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Study Abroad Experiences

Ashley Byckowski–Paris, France

Chateau de Fontainebleau

Life in Paris… what can I say? C’est magnifique! Existing between the two milieus of professional and student has allowed me to access a whole new understanding of what it means to live in the City of Lights. As a student, being able to attend conferences, colloquium and “journée d’études”, in addition to auditing two classes at Paris-Sorbonne, has opened my eyes to the differences between French and American academia and has inspired many ideas for my own project and academic career. On the teaching side, spending around 13 hours a week with over 100 French and International students has given me a more global perspective on many of the issues being faced by society today. Also, it’s aided me in understanding and respecting the many cultural differences that exist amongst even such relatively similar countries as France and the United States.

My daily Parisian lifestyle of commuting to work, punching in hours at the library, and catching up with friends at cafés comes with a strange sentiment towards the touristy part of the city. The Eiffel Tower is so “out of the way”, I rarely see it! And Sacré Cœur feels almost like a day trip away! In the end however, this provides me with the opportunity to play tourist whenever I feel I’m getting too stuck in the “metro, boulot, dodo” of being a Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant. And for that, I am so grateful for the Université Paris-Diderot Exchange. It has deepened my love for the French Culture, Language and Literature and I look forward to bringing this joy and passion back with me in the Fall.

Julia Erbacher–Madrid, Spain

Madrid Cafe

My experience abroad impacted my ability to transfer the skills I learned from inside the classroom to outside in my every day interactions with the people of Madrid. Academically my skills were enhanced because I was able to connect what I was studying in class with the physical world around me. My interest in the history of Spain and its culture allowed me to ask more questions and engage in more class discussions, which has transferred back to my home university, where I am now more knowledgeable and able to offer more to a conversation among peers. My study abroad also enhanced my ability to retain new information such as new vocabulary and conjugation of verbs, along with understanding the meaning of the verb is and how it is to be used. I was able to learn some things about myself and how to make the most out of my academic practices, such as the best study habits for me. My understanding of Spanish grammar improved tremendously and has benefited my speaking, listening, reading, and interpreting skills which overall contribute to my goal of become a fluent Spanish speaker.

My two roommates and I explored the marvelous city of Granada for a weekend. We spent hours roaming the different parts of the city: shopping at the Arabian street markets, exploring the casas blancas (white houses) neighborhood, searching for the Turkish baths (which we never found), trying new pastry desserts (again-unsuccessful), and falling absolutely head over heels for La Alhambra, a palace/fortress with a charm that will take you centuries back in time and leave you in a state of reflection on man’s capabilities. Every morning we woke up with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains outside of the window, making this trip that much more spectacular and one that I will never forget!

Sarah Devlin–Salamanca, Spain

Salamanca Plaza

Studying abroad at the University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain for a whole month this summer was one of the most amazing adventures of my life. Being able to experience the Spanish culture firsthand was a blessing, and having the opportunity to make connections with the professors and students from other countries was extremely rewarding. Upon my arrival in Spain, I felt extremely nervous because I was worried that even after 6 years of studying the Spanish language, I would not be capable enough to understand and speak the language in its native country. However, I quickly learned that the past 6 years had prepared me for this 4-week journey. My score on the university’s placement exam landed me in one of the superior level groups at the university, and it was then that I knew that this would be an amazing learning experience. Living in a country for an extended amount of time where English is not the primary language is incredibly eye-opening. I was fortunate enough to live with an older couple who have hosted other kids from various countries in the past, so they were extremely patient and understanding when it came to conversing. Although parting from my host family, my amazing professors, my new friends, and the beautiful university was emotional, I feel so blessed to have been able to experience the cultural and educational opportunities that the country of Spain has to offer.


Kelly Aldinger–Lima, Peru

I’ve enjoyed having a break from Western New York winters during my time here in Lima, Peru.  The first couple weeks were a bit chaotic, but things have settled down and I now feel much more at home here.

Classes have taken a while to adjust to, as they are nothing like the university lectures back home.  The teacher-student interaction is quite different, since there are usually a maximum of 4 students in my classes.  One of my favorite things about the small setting though is that is facilitates a lot of conversation between classmates.  So far, I’ve met fellow students from all around the world, including Australia, Belgium, Germany, England, Palestine, Brazil, Switzerland, Holland, and of course Peru.  The cultural exchange that happens on a daily basis is something indescribable.  I love it!

Outside of the classroom, we have lots of time to explore the area.  This past month in Peru has brought out the “foodie” in me!  Every day for lunch, we try a new restaurant.  I like ordering something completely foreign to me on the menu and then deciphering the new vocabulary once the plate arrives.  It’s been an interesting and flavorful experience trying local ingredients.  I even helped cook some meals with my host family.

Attached is a picture of a dish called “anticuchos,” which is meat from cow’s heart (so tender and tasty)!

Liam Mcmahon–Sevilla, Spain

Grenada street art

The Albaicin










I’ve attached a photo of some street art in Granada and a photo taken from the Alhambra in Granada looking down on the Albaicín, the ancient Moorish neighborhood of Granada. The photos are from my 3 day orientation in Granada before I left to start classes in Sevilla. I was stunned by the beauty of Granada and continue to be stunned by the beauty of Spain while in Sevilla!