September, 2011

Bienvenido a Cádiz…y España!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

By: Sam Bradley-Kelly, Foster Undergraduate

Hola a todos! My name is Samuel Bradley-Kelly.  I am a senior studying Business Administration with a focus in Finance and International Business (CISB Program: Spanish Track), as well as a Foster Honors student.  I decided to complete my study abroad in Cádiz, Spain because of two reasons.  The first was due to the persuasion of my fellow colleagues who did this program last year.  The second was due to the Dutch students I met while studying abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico my first year at UW; they convinced me that I had to go to Europe.

Cádiz is a beautiful town situated on a peninsula in the southeast corner of Spain.  Locally-owned stores line up the allies of Casco Viejo, which is the old part of town that I’m currently living in and where the university is located. At dusk, there is the opportunity to witness photo-perfect sunsets.

As a business major, what excites me the most is that Cádiz is big for their port (along with tourism).  The port is located 5 minutes away from me and is nearly the size of many medium to large-sized ports in the US.  Another beauty, that I have the chance of strolling through every single day, is Plaza Mina which is a block from my place. Late at night, families love to find a bench or an outside restaurant to post up at and enjoy the harmonization of a summer breeze, a cold beer or helado (ice cream), and young children playing fútbol or other various games.

Many of us that are a part of this program have had the chance to also explore other cities in Spain which include Ronda and Sevilla.  Ronda is famously known for the three bridges or Puente Romano (Roman-style bridges) as well as their traditional bullfight that takes place once a year (unfortunately we left a few hours before the event was to take place).

Sevilla is one of the main connecting cities to Madrid (by plane and train) as well as to other European countries as it serves host to an international airport (which I will be using to go to Paris in a few weeks!).  Sevilla is a fantastic get-a-way especially for those that are in search of Flamenco.  I personally want to thank Madison for putting together this great trip, especially picking out a great hostel called Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel.  Also, the evening that I got to personally witness a local Flamenco show, a few of us had the chance to try out tapas near our hostel. Imagine a small plate with grilled ox sirloin skewer with honey garlic sauce.  The best part of this dish is not the meat but using the free bread to dip into the leftover sauce.

If I put my finger on one of the best cultural moments in Spain so far, it would be the night that we were in Sevilla. As we were walking to go watch this Flamenco show, we encountered a group of locals outside of a restaurant playing musical instruments and singing traditional folklore songs.  I included a picture to give visual meaning.

I look forward to continue sharing my experience with everyone over the next three months of my journey! Chao!

A Tropical Getaway

Friday, September 30th, 2011

By: Eve Churaisin, Foster Undergraduate

Sawasdee kaa! In the Thai language, “Sawasdee” is “hello” and “kaa” is what females say at the end of a sentence to denote politeness.

I just returned from my trip to Thailand a few days ago, and all I can say is that I already miss it. It was a nice tropical getaway, and it was nice to get my mind off of school and bond with the other exchange students. We took the ferry from Krabi to Goh Phi Phi where we stayed for two nights, then we took the ferry from Krabi to Railay where we stayed in a resort for one night, and then we took a boat from Railay back to Krabi where we stayed in a hostel for one night.

Goh Phi Phi was very touristy. Besides the locals who resided on that island, it was filled with a college students on exchange. As quoted by one of my friends, the guys looked like they were dressed as if they were from SoCal wearing their plaid shorts. The girls were walking around in short shorts. On the island, restaurants and beach wear shops were all over the place. The nice thing about Thailand, in general, is that you can bargain on an item you would like to purchase. I was able to negotiate with the salesperson on a sarong that I wanted.

Beach parties took place every night on this island and was basically “party central.” There was an awesome fire show where the performers would perform their tricks with fire on the beach or they would walk on a rope and perform their tricks while trying to maintain their balance. Besides the fire show, this was the place where many people danced the night away to good music.

While we were in Goh Phi Phi, we got to take the speedboat to Maya Bay where the movie, “The Beach,” was filmed. Ever since the movie was filmed, it has been a major tourist attraction when visiting Thailand. This was where I got to go snorkeling for the first time! It was great swimming with the fish, enjoying the nice view of the pretty blue water, and walking on the soft white sand along the water.

On the other hand, Railay was more of what we would imagine a tropical getaway to be. It was more peaceful, and it was full of resorts that overlooked the beautiful view of the beaches. We were able to sit in a fancy resort restaurant, enjoy the gorgeous view of the beach, and feel the breeze coming towards us. Also, we were able to get a Thai massage right by the beach. Railay, overall, was very relaxing.

It would be nice if I can go back in time! Unfortunately, now it’s time to face reality. I already had a quiz today for my Southeast Asian studies course, and I hope I did well on it. Now, it’s time to study up for my midterm that takes place this Saturday morning. Wish me luck!

Until next time!

Bergen Beginnings

Friday, September 30th, 2011

By: Stacey Kammerer, Foster Undergraduate

Hei hei! I’m Stacey, a senior of the Foster School, and am spending my fall semester in Bergen, Norway at NHH. Bergen is such a cute city (and very student friendly). It’s right on the water, and there are huge ships coming in all of the time. There’s also a fish market and about three shopping malls downtown. We have seven mountains surrounding the city. I’ve hiked one (or two?) of them so far. The only drawback about Bergen is that I think it rains here more than Seattle. But as they say here, there’s no bad weather in Bergen, just badly dressed people. The good news is that rain boots and Helly Hanson are fashionable here, so bring your rain gear. I like to think my Northface blends right in.

This year is the 75th anniversary of NHH, so there were a lot of celebrations two weeks ago. The Norwegian king came to the school as part of the ceremonies. There’s some construction going on here too, which reminds me of UW, but it’s scheduled to be done in 2012 I think, so you’ll have a nice, new building which can hopefully compete with Paccar. I signed up for something here called the Bergen Challenge, which I am excited about and am sure will be the topic of my next blog. We have had one get together, and I think I got to know more Norwegian students in one night that way than I have from my whole time here in Norway so far.

A bit about public health in the UK…and WALES!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By: Amanda Pressly, Foster Undergraduate

First off, I will be the first to admit I am probably among the most unlucky people in the world. I will also admit my first day/night in Manchester was hell. It all started to go bad when I missed my connecting flight and the airport lost my luggage, meaning I had no clean clothes or toiletries. By the time I arrived in Manchester I had already spent about 17 hours traveling, and it was another 2 before I got to the housing. When I got to my flat I realized not only was there was no one else there, there was also a lack of basic housing needs, i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, pots and pans, dishes, internet, and the bedding pack that I had pre-ordered. Needless to say I was not a happy camper, as it was literally almost like camping.

My motto that night was it can’t possibly get any worse, and finally I was right about one thing. The next morning I woke up to the sounds of a flat mate moving in (the dorm is set up weird to where you have to go upstairs to get into the general area, then go downstairs to the rooms).  She turned out to be really awesome and the first British friend I made. I spent the rest of the day with her and ended up meeting about 10 new people from all over the world. Admittedly the social scene in Manchester gets a lot better after a shower and a clean change of clothes. For the first week it was nothing but pubs, clubs, events, games, and hanging out; there is never nothing to do in Manchester, which is all very exciting at first, but by the time classes actually start the majority of students are practically brain dead.

The weekend before classes started I went on a trip to Wales with the international society; if you do anything it should involve Wales at least once. It was an amazing trip, the landscape is gorgeous and the atmosphere is completely different from Manchester. While it is important to get to know the city you are in, you should also take advantage of the fact that there is so much more to see and do.

The night I got home from Wales I was extremely ill, and had been for a few days. I tried to brush it off with a shower and lots of sleep, but couldn’t shake it. It got to the point where I was in so much pain that I had to go to the hospital. The reception helped me right away and got me to see a triage nurse. After several tests and three hours of observation, I was sent home with medication. Now, had I been in America this would have cost a fortune, but here everything was free, even the medication they gave me.

Today’s lesson takeaways:

  • Book a flight with a longer layover time
  • Pack extra clothes in your carryon bag just in case
  • Be prepared to spend much more than anticipated
  • Don’t overdue the partying, as tempting as it may be, be sure to take a few nights off
  • Explore surrounding areas
  • Make loads of friends
  • And above all, if you are going to get seriously ill or injured, do it in the UK

Time of My Life

Monday, September 26th, 2011

By: Cassandra Bass, Foster Undergraduate

So, to introduce myself I’m Cassandra Bass, am studying Marketing, and am in my third year at Foster. Wow, Germany, where to start? I have already been here in Mannheim, Germany for two months and am having the time of my life. Germany is such an amazing country with incredible people and beautiful cities and culture. Coming here to study abroad is probably the best decision I’ve made so far in my college career. Before I arrived I was worried that I might have a difficult time meeting a lot of native Germans, and I might spend the majority of my time with other international students. Nothing against other international students (I’ve met people from all over the world and it is amazing!), but I just really wanted a true German experience. Luckily, I’ve found it very easy to meet Germans and fit in with the culture here.

I think that one of the best choices I made concerning my study abroad program was deciding to attend the Summer Academy here at Mannheim. It’s a month long intensive German seminar before the fall semester starts. It gave me a good chance to familiarize myself with the city, meet many other international students, improve my language skills, and also meet a lot of Germans. I would highly encourage anyone who is considering attending the University of Mannheim to attend the Summer Academy. They offer excursions every weekend to help you get out and see the sights. I went to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, canoed to Heidelberg, went wine-tasting in the countryside, and went on a brewery tour in Mannheim all in my first month here!

Before I came to Mannheim, my original plan was to live in student housing. At first, when all the housing filled up and I realized I was going to have to find an apartment in Mannheim I was pretty scared. However, I found an apartment where I live with two German students and another exchange student from Australia. In the end, the fact that I wasn’t able to get into student housing was a stroke of extremely good luck. Living with Germans has allowed me the chance to constantly speak German and to see another side of Mannheim that I might not have been introduced to if I hadn’t had many close German friends. On the topic of student housing, if you are considering coming to Mannheim I would really recommend not choosing to live in a dorm. The majority of the dorms are located fairly far from campus and aren’t the cleanest. I would recommend finding an apartment to sublease with German students. It will guarantee you the best cultural experience here in Mannheim.

The city of Mannheim itself is great. It’s about 300,000 people so it’s not the largest city in Germany, but it’s big enough to still offer good nightlife and culture and small enough to navigate easily. The university itself sponsors a lot of the nightlife, which is actually very fun, and thousands of students show up every week to their events. VISUM, a student organization here on campus, also organizes parties and events to help international students meet each other and other German students. They have a buddy program too, which is helpful if you want a German contact immediately upon your arrival in Mannheim to help answer your questions. Overall, German efficiency is everywhere here, making it easy to organize anything having to do with school, living, traveling, etc. Most Germans speak fairly good English so even if you don’t speak German it’s easy to get by. On that subject, you will have to go through some formalities registering as a resident of the city and country through the city hall here in Mannheim. This can be challenging if you don’t speak any German. However, most Germans and other internationals who know German are very friendly and willing to help out!

So I guess I should mention the school itself. The University of Mannheim is known in Europe for being one of the top business schools, and you definitely get the feeling that it is when you are here. If you tell anyone from Germany that you are attending the Uni Mannheim they are always impressed and tell you what good opportunities you will have. So far, I’ve found this to be true in my classes. All of my professors are great and extremely interesting. The registration process is fairly simple. Even if you don’t register for a class and still want to join it, professors are very open to international students just showing up on the first day and signing up there. Well, that’s all I have for now. Until next time, tschüss!

Learning to Kick it Mancunian Style

Monday, September 26th, 2011

By: Nathan Whitson, Foster Undergraduate

Studies at the University of Manchester (Manchester, England) have finally begun! My name is Nathan Whitson. I am currently a Senior at UW, my focus being finance. At this point, I have been in Manchester for a little over a week and have genuinely had the time of my life. The people are incredible, the city is gorgeous, and the University is bounds better than what I expected.

It seems appropriate to spend a bit of time highlighting differences I have been slowly adapting to. First off, the fact cars drive on the left side of the road may be the most dangerous thing I will come across during my time here. Every night out and even on casual strolls to the shops, it never fails to confuse me. I’ve continually told my flat mates that I will get hit by a car at some point (though lets hope not!) Another major difference is the bus and transit system. I have never been to a city that is so connected. People say the Oxford Road bus line from Uni to city center is the busiest in all of Europe. Not surprising, there are double deck buses at the stop every 2 minutes! Manchester has also done an exquisite job of altering modern architecture as to not overwhelm the older parts of the city. It really is beautiful. Finally, football; No, not the football we all cherish in the U.S. I am talking about ‘the beautiful game.’ Manchester is known as a Mecca in the football world, and not surprisingly, it is woven into the lives of almost all Mancunians. I was never a fan of ‘soccer’ as a child, though my views on the sport will surely change after attending both Manchester City and Manchester United matches this fall. You should be able to see who I support based off of their order in that sentence!

Another highlight of my time at the University of Manchester has been the people. Even after a week I see stark differences between them and most Americans. They know how to have loads of fun. The first week at Uni is called freshers week and it is absolutely bonkers. There aren’t many places in the U.S. (or any) where you have 4,000 college freshman literally descending into an area’s pubs and clubs. Every night is a massive party, for 8 days straight. Apart from the droves of partying students, it is easy to see Manchester is a boiling pot of different cultures. Just on the way to Uni I have to bus through what students call ‘The Curry Mile’, and Manchester has the largest Chinatown in the UK. The diversity doesn’t end there. The University of Manchester has 8,000 international students. That is 1 out of every 4 students at the University, awesome. This oddball group of students helps to drive the most fashionable culture and city I have ever seen. I really don’t want to imagine the shopping madness in London. Though, I will soon find out since it is only 2 hours away by rail!

Until next time,


La Dolce Vita

Monday, September 26th, 2011

By: Camilo Moreno-Salamanca, Foster Undergraduate

As I complete my first month in Milano and start my third week of classes at Universitá Bocconi, I can safely say that it has been an amazing ride. Now I’m about to say what perhaps every student who goes abroad says, but this is definitely one of the best decisions I had made in my life. Sure, I remember that anxiety Andrea talked about just before your board the plane, or the uncertainty I felt as I spent my first night at the Malpensa airport (Tom Hanks made it look easy, but at least I managed to find some nice comfy benches…only until 4am though), but overall it has been quite a journey.

Finding housing was a bit difficult, hence the “me staying at the airport the first night” situation. However, another UW student and friend of mine, Brooke, let me stay in her room the next couple of nights while I searched for apartments.  Finally, I settled for a cozy little studio in Viale Bligny (pretty close to Bocconi) and I am pay about 700eu for it. Given that it is a studio, and close to campus, it wasn’t such a bad deal.












The first week is never very pleasant. Besides feeling overwhelmed with a new language, trying to find your way, and doing all the paperwork you need to do, like the Permit of Stay, you tend to have somewhat stressful days. However, once you get those out of the way, the vibrancy of Milano will take over you and will plant a passion for this city that blossoms very quickly (can’t you tell I’m already in love?).







Milanese people are generally nice, they don’t make fun of you for trying to speak Italian, so you should absolutely try everywhere you go. Don’t be that American that thinks everyone speaks English, it makes you look arrogant, and doesn’t get you anywhere as most people in Milano don’t speak English.  The language has been a particularly frustrating part for me, not because it’s too difficult for me to learn ( I speak Spanish so I tend to pick it up quicker), but because I wish I had been fluent by the time I came here. While I have had pretty good conversations with other exchange students and other Italians in English/Spanish, I know that I am missing out on some great life-changing conversations because my Italian is not at that level yet. So for future students be warned: The difference between you having an amazing time, and the time of your life is very much dependent on how much Italian you know. Fortunately, I practice daily by either speaking it, listening to conversations (best excuse for eavesdropping), and listening to Italian music, as well as reading their newspaper “Corrielle della sera”. Also, there is a language course offered at Bocconi that exchange students can audit, so that is starting to prove pretty helpful as well.







The cultural activities here are endless. Between museums having free entrance nights, food festivals, and of course Milano Fashion Week (in progress), there is always something to do everyday. Going to the Duomo (the cathedral) is always breathtaking for its architecture as much as for the buzz of activity around it. The Duomo is the heart of Milano, so exploring that area will give you a true feel for the Milanese lifestyle.  Close to it is the Scala (one of the world’s most famous Opera Houses), a vast array of museums, small theaters, and restaurants, as well as Via Montenapoleone, where some of the biggest luxury brands in the world have stores there (e.g. Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc.).







There seems to be a rhythm and routine to Milanese life. In the morning, you either study or work, with a nice long break for lunch and a quick coffee after. Then around 8 you have “Aperitivo” which is basically Happy Hour. While this is an Italian tradition, no town celebrates it more than Milano. There are Aperitivo places everywhere and for 10eu (about $14) you get 1 or 2 drinks and an endless buffet which varies in quality depending where you go. Typically, it will have pizza, foccaccia, some penne pasta, rice, and some prosciutto. Of course, in some of these places you can order restaurant type meals, but expect to pay at least 10eu for a dish (things in Milano are a bit expensive). After Aperitivo, at about 11pm people will head to the nightclubs, where the fun doesn’t stop until 4am. For exchange students there are discounts pretty much everywhere, so it’s very easy to go out. Having said that, take those discounts as a way to save money for other things rather than to abuse it. While the social aspect is very important you are still in school, and it shows maturity to be able to balance both.

Classes here are a bit different that the U.S. To be honest, I found people to be more disrespectful here (coming in 20-30 minutes late, answering calls and whispering on the phone, or having semi-loud conversations between people as the teacher lectures). However, I found the teachers to be pretty knowledgeable and encouraging of student participation. Since the courses are in English, I have an easy time participating and understanding, but I grow quite impatient when the instructor repeats concepts over and over again. At the same time, I have come to understand that this is very helpful for students who haven’t mastered English as well as I have, so I have come to accept it. If I was taking the courses in Italian, I would definitely appreciate the teacher repeating concepts, so it’s a fair trade.

As I venture more into Italy and other parts of Europe I hope to give a greater perspective of Italian and European culture. Now I’m going to go back to living “La Dolce Vita”.

Ciao raggazzi!

Welcome to Singapore, My Friends!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011


By: Eve Churaisin, Foster Undergraduate

It’s been a little over a month and a half since my arrival in Singapore, and it’s been a great once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just to introduce myself, my name is Eve Churaisin, and I am going into my final year at the UW studying Finance and Information Systems. I chose to go to Singapore on exchange because Singapore is an English-speaking country, and it is the fourth largest financial center in the world. I would like to use this as an opportunity to build a network base in Southeast Asia. I am currently studying at the National University of Singapore where I am taking Financial Markets, Macro and International Economics, and Old and New Music in Southeast Asia. It’s already halfway through the semester so midterms are coming up quickly!

The class structure here is quite similar to the UW. There are about 40 people in my Financial Markets class, and exams and group projects primarily make up the final grade. For my Economics and Southeast Asian course, there is a lecture and discussion section since they are both larger classes. Lectures take place only once a week for two hours and discussion section takes place once a week for an hour. Lessons may take place less often, but that just means that more material is covered each session. The material taught in the classes at NUS is more dense and faster paced. Classes here are definitely very competitive, because students here study their hearts off and aim to be at the very top of the competitive pool.

We all know that Singapore is a “fine” country. There is $1000 fine for smoking on the train and a $500 fine for eating and drinking on the train. Durian is not even allowed on the train. Period. Gum has also been forever banned from the country. Even though the government imposes a lot of fines, there is one thing that they haven’t banned yet and that is drinking publicly on the streets. There is a bridge in this one area of Singapore, Clarke Quay, where many locals and foreigners enjoy drinking and enjoying the view of the Singapore River at night. In case you didn’t know, the legal drinking age here is 18. Singapore is known for its exciting nightlife where people enjoy dancing the night off at the clubs until 4am. Not only that, people enjoy wandering the busy streets at night just to go out for a late night meal, or a second dinner, known as “supper.” The exciting nightlife is one major aspect of the Singaporean culture.

Since it’s halfway through the semester, we get a mid-semester week-long break known as Recess Week. This is the time students should spend studying for midterms that are coming up. On the other hand, this is the week that exchange students explore the surrounding countries. Traveling to other countries in Southeast Asia from Singapore is relatively cheap. I will be heading off to the southern part of Thailand with the other exchange students where we will get to relax and enjoy the view of the beautiful beaches.

Until I return from Thailand, bye for now!

A Few Facts About Santiago, Chile

Monday, September 12th, 2011

By: Nicole Winjum, Foster Undergraduate

I have been working on this blog post for awhile, making note of differences and simple facts of life I have seen while living in Santiago, Chile. It’s certainly not a complete list, and I am sure I’m forgetting something, but here are a few of the things I’ve noticed.

PDA: There is a lot of it, and not just the hand-holding, brief kiss on the lips kind. I’m talking making out on the subway, literally lying on top of each other in the park, openly groping each other in the street kind. In the United States, PDA is usually frowned upon, and while you might see the occasional couple going at it, those sightings are few and far between. But not here. If you are young and in love in Santiago, you are all for displaying that love for everybody to see. Seeing couples being so touchy-feely in public has definitely taken some getting used to.

Dogs: They are everywhere. Not only does just about every Chilean family seem to own a dog or three, but there is an abundance of street dogs with no apparent home. You can always hear dogs barking at all hours of the day and night and everywhere you look there are dogs laying about in the sun. And the truly surprising thing is that, unlike the half-starved mangy dogs in Costa Rica, these dogs all seem to be fairly well fed.

Streets: Nobody cleans them. I mean, not every street is covered in stuff, but many are. This was most noticeable in Valparaiso, but it’s true in Santiago too. The other day when I was riding the Micro (that’s the bus system) we passed by a street that looked like an entire farmers market worth of vegetables got thrown about. It was crazy. And it isn’t just vegetables and pieces of plastic. Due to the abundance of dogs I mentioned earlier, there is dog crap everywhere. You have to constantly be on the lookout so you don’t accidentally step in something gross.

Bread: Eaten with every meal. Which is actually something I am quite thrilled with. I love bread and, due to my somewhat finicky eating habits, it is often the only food I can eat while traveling to foreign countries. But the Chileans eat bread as often as the French. It’s primarily sold in these funny little 4-roll loaves (see photo). For breakfast you might have one or two rolls slathered in butter and jam with a cup of tea. For lunch and dinner, you may use a roll to clean your plate or as an appetizer. For dessert, a little bit of manjar spread on some bread can not be beat. I was surprised by the sheer amount of bread consumed here, but I am not complaining!

Smoking: Everybody does it. I’m no stranger to smoking. My mom smokes, and I know a lot of people who might smoke a cigarette or two while drinking, but most of the people I know back home really do not smoke. Which is not that surprising considering the ad campaigns and research studies we are inundated with, telling us that smoking kills. But here it is as if nobody is getting those messages. I have heard about places like France having a lot of smokers, but I just was not really expecting it here. The most surprising is the number of younger Chileans that smoke, college age and even younger. In the US, it seems like the majority of smokers that I know are older, people who have been smoking before the health risks became so well known. But in any case, this has been one of the harder things to become accustomed too, since I really can’t stand the smoke.

Lemons: They love them. Seriously, I never knew people could like lemons so much; they put it on everything. You ordered a salad? Squeeze some lemon juice on it. You’re eating some fish? It’ll taste better with some lemon juice on it. You want a snack? Just snack on a lemon. I have literally seen people on the bus just sucking on a lemon. With dinner every night we usually have a side salad, which is iceberg lettuce with lemon juice, oil, and salt. Sometime we will have a carrot salad or a broccoli salad or a cauliflower salad. Which just involves said vegetable, lemon juice, oil, and salt. I believe I’m actually becoming quite fond of lemons. :)

A few other things to note…

  • The typical greeting is the one-cheek kiss, and it can get awkward if you go for the handshake and they go for your face.
  • They are big fans of avocado here, which surprised me for some reason, but I love avocado so it’s okay with me.
  • There is a sad lack of cheese here, and the few types they have are pretty expensive. I want to eat more or less like a local, so it isn’t so bad, but I am definitely missing cheese.
  • Names can get a bit confusing: In my 25-person Marketing class, there are 7 girls named Maria.
  • This isn’t the Spanish you have been learning in class. Yes the words are more or less the same, but their vocab is a little different and some phrases have different connotations. They also speak very fast here and sometimes drop the “s”. The youth say cachai? after almost every sentence which basically means “you know” “understand?”
  • Ciao is the customary goodbye around here. I know I lot of countries use Ciao as a goodbye, but I still associate it with Europe, so it caught me a bit off guard.