A letter to a future study abroad student: a melting pot of advice, suggestions, and other random things

Written by: Peer Advocate, Jacqueline Bickhaus

A letter to a future study abroad student: a melting pot of advice, suggestions, and other random things

Dear future study abroad student,
I am so jealous of you. Your upcoming endeavor may potentially be the best experience of your life. The idea of going to another country to study for a semester, year, or even just a week seems extremely daunting. It can be, but through your upcoming experience, you will learn a whole lot about yourself, discover just how much you are capable of, and launch yourself into the very real world far beyond the Butler Bubble. You may even try to talk yourself out of fulfilling this abroad experience in order to minimize those fears and doubts that may creep into your head, but I am here to remind you that you originally gained an interest for a reason, completed an application and had it accepted, and have taken all necessary steps to bring this dream of yours to fruition.

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Study Abroad + Study Away: Butler Semesters in Spain and NYC

Written by: Peer Advocate Raziya Hillery

Having the opportunity to study away twice throughout my college career is an incredible privilege I was able to have. My sophomore year of college, in Fall 2019, I studied abroad internationally in Madrid, Spain, and two years later, in Fall 2021, I was able to study away domestically in New York, New York. Learning about these Butler-sponsored programs and thinking I could only do one or the other is a common misconception I had. 

Per my last reflection on studying abroad as a person of color in Madrid, this blog would compare both two studying abroad experiences from Butler, specifically the processes, classes, and my experiences. I hope to encourage students to pursue their goals no matter how out of reach they may seem to be and study abroad if able.  Continue reading

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Amazon

Written by Madison Pines, Digital Nomad Diversity Awardee

Right foot forward. Left foot forward. Right foot forward. Left foot forward. Look
down at the brown and wet earth beneath your feet. Look up and see the
thousands of stars littering the sky. The crunch of the sticks beneath your feet
echoes around you as you walk further into the jungle. The only guiding light
comes from a dim phone flashlight in your hand. You shine the light in a circle
around you. As the light passes by, it illuminates the vivid green of the leaves
that surround you, but it reveals more. Creatures that you have only seen behind
glass at the zoo make their appearance known. The banana spider slowly creeps
closer to you from the leaf it’s perched on. The light green viper, coiled high
above you, watches as you continue to walk forward, passing right under it. And
suddenly your thoughts start to wonder. Is this real? Or am I in a movie? Continue reading

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Life Hacks and Helpful Tips for Studying Abroad

Written by: Peer Advocate Melanie Klaben

I know from experience that studying abroad can be very overwhelming at first. When I landed in Paris last September, I felt like I knew nothing, but I quickly settled into my new home and never wanted to leave. I will share some of the life hacks and pieces of advice that helped make my study abroad experience so amazing.

The Best Apps and Websites

Everything is easier if you know the best apps and websites to use. One of the most helpful apps for my entire study abroad experience was Citymapper. This app is much better than Google Maps or Apple Maps if you’re trying to travel around European cities. I used Citymapper every single day while I was in Paris. It was also very useful when I traveled to other cities in Europe! Continue reading

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Day in the Life: GALA Galapagos

Day In the Life

Written by Madison Pines, Digital Nomad Diversity Awardee

Day 52 – Galapagos

My morning started at 5:45 to watch the sunrise over ocean. I sat on the patio listening to the sounds of the ocean and reading my book as the sky around me progressively became lighter and lighter.

Finally, around 6:30 our alarm went off in the room, rousing my roommates to start the day. We spent some time packing our bags and getting ready for our excursion.

After a quick breakfast of pancakes, we drove in the back of a pick-up truck to the pier where we boarded our boat for our day-long snorkeling adventure. Continue reading

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Taking Pride in One’s Own Native Language

Taking Pride in One’s Own Native Language

By: Digital Nomad Diversity Awardee, Maria De Leon

Many generations have lived and continue to live in a society where norms are
perpetuated, practiced and lived up to. In the world of languages, the question, “What is the correct way to speak Spanish?” has been raised. But the reality is that there is no such thing as a correct way of speaking Spanish. There may exist an academic standard, but not a more correct Spanish language.

For this reason, one’s pride in our identity or identities can be influenced by the way
society views how one should behave and represent themselves. For instance, my identity of being Latina and a Spanish native speaker whose parents are from Central America,
Guatemala, almost prevented me from studying abroad specifically in Spain. At Butler University and at my hometown, Indianapolis, Indiana, I genuinely take pride in allowing myself to speak the beautiful language of Spanish. I was surprised and sort of disappointed in myself to find out that I became insecure of my Spanish language after I applied to the study abroad program in Spain. Continue reading

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Host Family and Homestay

Host Family and Homestay

By: Peer Advocate Katie Brownlee

From the many stories I’d heard from study abroad alumni, I’d learned that homestays had the potential to shape a study abroad experience – for better or for worse. Despite a handful of cautionary tales, the positive stories won me over, and in the years leading up to my own semester abroad, I considered living with a host family as a “non-negotiable” part of my dream program. I imagined what my future homestay would look like, a million questions bouncing around my head: What part of the city would I live in? Would I live with a large family? Would I have younger host siblings? How much time would we spend together? Would my host family speak English? Each scenario was equally as meaningful as the next. When I reached my sophomore year of college, I had the opportunity to choose a program based in Chile called Comparative Education and Social Change which featured three homestays as essential to the learning experience. For the purpose of preventing this blog from turning into a novel, I’ll focus on my main homestay in Santiago, keeping in mind that each of the short-term homestays were also profoundly impactful. Continue reading

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Study Abroad Blog: A Friend Who Changed my Experience

Study Abroad Blog: A friend who changed my experience

By: Peer Advocate, Addie Gorgoni

I was always hesitant to go abroad by myself. I’m a relatively independent person but going abroad was a completely different realm of independence. The furthest I have ever traveled by myself was flying back home to New York from Indianapolis. But I watched my sister go abroad her junior year of college all by herself. She had the opportunity to go with her roommates, but she knew that studying in a different country was something that she wanted to do by herself, so she ended up going solo. When the opportunity presented itself for me to go abroad my junior year, I knew that if my sister could handle it, so could I.

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Mamma Mia: Here We Go Abroad Again

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Abroad Again

By: Peer Advocate Jack Shirley

Caution: A laughable number of Mamma Mia puns lie ahead

When me and my friends decided we would be studying abroad in Fall of 2019, we knew we wanted to plan a trip to Santorini, Greece, even if the adventure would cost us some “Money, Money, Money”.

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Lifelong Friendship from Study Abroad

Lifelong Friendship from Study Abroad

Written by: Peer Advocate Maddie Eden

Studying abroad was one of the most terrifying things I did during my college career.

When I say it was terrifying, it was because I had never traveled outside of the country before, much less traveled outside of the country without my family. The idea of being in a foreign country by myself was something that scared me more than I cared to admit. What if I got lost? What if something went wrong, and I didn’t know anyone that could help me?

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