The Guide takes you across the world and into the unforgettable experiences of fellow Georgetown students as they share stories about their semesters abroad.
Visit the beauty of Australia, the prestige of Oxford and even the Great Wall of China. Over half of the student body at Georgetown University ventures into a new and exciting culture during their time, and every one of them discovers something meaningful about his or her new homes. The Guide chats with with globetrotting Hoyas to share their adventures abroad with everyone.
Don’t miss this Travel Guide for invaluable advice on how to ensure a fantastic semester overseas.
Aleksa Miskinis (SFS ’12)
I learned the amount of planning and preparation for [necessary] a trip, and how to be able to manage a lot of moving pieces: figure out if everyone could go, figure out price changes. I am a lot more prepared for travel; I probably doubled my whole life experience of traveling in the last three months because we took side trips almost every weekend.
Rajan Narang (COL ’12)
I didn’t think leaving for a year would be so difficult! I’m having a great time here, but it’s also tough watching things happen back home from afar. It’s frustrating to feel a half-step out of the game. On the flip side, you get to experience life somewhere else far more completely than if you just go for a semester, which is really more like an extended tourist vacation.
Ellie Hook (COL ’12)
I don’t think that there is any way to really know what it is like to study abroad until one does so. If I could choose to have known one thing, I actually think it would have been really reassuring to have known how much I would love studying abroad. Don’t get me wrong: I miss Georgetown a great deal, but I am loving my year abroad. I think the people I have met, how much I love England and the traveling I have done make this year abroad worth the hassle it took to get here.
Alyxie Harrick (SFS ’12)
I found more similarities than I expected, but [I didn't expect] some of the cultural differences. [In China] you can ask certain questions such as “How old are you?”, “How much money do you make?” or “How much did an item cost?” — you can ask people questions that you wouldn’t culturally ask in America. [However],The culture itself is a little more reserved. The opinions they have of Americans come from the [Hollywood] movies they stream online for free, so they imagine Americans being very outgoing or that we always go out, always partying. So they are surprised to discover that we aren’t.
Nicholas Patane (MSB ’12)
For me, the best part of studying in Barcelona was the Catalan influence. The complex political situation added an interesting dynamic to the experience. Because of its complicated history, Barcelona has a very rich culture with well-preserved customs and traditions. Probably the one place where the local pride is most apparent is at Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s stadium.
Greg Patterson (COL ’12)
Sweden is absolutely beautiful and I’m a big fan of snow. So, when the snow began to fall in early November, it made the old buildings and cobblestone streets in Stockholm that much more enchanting. The most fun thing I did was probably doing a traditional Swedish sauna. You sweat in a sauna for 15 minutes and then you jump into a lake through a hole they cut in the ice … invigorating.
Ned Pagliarulo (COL ’12)
[I learned] a new sense in the value of manners. It sounds stupid, but [the] Japanese put a ton of stock in being polite and showing respect, and I was surprised at how much nicer it made things. Not to say manners aren’t important here, but the way in which Japanese people interact goes far beyond the basic manners Americans practice. It could be a bit bizarre at times with people bowing and being extremely discreet but overall it made Japan seem more enjoyable.
Brian Sergi (SFS ’12)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I wish I had known a thing or two about Argentina and its tendency towards strikes. Worker strikes are an extremely common way to petition change in Buenos Aires; they appear frequently, with little warning and in all facets of daily life. During my semester, a severe lack of funding for public education resulted in a 45-day student strike during which the university shut down completely — something I might have appreciated knowing before I shipped there to study for the semester.
Yassi Tamdji (SFS ’11)
Cape Town, South Africa
Going abroad is a very spiritual experience. Many of my friends, including myself, experienced God and faith in a new way while abroad as [we] were able to behold the beauty, majesty and grandeur of His creation. At the same time, being abroad gives you time for self-reflection and exposes your fears and strengths when you are taken out of your comfort zone. It challenges you in a new way and pushes you to look for adventures in everyday life.
Liz Gannett (NHS ’12)
Being in Australia was not only incredible because of the beautiful landscapes and thrilling activities, [but also because] it also opened my eyes to the high racial tensions that currently exist between the Aboriginal Australians and the Australians [of] European descent. Seeing racial conflicts across the world allowed me to reflect on the conflicts that are present in the United States.
James Pickens (COL ’12)
I didn’t expect the quality of life in China [to be] so different from how the media portrays it. While economists go on about how China will overtake the United States’ GDP, Chinese people in the capital still have decades to go before they reach Western levels of sanitation and product quality. From a hidden housing bubble to paralyzing overcrowding issues, China is far more complex than the picture we receive from the media.
Wendy Wang (MSB ’11)
Even though my family lives in China now, I haven’t spent more than three months here at a time [because] I was born abroad and have always lived outside of China — even though I’m Chinese. Going abroad to Hong Kong was a great way for me to get more in touch with my Asian roots and to experience that area of the world more. But even for other international students, I would highly recommend doing a semester elsewhere if possible because you still get your Georgetown education while seeing more of the world — but maybe that’s just my travel bug speaking.