Monthly Archives: January 2014

Program Discount

Still on the fence about study abroad? Get a $500 discount on Fall semester programs in Argentina, Spain, France or Belgium if you register here by Feb. 28, 2014! 

The early bird gets the worm… and in this case.. the early applicant gets the discount!

5 months abroad can improve your language skills, allow you to see the world, and gain maturity and independence. Do something unique, something different, break out of the box.

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Top 6 Reasons to Study Abroad in Italy

 “You may have the universe if I may have Italy” 
― Giuseppe Verdi

This week, iE-USA decided to feature Italy as its Country Destination on our blog. Grayden, our Student Ambassador, has selected his top 6 reasons why you should choose to study abroad in Italy:

  1. The Culture: Italy is a country full of rich and diverse culture which differs from region to region. This contributes to the broad cultural range which Italy offers, and provides a vast learning experience for anyone who chooses to study abroad here. 
  2. The People: Italian people are one of the main reasons that their country is so great. Friendly, as well as talkative, Italians are great people who are very outgoing socially. It’s easy to find friends who are spending free time together, having a good time and want you to be a part of it. Family also plays a large role in Italian culture and life, and when abroad they will make exchange students feel like a part of the family, which is a major plus! 
  3. Lifestyle: Italians live a very relaxed, happy lifestyle. School and work provide Italians with much more free time during a day than a typical American schedule would allow, and allows for more time to eat, spend time with friends, and participate in many other activities. 
  4. The Food: Italians like to say that their food is “the best in the world,” and they are right. Italians have a diet that varies by region, but consists of many pastas, breads, and many greens and salads as well. The food in Italy is one of the things that people savor and remember for the rest of their lives!
  5. The History: Italy, as well as Europe in general, is a country which is hundreds of years older than America, and contains a history lesson wherever you look. From the buildings, castles, and churches, no matter where one stays, they will always be living in or near a piece of history.
  6. The Scenery: Whether it’s the villages, the masses of hills, the coast, or the mountains, Italy is a country where the natural beauty never stops. The best part? All of these areas are within a few hours of each other.

To apply or get more information, click here!

To talk to our student ambassador Grayden, go here.

Maria and Mandela

As 15 year old Maria boarded her flight for South Africa, she had no idea she was headed to the ground floor of a significant historical event!

Maria

Maria lights a candle during a weeklong vigil for Nelson Mandela.

Meet Maria

Maria from California chose to study abroad for 1 semester in South Africa with iE-USA.

Toward the end of her exchange semester, news of Nelson Mandela’s death rocked the world. Maria, now immersed in the South African culture, was able to see these events through the eyes of a South African.

Maria shares more in her own words:

What impacted you during your semester in South Africa with iE-USA?

It’s hard to list just one thing, because I’m so thankful for the experience in general. The townships were like nothing I had seen before. There are squatter camps, where people build houses out of tin and other materials, and there are formal settlements. These are housing units made out of brick, which was an effort that Mandela began post-apartheid. In the townships, everyone was smiling and friendly, yet they have almost nothing. It made me realize how much we take for granted.

How did people respond to Nelson Mandela’s passing?

The energy that week leading up to the funeral was all revolved around him and remembering the life that he led. There were thousands of flowers laid out on the streets and hand-written cards to the Mandela family. It’s not until you are in that environment that you realize he did not only have a physical impact on the laws and government, but an emotional impact on the people and their minds. People really feel like he impacted their lives on a personal level, and he did.

Why did you choose South Africa?

I wanted to go to a country where their first language is English. That narrowed it down pretty quickly. Most of the other English-speaking countries all have a similar culture to that of America, and so I felt South Africa would be the most different. I wanted the “most different.” I wanted something out of my comfort zone.

What differences did you notice?

The languages. You can sit on a bus and hear English, Zulu, Tswana, Afrikaans, and Xhosa. You don’t get that in America. Also, school was the polar opposite of my school in California. We had uniforms, which I ended up liking because I didn’t have to decide what I wanted to wear in the morning. And I got to take classes I had never been able to take back home, like African History and Consumer Studies. 

Do you have any favorite memories from your time?

Maria poses with a seal outside of Capetown.

Maria poses with a seal outside of Capetown.

I got to go shark cage diving – that was one of the coolest things. You wear a wet suit and get in the water with them!

What does it feel like to come home?

So far, it’s as if nothing has changed, which is good and kind of weird at the same time. I am glad I can pick up where I left off, but the experience was so personal, that I feel like I have changed drastically, while nothing around me is different.

What advice would you give someone considering studying in South Africa?

I would say to just be open-minded, because, if you go to any country with a closed mind, you are not going to be happy. One thing people should be prepared for when they go to South Africa is that there is more poverty than in America. They should also know that it’s not a reason to be scared. Overall, I found that they (South Africans) are very friendly, loving people – more so than in America. I took the train, taxis, and city buses, but I always felt safe.

How do you think this might affect your future?

I would like to revisit South Africa in the future. I am even considering a year abroad at UCT. I also hope this experience will help me get into college, so that I may continue studying culture and people on a higher academic level. I believe this is just the first step in a long list of cultural-immersion experiences.

Are you a teacher, educator, or homeschooler? Want to use this interview as an educational piece about Mandela or South Africa? Download the Maria_and_Mandela_Educational_Handout.

Want to apply to go to South Africa next year? Go here: http://usa.international-experience.net/study-abroad/apply-now/

Last month in Germany :( – Claire

Germanyclaire

I’ve learned so much by being in Germany for the past few months.  Unfortunately, I can only stay for 5 months and not 10.  I would jump at the chance to extend my time here, but with school and graduation in a few months, it works out better to just stay a semester.  When I came, I could only put together a few sentences and had almost no knowledge of the grammar.  With the immeasurable patience of my host family (especially host mom), I’ve made incredible progress in German.  I’ve learned so much just by helping my host mom cook and asking questions about the language and when, what, and why people say certain things.

I’ve really become part of culture here.  I’m on a soccer team and in a choir.  I’ve snowboarded in the French Alps. I’ve made numerous friends, and I’m glad to say I also have a new German family.

I strongly recommend studying abroad, and, of course, choosing Germany.  I won’t lie and say it’s always the easiest, but it is certainly 100% worth it.  No doubt.

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