might have been an unconventional way of getting to know the city but through that experience I met and worked with some of the most interesting people from all over the world and had the opportunity to experience the city with a whole new set of eyes.

Best piece of advice?
The best piece of advice that I could give to anyone who is thinking about studying abroad is to push themselves. The one thing that I saw other Americans do abroad over and over again was limit themselves by staying in their comfort zones. It's hard at first, but ultimately the best thing people can do is to step out of their comfort zone and avoid a routine.


Boudreau

Name: Catherine Boudreau
Major: Print Journalism
Study Abroad Location: Madrid, Spain

Why study in Madrid?
Madrid is a beautiful city with so many amazing things to offer. Each neighborhood is unique and showcases different aspects of Spanish life and history. Whatever your interests are, there is always something fun to do to accommodate that. Whether it's fashion, art, sports, music or simply having a good time. Also, the people in this city are so much fun and I couldn't have imagined studying anywhere else. Most "non-American" thing I did? A large part of Spanish culture is the bullfight. While it is more popular in the South of Spain, Madrid has a beautiful stadium to watch the match. I can't say I would go again, for it was pretty gruesome, but as a cultural experience I was happy I went.

Favorite daily activity?
My favorite part about living in Madrid was just taking daily walks around various neighborhoods. So many cute cafes, stores and sights are scattered all over the city. To experience Madrid, you really have to walk around just like every other Madrileno.

Other travel experiences?
I traveled to a lot of different places, like all over the south of Spain as well as Barcelona. I went to Venice, Rome and Cinque Terre, Italy. I went to Eastern Europe to the cities of Prague, Vienna and Budapest. I also went to Dublin and Cork, Ireland, Amsterdam and finally Marrakech, Morocco. Because getting around Europe is relatively inexpensive, I was able to see a lot. People are always willing to help you out, as well, which made my travel experiences that much more enjoyable.

Fun fact?
In Spain the nightlife and meal schedules are completely different from America. People go out really late and party until dawn. My friends and I sometimes wouldn't leave until 2 a.m. and usually clubs do not even get packed until 3 a.m. Also, Madrilenos don't really eat much of a breakfast, then eat a huge lunch at 2 p.m., and don't eat dinner until maybe 8 or 9 p.m.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
Tiquis miquis, which means picky eater. It's really fun to say!

Favorite sight visited?
I loved Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. It features modern art from Picasso, Dali and Miro.

How did study abroad impact your life? I completely changed after being abroad, but in a good way. I became more independent, but more importantly realized how by only seeing these places you hear about could someone begin to grasp a new perspective on life.

Most unusual thing I did abroad?
When I went to Marrakech, I drank orange juice right off the street from vendors for 25 cents! I don't know if I would do that anywhere else. But it was so fresh and delicious!

Best piece of advice?
Take chances (within reason) and keep an open mind. By doing things you wouldn't normally do, you can learn so much.


mckersie

Name: Sara McKersie 
Major: Industrial Organizational Psychology 
Study Abroad Location: Townsville, Australia

Why study in Australia?
Studying abroad in Australia gives students access to an entirely different lifestyle, looking at the world in a completely new way. The warm climate, friendly people and laid back lifestyle leaves students wanting to stay forever.

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
I'd have to say traveling and staying in hostels. Bunking up in dorm room type hostels is very common across Australia and a great way to meet new people and hear some amazing stories.

Favorite daily activity?
Most days my friends and I would grab these huge inner tubes and head down to the river behind our dorm. We'd spend the afternoon floating down the river or diving off the near by trees.

Other travel experiences?
I had the opportunity to go to Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns Australia as well as Bali, Indonesia.

Fun fact from your study abroad? Even though Australians speak English, a lot of words are different. The language barrier lead to some really funny misunderstandings.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
"No Worries" was by far my favorite saying because it really summarized the Australian way of life. I also loved "She be right" which means everything will be okay. Favorite site visited - I loved Bali, it was absolutely gorgeous and the people were so friendly. I met so many new people at the hostel I stayed at, shopped in numerous outdoor markets and enjoyed long meals with the locals.

How has study abroad impacted your life?
Studying abroad in Australia has completely changed my life. It may seem cliché but I look at things from such a different point of view now. The world seems so much more accessible, I feel like I have so many more options as well as the confidence and independence to pursue them.

Most unusual thing you did abroad
I ate kangaroo the first week I was there!

Best piece of advice?
Enter any study abroad experience with an open mind and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. You have a semester vacation from the "real world" so take every opportunity presented and appreciate every second you have.

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
I played volleyball within my dorm and did a lot of floating on an inner tube! Other than that I did a ton of traveling and just enjoyed meeting new people and learning about the Australian ways of life.


moffa

Name: Nicole Moffa
Major: Sociology and Psychology
Study Abroad Location: Townsville, Queenland Australia

Why study in Australia?
Studying in Australia is a fantastic experience that gives a student a better understanding of themselves. Their laid back, carefree lifestyle is one that makes a study abroad experience memorable and unique.

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
Eat kangaroo. The meat was extremely tasty and something most Americans would have never tasted.

Favorite daily activity?
One of my favorite daily activities was going for a run with my best friend through the rainforest.  The environment was so different to that of America and is a memory I will always remember.

Other travel experiences?
I traveled to Sydney, Mission Beach, Innisfail, Brisbane, Trinity Beach, Cairns, Fraiser Island and the Whitsunday Islands.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
"No worries" and "catch ya" are two of my favorite phrases I learned abroad.  They really embrace the laid back lifestyle of the country.

Favorite site visited?
My favorite place I visited was Fraiser Island.  I went camping on the Island for three days and made some unforgettable memories on the trip.  Chasing dingos, watching my friends learn to drive a manual for the first time, and learning games with some of the other international students there are moments that made the trip memorable. Also, I went to my Australian friends hometown where we went camping in the rainforest. Listening to my friends talk about their childhood and how different it was to the American lifestyle was very intriguing.

How has study abroad impacted your life?
Studying abroad has impacted my life in numerous ways. It taught me to live life to the fullest and be more independent.  It has also made me be a stronger and more confident individual. Studying abroad also made me realize I want to work with international education when I graduate from Quinnipiac University.

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
Chase dingos. When visiting Fraiser Island, the animals would smell our food and come over.  We had long branches to chase them away from the camp site with. It was quite fun.

Best piece of advice?
The best piece of advice I would give anyone is to seize every opportunity given to you.  Travel, meet new people, and do something you ordinarily would not do.  The world is a beautiful place, to see it, all you have to do is open your eyes.


Liz

Name: Josephine Liz    
Major: Public relations minor in international business
Study abroad location: Salamanca, Spain

Why study in Spain?
I wanted to study abroad somewhere in Europe so I could travel around but I did not want to be in an English-speaking country or a language that I did not know. I grew up in a Dominican home where Spanish was my second language. So picking Spain was a no brainer. As for Salamanca, I wanted to pick a small town with a lot of culture. Salamanca is a small town but it is also a very famous and well-known town because of its prestigious university. After this semester I can say that I studied at one of the oldest universities in the world.

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
Rode a camel and took siestas

Favorite daily activity?
Siestas (naps)

Other travel experiences?
I was able to travel to Andalucía, Avila, Barcelona, Ibiza, Madrid and Segovia in Spain and to England, Morocco and Portugal. Throughout all these trips I was able to experience things such as a wine tasting tour, cooking classes, flamenco lessons and a hammam spa treatment.

Fun fact from your study abroad?
Eating Habits: Breakfast is not important, you barely eat anything.
Lunch: Main meal of the day therefore the biggest meal of the day. And if you are lucky, you can take a "siesta" (nap) right after. (2-3 p.m.)
Dinner: Also not really important and you usually eat around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Perfect time to just go out for tapas with your friend and start the night!

Favorite phrase learned abroad?
"Vale"
"Chupito"
"Hasta Luego!"
"No pasa nada"
Calling people "tia" or "tio" although they are not at all your aunt or uncle.

You can basically live by these words for a semester.

Favorite site visited?
The Magic Fountain in Barcelona, Spain, to watch the magic fountain show. It was amazing!

How has study abroad impacted your life?
I definitely see the world bigger than I did before. There are so many different countries besides the one that people usually talk about. It has made me want to travel more as well. I don't want to stop at Europe; I now want to see the world!

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
Ate French fries like every other day, who would have known that Spaniards love their fries, too.

Best piece of advice?
Don't just go to a country to learn a language! Learn the language and learn the culture too! Those two things go hand in hand.


Kleinberg

Name: Corinne Kleinberg
Major: Sociology
Study Abroad Location: QU 301 Italy/Greece

Why take QU301 with the travel component?
Why not? It is the perfect mix of being able to study abroad, travel explore and learn at the same time. I was unable to take a semester and study abroad so the QU301 class gave me the perfect opportunity.

Most "non- American" thing you did abroad?
In America, menus are very detailed and tell you everything thats in the meal. Abroad, not so descriptive. I'd have to say, ordering things off the menus that I had no idea what was in the food. You only live once, and being able to try foods without knowing all the details made it fun and so non-American.

Favorite daily activity?
The best part about going on a QU class trip, was that we had a tour guide with us the whole time we were there and then also had tour guides everyday for each site. My favorite daily activity was being able to have these tour guides, because you can travel and see the sites, however it isn't until the guide tells you the stories that allows the sites come to life.

Other travel experience?
I think being able to travel to Rome, Florence, Pompeii, Sorrento, Delphi and Athens is a pretty great travel experience for a two-week travel period.

Favorite site visited?
On my QU301 trip, we traveled to Italy and Greece. My favorite site by far was the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Seeing this site in person is unbelievable. You see the Colosseum in pictures and textbooks but it is so much better in person.

How has study abroad impacted your life?
Studying abroad with a QU class has impacted my life in ways I never thought it would. I was able to get to know and meet people that I never would have if it wasn't for our same interest in traveling. I  was able to make friendships with students and a professor here on campus that I am able to see and reminisce about our trip with everyday!

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
Hands down, eating rabbit. I am a very picky eater and do not branch out of my food comfort zone often. It was our last night on the trip and we were in Athens, Greece at a final goodbye dinner and I knew I would never have another opportunity to eat rabbit again. Yes, it tasted like chicken.

Best piece of advice?
Take QU301 with the travel component. I was bummed when I was unable to go abroad and thought I missed out on the opportunity to study and travel. However, this option allowed me to study abroad and still experience an unforgettable trip.

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
I loved having nights free and being able to explore the towns we were in, you know the saying "Do as the Romans do".


haney

Name: Jillian Haney
Major: Health sciences
Study Abroad Location:  Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Why study in Australia?
I knew how long of a flight it is to get to Australia, and how it would be difficult for me to get to visit there later in life, so I thought going there to study abroad would be an incredible oppportunity. It's also a very young, upbeat, relaxed country, and they speak English!

Most "non-American" thing you did abroad?
Visited the Aboriginals in Cairns, Australia. Their lives are completely different than ours, and it was awesome to learn about how they live.

Favorite daily activity?

Walking through Southbank Commons. It's the most beautiful area, and there's always something going on... like street shows, markets, or live music.

Other travel experiences?

Sydney, Australia; Cairns, Australia; The Whitsunday Islands; The Gold Coast; The Sunshine Coast; Bali, Indonesia; New Zealand: Queenstown, Fox Glacier & Christchurch

Fun fact from your study abroad?
Australians don't say "Throw the shrimp on the barbie!".  They don't even call them shrimp...they call them prawns.

Favorite phrase learned abroad?

"Are you keen?" and "No worries."

Favorite site visited?

Queenstown, New Zealand

How has study abroad impacted your life?
I've learned that there's just so much to see and do. You have to become more independent and throw yourself outside your comfort zone every once in a while to find out who you really are and what you're all about.

Most unusual thing you did abroad?
The World's Highest Cliff Jump. 109 meter free fall off of a cliff

Best piece of advice?
Make the most of each and every single day. You may be able to go back to the country again one day... but you never get the study abroad experience back.

What extracurricular activities/hobbies did you enjoy abroad?
Photography, visiting the markets, traveling with friends, going to the beach, hiking a glacier, surfing, reading outside, seeing the botanical gardens, running on the Brisbane River and so much more.

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