Getting Ready to Study Abroad

With two months left before I leave for my semester abroad in Ireland, I have started fully comprehend the adventure that is ahead of me. Studying abroad can be a pivotal point in a students college experience.

One of the things that attracted me to Linfield was the study abroad programs offered. I knew that I was going to study abroad, I just needed to pick a location. I am terrible with languages so I knew I needed an English speaking program. I have also always dreamed of traveling through Europe so that narrowed it down. As soon as I saw pictures of Ireland, I was sold.

As soon as I got my acceptance letter it hit me that I would be spending a semester in a foreign country. I have never been outside of the United States and got my first passport earlier this year.

I am nervous about navigating the streets of Ireland, going grocery shopping for myself and the small differences that are no doubt going to stand out to me as soon as I get there. Although I am apprehensive about some parts of going abroad, I am also excited to experience a different culture.

Everyone I have ever talked to says that it is a life changing experience and when else am I going to get the chance to live in a foreign country for five months? Traveling has been something I have always been passionate about and I am excited to do it on a global scale.

There are several Linfield programs that take students oversees for a semester or a Jan Term. Emma Beuerman and Margaret Lever will be participating in study abroad experiences this coming January.

Check out the video below to learn about what they are most excited for and what they are nervous about!

Study Abroad: Katie DeVore

Linfield offers many study abroad programs for students. These experiences give students the opportunity to learn about another culture while being fully immersed in the day to day life of the country.

It also gives students the chance to experience a school that is significantly different Linfield. I will be studying at the National University of Ireland Galway which has around 17,000 students. This will be a big change from the 1,500 students that I currently go to school with.

This was one of the things that intrigued me about Galway. I have loved the size of Linfield and the small class sizes that are a staple on linfield brochures for prospective students. Although I am certain of my choice of schools, I have always wondered what it would be like to go to a large school and now I will have the opportunity to try it out for a semester.

Each study abroad program has unique features that make it different. Katie DeVore studied abroad in Australia and her school was just a few miles from the beach. Her experience took her to places she never would have been able to go to if she had stayed in McMinnville.

Each person has their own study abroad story and I am excited to begin creating mine.

Katie discusses her study abroad experience below:

How to Pack for A Road Trip

There are many advantages to going on a road trip versus flying to your destination. Of course, one of the main reasons is because of the beautiful scenery you miss out on when flying above the clouds, but there are other pluses that one may not think of when choosing their mode of transportation.

Having significantly more room to bring road trip necessities is a big advantage. When beginning to pack for a road trip, there are several things to keep in mind. One thing that may not seem important is water. We are spoiled here in the pacific northwest with our clear and crisp tasting water. This is not the case in other states, especially the further south you get. This is why it is important to remember some water so your snobby tastebuds aren’t assaulted by the flavor.

Another must is a pillow. I didn’t realize how big of a difference this would make to the comfort level as I sat for hours in the front seat but it did. Placing it behind your back helps you sit up straight and not hate yourself when you finally reach a rest stop. There are a variety of ways to make yourself more comfortable on the road.

A swim suit is a must just in case your hotels along the way have a swimming pool. Sitting in the jacuzzi was just what I needed to relax my muscles after sitting in the car for hours. I was refreshed and ready for the next day and very thankful I had remembered my swim wear.

Comfortable clothes are an obvious must for any form of travel. Stretchy pants increase mobility and allow for a much more enjoyable trip, but there is a variety of road trip fashion you can try out.

Finally, snacks are arguably the most important part of any trip. The greatest part of traveling by car is that there is plenty of space for snacks, so stock up. Munching on some chips can make the drive go that much faster.

Once you have the necessities you are ready to go!

Deeper Connections While Traveling

Travel is a great way to get out and see other cultures and communities. While any kind of travel  is beneficial, it is hard to really immerse yourself in a culture when you are lounging by the pool at a resort rather than exploring the town.

Volunteering in another community can help you make a deeper connection to the place you’re visiting. I had a first hand experience with this my first year at Linfield when I went to Oakland and San Fransisco to volunteer at a Head Start preschool and at the Boys and Girls Club during my spring break.

I had visited San Fransisco once before and had a great time, but this time was different. Working with students and seeing their daily life gave me a better understanding of the community I was visiting.

At the Boys and Girls Club I met a little girl named Skye. Skye became my buddy the entire week I was there. I helped her with her homework and played games with her everyday. On my last day volunteering we went into the craft room. We both worked on our crafts and once we finished, Skye gave me her creation. It had “Friends forever” written on it. It made me realize that I had made a connection in Oakland deeper than visiting a highly ranked restaurant or shop.

Jennifer Porter had a similar experience when she went on a mission trip with her church to Belize. In this video, Jennifer explains what she did, how Belize differs from the United States and the connections she made while there.

Weekend Adventure: Erratic Rock

After a long week of classes or work it is tempting to stay in bed and watch netfilx all weekend. While it is important to take a breather every once in a while, it is also important to go out and explore. Day long adventures are often just what is needed to rejuvenate and get ready for another week of craziness.

They are a chance to get away from the usual and breath in some fresh air. Taking a break from homework and going on a short adventure for a few hours are often times just what is needed.

There are several places to go that are not to far away from campus. One of my favorite, and the closest is Erratic Rock. The short hike up to this flat shaped rock makes it the perfect place to relax with a view. The hills and vineyards of Yamhill County can be seen in a panoramic view.

While the daytime views are fantastic, Erratic Rock is also a great place to star gaze. Wine country offers sprawling land without streetlights allowing for an undisturbed view of the twinkling balls of fire.

The flat rock is the perfect place to lay, bundled in blankets, with friends and gaze above. When the sky is clear, it is not uncommon to see several shooting stars cross through the sky.

This is the perfect place to getaway for a few hours and relax in nature. Finding a spot like this is often just what is needed to get away form the monotony of the week.

Travel Companion

Travel companions can make or break a road trip. Being stuck in the car with someone for hours on end can be the great or it can be horrible. When planning on going on a road trip, make sure you are prepared to be entertained by the person you are traveling with. There are several aspects of travel that you and your travel companion must be compatible with including entertainment, sleep schedule and how you handle unexpected situations.

I was fortunate enough to have a great travel partner for my cross country road trip. Daniel and I have been friends for years, but this trip was going to be a real test. As we embarked on our trip, it didn’t take long for me to realize we were going to be fine.

Our similar taste in music (Pop2K is a great satellite radio station) and podcasts, which made our trip much more enjoyable. The real test of our partnership came when we had an unexpected blip in our plan. While we didn’t set out with any specific plans, we did want to get through Kansas in one day. Before we were to leave Colorado to begin our journey, we were going to go on a hike.

Daniel and I still smiling after six days on the road
Daniel and I still smiling after six days on the road

We had decided to try and do something in each of the states we went through and this was it. Everything was going according to plan until Daniel locked his keys in the car. After waiting about two hours for roadside assistance we were ready to go. While this inconvenience may have thrown off the whole day for some people, Daniel and I left it behind and decided to do everything we had planned for the day.

Although this put us back a few hours, neither of us seemed to mind. Traveling with someone who can go with the flow is incredibly important and I was lucky enough to find that person.