For many, summer is a time for complete relaxation in the comfort of their own home. However, a select group of USF students spent their summers learning far away from campus.
According to USF’s Education Abroad website, 550 students traveled across the globe this year, taking part in a once in a lifetime educational experience. Of those students, 16 of them blogged their experiences for the Education Abroad website — sending dispatches from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
The Oracle talked with some of these students when they
arrived home to discuss their
experiences studying abroad.
Bulls back home might be bidding for books on eBay to prepare for fall, but Farah Britto has brought back some hands-on bargaining experience from the time she spent in Cape Coast, Ghana.
Britto, a senior majoring in mass communications and
anthropology, took an African Literature class and a sociology
class for a program with
Kennesaw State University.
Britto said she spent much of
her time shooting photos and videos to complete her Gilman Scholarship, which paid for her trip. Though she saw wild
elephants and crocodiles, Britto said she most enjoyed bartering in the local markets.
“The shopkeepers and
craftsmen are very aggressive
in their sales tactics, and
bargaining is the norm,” she said. “I became very good at
bargaining down the prices. It was like a strategic game — I wish I could do that here.”
Though she had to blog to complete her scholarship, Britto said she would have done so anyway to remember her experiences and keep a dialogue with family and friends.
“Blogging helped keep me sane,” she said. “Communication
with family and friends was very limited. Blogging was a way for me to explain my experiences and also voice my frustrations.”
Patricia Sennhauser, a
senior majoring in international
business, got to learn about the history of Argentina while
interning for a company in the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Sennhasuer said she
interned for a company that sold
alfajores, an Argentine cookie,
with the proceeds going to
underprivileged children in the area. The company worked
towards building a place where the children of La Boca, a slum in Buenos Aires, could study, learn English or simply enjoy
“My class revolved mainly
around Argentine history,” she said. “We got to celebrate
National Friends Day on July
20 with some Argentines at a
local restaurant, we saw the
Casa Rosada where the
president works, went to a farm, saw gauchos perform and rode horses.”
Sennhauser said she enjoyed blogging but found it frustrating at times — as she sometimes
forgot about them and had to turn them in late.
However, she said the staff was very understanding and never
counted it against her.
“The best part was it helped me reflect on everything I had done and seen in the past week,” she said.
Running out of the Raymond James Stadium tunnel before kick-off might be great, but at least one USF Bull got his chance to attend the original “running with the bulls.”
Ross O’Bryan, a junior
majoring in international
business and economics, said he had “the best time of (his) life” taking part in this centuries-old tradition
in Pamplona, Spain.
O’Bryan traveled to Spain for his Spanish 4 class. Though he also visited Barcelona,
Pamplona, Toledo, and Paris, France, O’Bryan said the capital of Madrid was his favorite.
“In Madrid, I would just start walking and get lost and then try to find my way back,” he said. “I believe every student should go travel abroad because it
really opens your mind to other cultures and is a life-changing
Fellow USF student and
European traveler Courtney
Coton got to experience a
variety of countries in her study abroad experience. As a part of the “Know Europe Summer 2011” program, Coton, a senior majoring in marketing, traveled to Belgium, France, Holland and Spain as part of the “Know
Europe Summer 2011″
program. She had daily courses
in international marketing
— culminating in a group project where she and teammates introduced an
American beer in a foreign
Though she learned about
other cultures, Coton said the study abroad experience also teaches internal lessons.
“I would recommend studying abroad to all students, no matter what major,” she said. “Living in another country outside your comfort level really helps you to learn a lot about yourself.”