Well it has been about three weeks since arriving here in Madrid, and I have already learned and experienced so much in that short time. It took quite a bit of adjustment at the beginning to get used to the different lifestyle here in Spain. For example, I figured that I would easily be able to acclimate to the laid back, relaxed Spanish lifestyle, however, it was easier said than done when I was trying to locate my lost luggage and make sure I would be able to register for classes and the Spanish approach to communication is very different from America in that they take their time to respond. Yet at the same time it is very refreshing to live in a place where there isn’t much sense of rush or urgency because it allows you to really be present in the moment and enjoy time with friends, which is something I especially value while studying abroad because we have such a limited amount of time here.

As for Madrid, it’s very cool because it is so diverse. Each neighborhood and area of the city is different and has its own character.  Chamberi is a quieter more urban feel but take the metro to somewhere like Sol or Gran Via and then you’re surrounded by old timey architecture and restaurants and shops galore! Speaking of the metro, it’s great because it keeps the city very connected and is very easy to navigate, however, sometimes it’s disorienting because after taking the metro you just pop out of the ground somewhere and so I am never able to get my general geographic bearings in relation to the rest of the city. It’s fun to just walk around though also because you could turn a corner and feel like you’re in a completely different city because the architecture is different or the quiet cobblestone street you were walking on has turned in to a bustling city center. I wasn’t expecting Madrid to feel so modern but it is a really cool mix between contemporary city life and old town Europe.

My favorite part of Madrid by far though, definitely has to be the fashion! The young people are so stylish and make it look so casual and effortless all the time. I love how they wear sneakers with everything from boyfriend jeans and an over sized sweater to a beautiful long sundress and that everything is platform: sandals, converse, even Birkenstocks! Both trends are such fun ways to spice up an outfit but still be comfortable. Not only are their clothing choices effortlessly chic but their hair and makeup are as well, the style here is all very natural looking. Most young women here wear their very long hair down and in its natural style and pair it with very simple demure makeup if any.

After a week and a half of spending our days exploring Madrid and adjusting to the Spanish lifestyle school finally started. At UC3M international exchange students don’t register for their classes until they get there so two days before classes officially started we used an online registration system to sign up for our classes and the nice part is Non Eu exchange students can sign up for pretty much any course regardless of major or year, the tricky part was making your schedule because the classes are not blocked like A&M where they have Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes and Tuesday-Thursday classes, here one class might be Monday-Tuesday and another Tuesday-Friday. However, after a week of trying out different courses and adding and dropping I finally figured out a schedule that I liked. Another thing we had to figure out in regards to school was our commute. My roommates and I live in the center of Madrid and UC3M is located in Getafe which is technically a city on the outskirts of Madrid so it takes a 15 minute metro ride and a 30 minute train to get to the campus and the first time we tried to get there we took the train the wrong direction and had to call an uber in order to make it to our class on time. Now I have come to enjoy my morning and afternoon commutes as I often spend it listening to music or reading a book. I also really like the UC3M campus in Getafe! For our orientation we had to go the UC3M Leganes campus and though it was nice it was tiny and the Getafe campus is not large by any means especially compared to A&M but it is very pretty with red roofed buildings and numerous courtyards covered by trees where there are always students hanging out passing the time between classes.

In closing, Madrid has been full of surprises and I can’t wait to see what else this city and this country have in store for us we continue to explore and experience its rich culture throughout the rest of the semester.



The Royal Palace of Madrid

Categories: 2019, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Moving half-way across the world should be a piece of cake right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Howdy, my name is Ashley Jones I am a Junior Marketing major at Mays and I’m currently participating in the BEM academic year-long exchange with EM-Strasbourg Business school in Strasbourg France.

“You’re studying abroad for a whole year?! Like, two semesters?!?”

That was probably the most common response I got when I told people I was going abroad. The concept of an academic year-long exchange seems daunting (because who would dare miss an Aggie football season) but it’s already proved to be such a blessing. There’s so much work and preparation that goes into a long-term exchange, both physical and mental. There’s countless stacks of paperwork required to get here, and even more, once you arrive; The class schedules are different and confusing to get used to, and on top of it all, everyone around you speaks a different language. Culture shock is a real thing and can take its toll if you aren’t ready for it. The fact that I moved to France for a year, knowing absolutely no french, was probably a crazy idea on my part. This doesn’t sound like a transition that anyone would willingly walk into, but the reward is so worth it. Even though it’s only been a month, I feel like I’ve lived here for so much longer because this beautiful and welcoming city has become so familiar.

Classes still haven’t officially started (so I’ve basically had the longest summer break ever but I’m not upset about it), and yet I’ve learned so much already. I was able to meet people through the orientation process that have instantly become some of the greatest friends. Through simple conversations about our lives at home compared to life here, I’ve been exposed to alternative mindsets based on cultural upbringing that has influenced my perspective on societal differences. All these people coming from different places and families have now been put in one melting pot together, and just talking about how different life is for them has taught me that there is more out there than what we think we know. My cultural mindset has already been expanded to be a broader mindset, and that alone has been one of the best lessons study abroad could teach me.

Europe has such a different way of life. It’s been much more laid back than what I’m used to in The States, but it’s been a healthy adjustment for me. Learning to be more “go with the flow” and having comfort in a flexible schedule is an important trait to bring into any future career. Whether it’s traveling across country borders or figuring out the local public transportation, Europe has already been such a positive influence by broadening what I knew to be normal. I hope that with continued exposure to this way of life, I can bring that new appreciation back to my American everyday life.

Strasbourg is a beautiful picturesque city that I am so blessed to live in. France is a wonderful country full of so much history and culture that I fall more in love with it every day. When I first started college I was encouraged by a peer to make time to step back and reflect on life every now and then, and I’m so glad they taught me how to do so. No matter where you reside, personal reflection is the best way to accomplish intentional growth. While I am abroad in this amazing place, I hope to continue reflecting on all of these experiences so that I can continue to grow into the best version of myself.

If I’ve already learned this much in a month, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds.

Categories: 2019, France, Reciprocal Exchange


My name is Sophie Blaskovich! I’m currently in the BEM reciprocal exchange program at EM Strasbourg Business School, in Strasbourg, France. I’ve been living in France for nearly a month now, and it has been nothing less than an adventure!! I was very apprehensive before departing the United States. Not necessarily because of the culture change, but because of how long I would be away for. My program duration is two semesters, meaning I would be away for basically an entire year. Luckily, my friend from A&M was doing the exchange along with me, but I still felt as though I was completely starting over with my relationships. However, it amazes me how quickly my mindset has changed. Strasbourg already feels like home.

Upon arriving, I was amazed at the beauty of this city!! Everything here is so picturesque, the buildings with their beautiful colors, the river, the bridges, and all the gorgeous churches! I chose to live in an apartment right by the business school. There were housing options through my school, but I chose to use a website called Appartager.com to find my apartment. Personally, I love my place. I live with my friend Ashley, as well as two other random roommates. One of them is from Germany while the other is from Ireland!! We have our own rooms, a shared bathroom, a full kitchen, and an outside patio!! However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, I know there are some good options for the school housing. Also, there’s an Ikea in town, so don’t worry if you can’t squeeze everything into your suitcase!!

As soon as the orientation week started, Ashley and I were able to meet tons of people! In fact, we met most of our close friends, on the first day of orientation. But my favorite part about orientation was simply being surrounded by students from all over the world. Everyone comes from different cultures and backgrounds, so it’s been so enjoyable interacting with them and discovering what we have in common as well as the differences between us! The common language among the international students is English, but still try and work on your French! It will help you out around town a bunch. The international organization at EM makes it very easy for you to meet people. They always host events; you just need to join the Facebook group to find out about them.

My classes haven’t started yet, but from what I can tell, the school system here is very different to A&M. Overall, the lifestyle in France is a lot more laid back, so the university just seems less structured and organized than what we’re used to. Class schedules can change weekly. My classes typically meet once a week for three hours each, but the time and room the class is held in varies. The exams are rarely multiple-choice, rather they are written argument exams. Everything is graded on a 0-20 scale. Receiving a 10 is passing, but a 14 is apparently an excellent job. The international office explained this by saying “No argument is perfect. We value good arguments but acknowledge that there’s always room for improvement.” Therefore, receiving an 18-20 is practically unheard of.

Now, most importantly, I thought I’d share some information on traveling!! Since arriving I’ve already been able to visit Lyon, France; Heidelberg, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; and Prague, Czechoslovakia! I’ve found that the easiest/cheapest way to get around is using Flixbus. But also check Omio to compare bus, train, and flight prices. There are endless travel opportunities here, take advantage of them!! But don’t forget to discover your own city. Strasbourg is a large city and can be confusing to navigate at first, but it holds countless treasures. There are boulangeries and cafés at every corner! I recommend getting a bus/tram pass, but walking is still very popular.

I’ve only been in Strasbourg a month, but I’ve already seen so much change in myself. This experience has been rewarding, pushing me out of my comfort zone, and allowing me to discover new levels of independence. It is key to make friends on your time abroad to prevent you from feeling lonely. The best advice I can give you, is to say yes! Go out with people, take trips, form relationships! Remember everyone is in your same situation.

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing in this experience with me! If you’re going abroad, I hope I was able to help you out some! I’m greatly looking forward to the rest of my time here!! Feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions about Strasbourg!

Bonne journée,

Sophie Blaskovich


Categories: 2019, France, Reciprocal Exchange

Throughout these past six months abroad, I have learned and experienced so much. Despite the cold in the early months of the year, I loved everything about the area of Copenhagen, Denmark. I do not think I could have made a better choice in location for this exchange semester. The atmosphere of Copenhagen is that of a city however lacks all the negatives of chaos and crowding due to its small population. Danes tend to mind their own business and keep to themselves yet, when approached, they are still friendly and easy to interact with. This is especially true because most, if not all the younger generations, speak fluent English along with their native language. Overall, 10/10 would recommend studying abroad in Copenhagen.

Abroad I took 4 classes, 12 credit hours: principles of international marketing, consumer behavior and qualitative methods, global supply chain management, and operations management – enhancing competitiveness through operational effectiveness. With these courses I learned the very basics of marketing strategies used in an international/ global setting, how to collect and interpret qualitative data as opposed to quantitative data, and the basics of supply chains and what it takes to manage them.

One thing I learned about business in Denmark, specifically, is that importing products is critical to Danish businesses and almost unavoidable in most cases. That being said, it is easy to understand the high tax rates I encountered even when shopping for common items like groceries and other living essentials. As well, relating to the classes I took, I learned how absolutely important logistics managers are in Denmark businesses. They have to coordinate the movements of all parts and products in the supply chain which is even more complex when trade rates and laws get involved. However, a positive for Danish businesses is that the rest of Europe is lucrative and very close in proximity so trading is not as much of a nuisance as it could be.

In the end, I probably would not enjoy doing business in Denmark but it is definitely a cool place to learn about and I work recommend anyone to study abroad there. Below I have attached a couple pictures from the end of my trip:

Categories: 2019, Denmark, Reciprocal Exchange