Sunday, April 22, 2018

Living Like a Local & Getting Involved: Costa Rica

Integrating in a New Culture: Costa Rica

What does it mean to "live like a local"?

Living like a local is to fully immerse into the common daily practices that native citizens partake in. Personally, I would like to find local shops to do my shopping at. I also believe that exploring places that aren't huge tourist attractions but are enjoyed by the community would be a great way to identify the interests of Costa Rican locals. Finally, I would like to learn local phrases and practice them daily.

Getting Involved & Making New Friends

As far as getting involved, I plan on taking yoga classes and possibly a dance class. This will help me relax as well as introduce myself to people in the community. Additionally, I would like to find a coffee shop in San Jose to go to regularly in order to meet locals and make new friends. 

Personal Gains

Hopefully this approach will allow me to get out of my comfort zone in a positive way and force me to interact with members of this society. I expect that by partaking in activities that I enjoy at home in a new country will ease my way into adjusting and hopefully limit any culture shock that may arise. This will also be a great way for me to find a common ground with individuals in the area.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Blog 5

For my study abroad experience, I hope to not only take environmental science classes that are marine biology based, but I aspire to also get involved in the community. My biology professor has a connection with the County Armagh Community Development Agency located just outside of Belfast. He has already contacted him and told him of my arrival. With this, I can maintain my Bonner Scholarship, make money while abroad, as well as find out how nonprofits function abroad. I plan on getting my nonprofit professional certification in the hopes of starting a 501©3 focused on environmental issues; therefore, this nonprofit opportunity is essential to my vocational goals. I expect to gain skills related to communication, marketing strategy, and networking while abroad. This experience will shape me into the nonprofit professional I desire to be. Also, it will help me get a feel for the marginalized in the Northern Ireland community. I’m eager to see if there are any religious affiliations or correlations with the less-fortunate groups. 

Blog 4

I plan to get involved with as many things as I can, whether or not that be a book club, a running club, a movie club, or an art club. I hope to find some common ground with the locals quickly so that I get more chances to form my inner circle and build relationships. The phrase “living like a local” means seeing occurrences from their perspective and doing things a certain way with knowing their cultural reasoning behind it. It means that you are confident enough to perform certain actions without being seen as an outsider or foreigner. As for immersing fulling within the community, I plan on dealing with this hands on with the County Armagh Community Development Agency. One of my biology professors has worked with this nonprofit agency himself, so I have connections through him to get involved in the community. Specific opportunities that my host institution provides is a wide variety of environmental science classes. Maryville college does not offer many environmental science classes, much less marine biology because Tennessee is an inland state. However, my host community is located on the riverside and is known for its outside laboratory work.
            I image my average day will consist of going to class, attending club meetings, volunteering, and traveling as much as possible in the meantime. I think some of my biggest challenges will be the staple diet and me missing my family. Otherwise, I think I have it under control. Ireland and Northern Ireland are known for their porridge, large servings, and potatoes. I’m a vegetarian that loves food, so large portions and potatoes work well for me, but I hope they separate their lamb, pork, beef, or chicken from their porridge. Also, I hope that the new relationships I form will suppress my homesickness. Before I get overwhelmed with people who don’t have the same norms as I do, I hope to find some common ground and realize where they are coming from. These are my goals.

Blog 5

I've been planning on going to law school for several years now. The application process can be very competitive and the scholarships for it are even more competitive. This program could help me stand out when applying to schools and for scholarships. Additionally, I want to try to work for the FBI in the further into the future as a profiler, and this particular course could really give me a taste of what I'd be doing. I'm hoping this course will help be determine if I really want to go into the FBI or just intend to stay as a lawyer. One thing that I'm planning on doing while abroad is journalling. I'm doing this for myself, but also as a way to remember my trip better if someone were to ask me in an interview for a school or scholarship. I hope to learn more about the mindset of a criminal to help me when prosecuting or investigating a crime. Additionally, I want to expand an interest that I already have.

Workplace Differences

As I prepare to depart for New Zealand, I have looked into how my workplace there might be different from what I have experienced in the U.S. I found a lot about this topic on  On this website, it says that typically, Kiwis like to have a more hands-off approach from managers than people from many other countries. This site also claims that they are respectful of higher-ups but typically speak to them in a casual manner. From interviewing with my job site in New Zealand, I have also learned from my employer that Kiwis are very laid back people. I think that all of this sounds like a very good fit for the way I like to work and interact with my co-workers. My employer in New Zealand also told me during our interview that Kiwis are typically very laid back. I honestly think that the most difficult part of working in New Zealand will be understanding the accents and phrases that are different from ones I use, but that can be overcome by asking for clarification. New Zealand sounds like it will be a great fit for me!

Vocation and Study Abroad

This program from CEA is specifically focused on history and journalism which are aspects of both of my majors. It not only allows the participant to attend a class but also to have an internship. The history of Europe has always fascinated me, so, I will be taking a class on Central European history and working with interviews of people who witnessed many historical events which directly ties into my potential career path: writing historical fiction. This applies to both of my majors: interviewing relates to communications and meeting holocaust survivors relates to history. This ties not only into my professional goals for the trip but also to my personal goals as well. Through studying abroad, I intend to learn more about the history of Europe, experience what it is like to live in another country and build relationships with non-US citizens.

I chose to apply to this program since I am a double major with a minor; therefore, my schedule during the regular semester is quite full. The fact that this program is also combined with an internship helps me not only to get the international experience I am looking forward to, but it will also help work my SPE or writing communications internship into my busy schedule. Hopefully, this opportunity will help me decide what kind of grad school I want to attend after I graduate from college.

Blog 5 - Vocation

Unlike many other students, I am not studying abroad to meet major requirements. Sure, I'll need to take a couple of computer science courses abroad, but I'm primarily studding to finish my Japanese minor, and to study abroad for its own sake. The skills I want to gain the most from the experience is Spanish/Japanese comprehension, as well as personal development and a more focused idea of what I want my career to be. I will take classes in areas that interest me, such as computer science, history, and language, so I will get a difference perspective on those subjects that might propel me in one direction or another. I do not plan on interning or volunteering while I'm there, rather trying to get as much out of the new university environment as possible, so probably trying to interact with others on campus as much as I can.