December, 2021 | Semester Exchanges Blog

My time abroad has come to an end. I could speak for hours about the places I traveled to, the people I met, and the memories I made. Looking back at my time in Europe, I learned relatively late the importance of fully embracing the culture of the locals. When I attempted to embrace the Italian culture and language, the locals were more willing to engage with me. Networking and building relationships became effortless when I introduced myself to others with an open mind and with the intention of learning more about their way of life. Without a doubt, my time abroad has changed my perspective on Italy. My initial interactions with Italians made me assume that Italians did not like to speak to foreigners. I no longer find that assumption accurate. I now believe Italians do not mind to speak to foreigners as long as they can see them putting in effort in learning about their culture. I also came to Italy thinking their restaurant timings are similar to the ones in the USA. That is not true! Besides the international restaurants, dining places are usually closed between 3PM to 7PM. This is usually their break/rest time. I also assumed I would only find Italian food in Milan. I was ready to eat pizza and pasta for 4 months straight! To my surprise, Milan is very culturally diverse. There were many poke places, all-you-can-eat sushi places, and Indian restaurants. In the end, I never expected to enjoy my time abroad as much as I did. It was a memorable experience that I will forever cherish.

Universitá Bocconi

My last day eating at Bao Bing. Bao Bing was my favorite Asian restaurant in Milan. It was a 5-minute walk from Bocconi.

Milan in the winter 🙂

Prada Museum with my roommate (who is also from Texas A&M)!

Categories: 2021, Italy, Reciprocal Exchange

After 3 and a half months in Vienna, I’ve learned that many of my peers have much different cultures and mannerisms than I do. Though I knew how different people could be, it was much more than I had expected coming from someone who has only lived in Texas all their life. Throughout my time here something I have learned was the importance of “small talk”. I personally never enjoyed it, but I know the importance of it when it comes to building your community and getting to know people.

In my initial post, I wrote about how I wished the US school system was more similar to that of Europe. Though I still think this due to several reasons, I do appreciate the extra curriculars that are ingrained in the schools in the US. I personally could not imagine going through middle and high school without joining all the clubs I had including tennis and my business organizations.

Categories: 2021, Austria, Reciprocal Exchange

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wXExRw8z-3uEm47YndUTIVRaHBiwFrkRkEW_3VDePSw/edit?usp=sharing

Above you will find a link for a google doc of a “Guide to Maastricht.” These are things I wish I would have known before going and some helpful links. Hope this will be useful for you or help answer some questions you may have (:

My time in Maastricht came to an end quickly. I was gone for 3 and a half months, and the time flew by. I enjoyed getting to meet people from all over the world and work on projects together for our courses. Oftentimes I was the only exchange student in my courses because there are only 15 students in a section. In my courses, the majority of the students were from the Netherlands, Germany, or Belgium. A stereotype that even the university pointed out is that Germans will be at the library when it opens and will want to receive the highest grade. Like all stereotypes, this is not true for everyone but you may notice it when working on groups projects. I enjoyed working with other students and found it to be very similar to working with students at A&M. Thankfully, everyone in my groups participated and contributed an equal amount. You may find that Dutch students are especially nice and friendly. Whenever I first arrived Dutch students were the ones to show me around campus and wanted to grab a coffee with me.

Studying abroad has helped broaden my global mindset and openness to different perspectives. People see the world completely differently than you and that is okay. Always listen to others and do not be afraid to share experiences you’ve had in life with others. I now have a better understanding of different cultures, languages, and food from around the world. Overall, I did not have a complete cultural shock, but I was surprised to find some of the food to have simple flavoring.

 

Dinner with friends from Portugal🇵🇹, Hong Kong 🇭🇰 , Italy 🇮🇹 , Brazil 🇧🇷 , Poland 🇵🇱 , France 🇫🇷 , Vietnam 🇻🇳 , and Taiwan 🇹🇼 !

Ice skating with Zuzia at Maastricht’s Christmas market

 

I celebrated my birthday while in Maastricht. My friends threw a surprise party for me it was so much fun 🤩 love these people

Categories: 2021, Reciprocal Exchange, The Netherlands

After spending a whole semester abroad, I have learned quite a few things about Spanish culture. Interacting with them was an interesting experience. Spanish people like to talk about anything. Nothing is a simple conversation. The bureaucracy of the country is slow but if you get on top of it, they do work efficiently. I would definitely like to come back to visit. I have made some life-long friendships here, and I am hoping that they come to visit me. I wouldn’t change anything about the experience I had.

Categories: 2021, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain