You Asked, I Answered: Study Abroad Edition

You Asked, I Answered: Study Abroad Edition

Tips, tricks and truths about studying abroad.
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I still constantly get asked about my study abroad experience, and if you know me you know those are my favorite questions. I will go on for days about my semester abroad because it truly was the best time of my life (thus far).

That's why I've compiled a list of some commonly asked questions I receive about my experience and some questions I know I had before I went abroad.

Keep reading for some tips, tricks and truths about studying abroad:

Q: Where did you go?

A: The beautiful Florence, Italy.

Q: When did you go?

A: I studied abroad Fall of 2018, as a Sophomore in college.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to study abroad?

A: I've always loved travelling and seeing new places, but I've never really gone on any real adventure where I travelled on my own, only family vacations. I did want to study abroad when I was High School but never actually planned for it to happen.

I honestly didn't think my parents would ever say yes.

Q: Was this the first time you've left the country?

A: No, I've been to Mexico and Costa Rica so I already had a passport.

Q: Did all of your credits transfer?

A: This one kills me because this is what makes so many people not want to study abroad, and for good reason. It's been an entire semester since I studied abroad and my credits have still not successfully made it onto my transcript.

But wait, as you read this they are being articulated and reprocessed and should show up in about a week (fingers crossed). Basically, I went through all the necessary steps (and they were extensive) to ensure my credit would transfer. All of the courses I planned to take had to be approved by advisors, and heads of different programs. So you can imagine my shock when I returned home to find that my University (in America) does not accept the specific University I attended in Florence.

How does that happen after all of the approvals I had received before I left...I don't know but it did and you can I threw fits in every office on campus until someone decided to help me.

That took a while, but things are looking up now!

Q: Did everyone speak English?

A: Yes.

Everyone I met spoke at least enough English for me to understand what they were saying.

Q: Can you speak Italian now?

A: No.

I've never been the best with foreign language so I did not pick it up as well as my friends, but I knew enough to get around, order meals, pay for things, and read street signs.

I definitely knew more when I was there because I was hearing in constantly whenever I left my apartment, but it is not something that stuck with me, unfortunately.

Q: How many classes did you take?

A: 5 class, 15 credits, so a full schedule like I take at my home University.

Q: Were the classes hard?

A: I thought the classes were much, much easier than the classes I take at home!

Q: What classes did you take?

A: Intro to Communications

Public Speaking

Media in the Digital Age

Wines and Culture

Beginners Italian

...maybe that's why I thought the classes were easier.

Q: Did you travel every weekend?

A: Not every weekend, but a lot of weekends!

Many places I went to in Italy were just day trips because the trains are so fast you could go to Rome and back in the same day!

Q: Where did you go?

A: Florence, Italy (obviously)

Rome, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

Capri, Italy

Sorrento, Italy

Viareggio, Italy

Venice, Italy

Vatican City (It's actually its own country)

Berlin, Germany

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brussels, Belgium

Paris, France

Barcelona, Spain

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Budapest, Hungary

Vienna, Austria

Salzberg, Austria

18 Cities, 10 Countries

Q: How much did you pack?

A: I had 2 suitcases, a backpack, and a duffle bag. Most people only had 1 suitcase and a large carry-on, but if you know me you know I do not, under any circumstances, ever, pack light.

So, of course, I won't be packing light when I'll be away for four months!

Pro Tip: those vacuum seal space savers bags are the way to go! Just make sure you can find a vacuum before you leave your destination, believe it or not, that was the real struggle.

Q: Could you use your phone/did you have service?

A: I got a very small phone plan with my service provider that was meant for studying abroad.

Most people bought chips to put in their phone once they were over there that allowed them to have service or bought small phones that look like the old phones your parent had mid-two thousands and they would be for emergencies.

I only ever had wifi when I was inside and I learned the hard way the third day I was there that data rates are much more expensive abroad.

Pro Tip: Make sure your cellular data is off ALWAYS, and only use iMessage when you're sure you're on wifi, if not use WhatsApp, it won't charge you!

Those are just a few answers to some of the basic questions I get asked on the reg. If you have any questions that you still want answered about studying abroad feel free to reach out to me, it's my favorite thing to talk about!

If you're able to study abroad there's no question that you should do it!

It's the most life changing experience, and I promise you won't regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Beltran

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11 Things Y'all Know To Be True If Y'all Are From The South

Northern folk just don't get it.

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If you live in the south, there are some things you can completely relate to. It's different down here, and that's why we love it. It is home, and we are thankful that we live here. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else. No matter where we go, our hearts will always be in the South.

1. You have good manners.  

Your parents definitely taught you to ALWAYS say, "yes ma'am," "no ma'am," "yes sir," and "no sir." You learned to always say "please" and "thank you." There's a good chance that you got in trouble if you ever forgot to say those, too. You might have even gotten spanked with a switch you picked in the backyard.

2. Your grandmother makes the best sweet tea.  

Sure, a lot of restaurants do, too, and so does your mom, but there is nothing like your grandmother's sweet tea. She uses way too much sugar, and it is perfect. No one will ever make it as good as she does.

3. Saturdays in the fall are for football.

Morgan Johnson

College football is taken VERY seriously. We love the SEC... except for Clemson fans. But, no matter what team you pull for, you can't go to Williams-Brice and not get chill bumps when "Sandstorm" is played.

4. You never know how to dress for the weather.  

In the morning, it could be 40 degrees outside, so you'll need to dress warm. In the afternoon, it could be well over 80 degrees. Also, don't plan on putting up your summer clothes when it's getting close to winter, or putting up your winter clothes when begins getting warmer outside. It can be 70 degrees in December and 30 degrees in April. Dressing in layers is a skill you master when you live in the South.

5. You complain about Yankees.  

No offense to anyone up north, but you didn't grow up the way we did. You're welcome to come down here as long as you aren't rude. We know we have great warm weather, and we know we don't handle snow very well. We don't need your input. So please, for the sake of everyone, keep your snobby comments to yourself, and learn how to make sweet tea.

6. The sunrises and sunsets are like nothing else.

Morgan Johnson

Sunrises and sunsets are beautiful down here. Whether you're at the beach, driving down the road, or at your house, you will see a picture-perfect sky. Sometimes, it's challenging to drive because it's so bright, but the view is definitely worth it.

7. Sundays call for church, lunch, and a good nap.  

One of the best things in the world is taking a long nap after church on a Sunday. I'm not exaggerating. It's the best. Especially if it starts to rain... I highly recommend.

8. We are super patriotic.

Morgan Johnson

All of the states are red. If you're not a Trump supporter, I promise you, you're outnumbered. We love guns, the military, and America. A lot. We believe in Jesus. We're proud to be American, and nothing will ever change that.

9. There's a church on every other street.  

We have a lot of Southern Baptist churches here. A LOT. There are churches everywhere. On the way to your church, you'll probably pass at least five other churches.

10. People comment on your accent, a lot.  

"Where are you from?"

"Oh, I live in South Carolina."

"I can tell."

This happens anytime you go somewhere.

11. You can't imagine living anywhere else.  

We love it here. We're proud to be from the South and wouldn't have it any other way. Bless your heart if you can't relate. You're missing out.

Living in the South is truly a blessing. Why would you ever want to live anywhere else?

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Day Four In Italy: Florence

This is the day we learned the history of everything

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Waking up bright and early we first took the tour bus to the country side of Florence where we visited a medieval town full of shops that lined a beautiful countryside.


CountrysideBrooke Burney

We spent about three hours here just looking around, buying things, and taking pictures. Once the three hours were up, we went to a winery where they explained how they made wine with the grapes in their vineyard.


In the vineyardBrooke Burney

After the tour, they fed us lunch with some of their wine. Then, after we ate, we passed through their wine shop and took the bus back to the Piazza della Signoria. On the way back, our tour guide was telling us about Michelangelo and his time creating the Statue of David. We had to stand in a line for about thirty minutes but when our time came, we were thrilled. We entered and saw artwork from many different artists. However, Michelangelo had a hallway of his own that was mostly filled with unfinished sculptures of statues with David being at the very end.


Statue of DavidBrooke Burney

After the tour of the art museum, our tour guide took us to the square where the churches were and gave us a history lesson on them. He gave us a background on the pictures that were painted on the doors and what they represent.


Brooke Burney

After this tour, we went back to our hotel where we were able to go eat dinner. My friends and I went back to the small square we first went to and ate in a small pizza joint.


Italian pizzaBrooke Burney

If you ever go to Europe, keep in mind that they have a hard time splitting orders. As we were sitting at this table, we asked for separate checks but they made us pay separately on a single check, which was kind of funny watching three American girls pick through their euros.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel to pack for the next day. To the train station, then Pompeii!

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