Emily (front left) and friends at an OSU football game. Go Beavs!

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Emily is a direct exchange student from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. This is a College of Business international exchange program offered to students intrested in studying international business. Arriving here in Fall to study Business and Exercise and Sports Science, Emily tells us about her time in Beaver Nation.

What inspired you to pick OSU?
I had heard great things about OSU from people who had studied abroad here in the past and I also loved the idea of living in a college town on the West Coast. Before applying for OSU I hadn’t heard much about Oregon but I was excited to explore such a unique state.

In what ways is OSU different from your home university?
There are honestly too many things to mention. However, the college sport has stood out as a big one, the atmosphere is amazing! My home university is in the suburbs of a major city so most people live at home and commute to uni everyday so living in a small college town surrounded by students has been a big change but so much fun too.

In what ways is OSU similar to your home university?
They both have great international/study abroad programs and the staff have been great on both sides of the world. Both have a very diverse range of study options and are in great locations that make it easy to travel on the weekends and during breaks.

What is one memorable experience you’ve had in Oregon?
People making fun of my accent! No matter where I go or who I speak to there’s always someone who will mention it. It’s always fun when my friends and I come across words that we say differently or have different meanings. We speak the same language but you’ll be amazed at how many times we can’t understand each other!

What are some of your favorite aspects of studying abroad?
I have loved meeting new people and discovering what its like to live in the PNW and other places within the US and around the world. I’ve also really enjoyed trying new foods, experiencing ‘college life’ and learning about American culture, which I’ve found to be quite different! I have also loved having the opportunity to be independent and travel!

What has been one challenging aspect of studying abroad?
Being away from family and friends during celebrations such as birthdays and Christmas was tough, but having such incredible friends here at OSU made it so much easier to be away from home.

How will your time abroad affect your future career or life?
This experience has taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be. Although I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do in terms of a career, my experiences here have definitely confirmed my love for travelling and exploring. I have had the opportunity to develop new relationships with people, deal with tough situations and find my way around the world- which are all skills that can’t be taught in a classroom but will definitely have an impact on the rest of my life.

What is one “take away” or lesson from this experience?
‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’. Go for it.

What is one thing, person, or experience you are excited to reunite with when you return to your home country?
I’m definitely most excited to see my dog when I get home! Being away from him for so long has been one of the most challenging parts of this whole experience.

What is your message for OSU students considering studying abroad in your home country?
Go for it!! This has honestly been one of the most rewarding, challenging and exciting experiences that I’ve had in my life and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I now have close friends in Oregon and all over the world, I’ve learnt so much about the American way of life, and I’ve discovered a new meaning of the word ‘independence’. For those looking to study abroad in Australia, don’t be turned off by the wildlife! It’s not as dangerous as you think!

If you’d like to learn more about going on exchange to Emily’s university, follow this link!

 Jenna Wiegand, a senior in the University Honors College majoring in both Finance and Sustainability, spent fall term in the Turks and Caicos Islands studying marine ecology and environmental policy through The School for Field Studies. During her time studying in the South Caicos Islands, she wrote this entry about her new, and sometimes out of the ordinary life abroad.

Jenna Weigand- SIT South Caicos (2)

Those that know me know that I sometimes have “a day for change” where I try something new. While this is usually food because I am a terribly picky eater, these last two months in South Caicos have witnessed me trying too many new things to remember—things that are now so commonplace, but posed such discomfort only two months ago. I’ve made a list of a few of those new experiences that are now a part of my daily life:

  • My ears are always salty from the constant snorkels and research dives. Every afternoon we have a field exercise or activity in the water, so there is hardly a day where I go more than six hours without being in saltwater (either the ocean or our saltwater showers). There is no fix to this.
  • My bed is always sandy. There is no fix to this either, unless I put a rinse bin at the base of my bunk since our dorm floor is perpetually sandy. Oh well. Consider it nightly exfoliation?
  • I have a serious bootie tan line. This is from my diving booties and this winter it will look like I am wearing permanent leggings.
  • I am now a vegetarian. This was mostly because we eat enough rice and beans anyway and the meat options are not that appealing; plus the black bean veggie burgers are much tastier.
  • All of us here at the field center count the days until the food boat comes in, and a pan of brownies calls for a stampede.
  • I tried tofu. (Shock of shocks) It was good.
  • Showering every 2 days or longer (once a week?) is perfectly acceptable here. Snorkeling and diving are seen as “pretty much showering” so there is no need for more. Yes, this is kind of nice but it is weird to think that what is completely normal here would never be fine in the U.S.
  • I am a pro at back-rolling off boats to go diving. And I’m getting a little bit more arm muscle from hauling around my gear, weights, and tank (what… 40, 50 pounds?? It’s ridiculous).
  • The best compliment you can receive here is “You look clean” or “Your hair looks clean”.
  • Special occasions (or just evening cravings) call for a trip to town to buy a pint of ice cream.
  • I can identify around 110 marine organisms… algae, corals, fish, sharks, rays.
  • I have held a couple of sharks and have tried to catch a turtle (yes, “turtling” is a real thing).
  • I have now spent 5.5 hours of my life underwater, and have dove to 73 ft!
  • I will never underappreciate a washing machine again. I now do laundry the “easy” route which means forfeiting my fresh water shower and using it to fill up a tote bin so I can hand scrub my clothes. And let me tell you, to decrease shower use more, the shower has a chain pull that you must hold down the entire time to continue the flow of water. So there is no way you will lose track of time and take a 20 minute shower.
  • Four pm snack might possibly be the best time of the day.
  • I don’t even know what a sweatshirt is anymore.

But clearly all is not bad in this place because I am loving it for the most part. Snorkeling and diving are indescribable, as are the sunsets. After dinner, the weather cools off and there is usually a breeze through the hammock area– then it is absolutely wonderful to be out. It is so nice to be a bit disconnected from technology and phones; a lot of the materialism and outward vanity of the U.S. is gone as well– you don’t have much, but it is so easy to be happy with what you have.

So at the end of the day this place is pretty awesome, even with the cockroaches and the salt.

Jenna Weigand- SIT South Caicos (1)

Lyndsay Toll is a senior studying Management and Business Administration. She studied abroad at the University of Murcia in Murcia, Spain through the College of Business exchange program.

Lyndsay Toll with Map l University of Murcia l SpainPeople

One of the best parts of studying abroad was meeting so many international people. I met a rainbow of people and explored not only my town (Murcia, Spain), but all over Spain. The local Spanish people I met opened their world up to me. They taught me their language, presented their favorite foods, and explained their culture, history, traditions, and beliefs. They showed me the beauty of their country and helped me acclimate to their environment. I was able to tutor children, learn at the university, play soccer with the locals, experience the culture, and explore the land. I was able to do more than I imagined. While I could have done it all on my own, it would have been much harder and less meaningful without the context and facilitation of the friends I made.


The most attractive part is commonly the adventure of the experience. While visiting multiple countries is intriguing, I highly encourage spending time traveling within the country you visit. I found amazing hikes, wineries, historic cities, palaces, festivals, and more by connecting with the locals and exploring their favorite parts.Spanish Scenery l University of Murcia l Spain


An interesting aspect of studying abroad is that you see the world’s problems in a different light. I became immersed in another lifestyle, political system, and economy. The comical phrase “first world problems” is quickly understood. Not every country has the same conveniences we have, making the lifestyle more interesting to adapt to. Also, while I was in Spain, I was in the midst of their economic crisis. I experienced strikes, protests, and sat next to people as they broke down in tears of despair over the uncertainty of their future. I experienced their political struggles and more. I’m not saying this to discourage people from traveling to Spain, in fact I found this a blessing.  Living in Spain gifted me with a more worldly perspective and understanding of different lifestyles, economies, and problems that are out there in the world. It’s hard to truly understand the issues going on in the world until you live there and see it for yourself.


The most valuable aspect of the trip was the perspective and understanding I gained. I got to live another life. I walked in the shoes of another culture, and saw the world from another view. I was able to learn what is truly important :Politics in the Streets l University of Murcia l Spain

-Nothing is more meaningful than your support network of friends and family;

-Nothing is more precious than the earth’s natural beauty;

-Nothing is more positively impactful than the ability to harmonize, understand, and work together.

While everyone takes away something different, I hope my takeaways have inspired some to embark on their own adventure and broaden their perspectives. Safe travels my fellow adventurers. Stay young.

Willen Sin is a student at Oregon State. He is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Asian studies. During fall term 2012, Willen studied abroad in Hong Kong, China through OSU: College of Business: Hong Kong, City University.

photo 2When I was in third grade, my dad was relocated to Singapore for two and a half years. He brought the whole family with him.  My father was a huge fan of traveling, so each break we would take family trips around Asia. We went to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, and Malaysia. Out of those places, I had a distant memory of Hong Kong. This memory motivated me to go back and relive Hong Kong as a young adult and remember this experience for years to come.  I also wanted to improve my language skills.  As a marketing and international business major, I wanted to be in an environment where I can strengthen my Cantonese and Mandarin speaking skills.  It is really hard to master a language unless you are in the environment 24/7 and are forced to use it. Little did I know, when I got there, I would gain valuable wisdom that I could have never imagined. photo 1

Students have a different attitude when they are abroad.  Everyone is open to meeting new people. Everyone is friendly, sincere, and genuinely interested in getting to know who you are and what your story is.  Due to the fact that the majority of the students are going to this new country blind in terms of what to expect, there is an instant connection that you make as you’re able to lean on one another for guidance.  During the first few weeks, you establish friendships that go a long way.  Many exchange students talk about meeting new people as one of the many advantages of going abroad, but for me, it is more than just meeting these people. The experience is about establishing relationships with the people you meet and broadening your network across the globe. Being in Hong Kong allowed me to meet people from The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Australia, India, Canada, and other countries.  Now if I am ever in want of these places, I will have a network of people that I can reach out to for assistance. Trust me; this makes your budget a lot more flexible.

photo 4Even if it is expensive, one thing you cannot miss out on while abroad is the ability to travel.  When I was in Hong Kong, I spent a lot of my time exploring different countries and new cultures.  I was fortunate enough to go to Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, China, and Taiwan. Each had its own individual culture and story to it. Obviously traveling can be fun, but one valuable lesson I learned was how large this world is and how small I am. There is so much going on around this world at one time; it is hard to learn and know everything. The best you can do is try to engage, be aware, and do not be afraid to try new things.

Trying new things was a huge motto going into Hong Kong fosnaker the entire exchange group.  One gruesome and exciting story that comes to mind is when a group of us decided to try snake. Coming from all different countries, snakes was one of the animals many cultures do not eat. .  The shop had a few options: snake soup, snake wine, or snake blood with a twist.  To no one’s surprise, a majority of the group stuck with the snake soup, but there was one brave student that was all for the snake blood.  The twist was that you had to drink the blood fresh from the snake.  You can see the commotion brought quite the crowd from the streets of Hong Kong as pedestrians, students, and families all watched this amazing, yet face-quenching scene.

I will end with that.  You will hear this from everyone, but going abroad is one of the best times you will have in your life.  From the places you go, the people you meet, the things you learn, and the stories you will share, studying abroad is a great investment in your education and your future.

Malorie Reimer is an International Ambassador at the International Degree and Education Abroad (IDEA) office. She is currently studying Environmental Economics and Policy and Business and Entrepreneurship.  As a native Canadian, Malorie gives an unique insight to the differences in the  American and Canadian culture.

Right above United States of America, on the world’s longest land border, is an enormous country full of rich culture. Although it is the second largest country on the planet, Canada is often referred to as the upper half, or ‘Hat’, to The United States. Even though it is nearby, there are many differences between the two nations that are interesting to learn about.

Fun Fact: Canada has the 4th lowest population density in the world. An average of roughly 3 people live in one square kilometer.

Before traveling to Canada, here are a few quick facts to start you out and help you learn about this diverse and wonderful country.

Population: 35 million (Nine tenths the population of California)

Official Languages: English and French


Canadian Word

American Translation

Tuque Beanie or Knitted Hat
Loonie One dollar coin with the common bird called  a loon on it
Washroom Restroom or Bathroom
The States United States of America
Pencil Crayon Colored Pencils
Tim Horton’s The Canadian Equivalent of Starbucks, Famous for their donuts and coffee
Garburator Garbage Disposal
Bunnie Hug A hooded sweatshirt without a zipper
Kraft Dinner Kraft Mac and Cheese
Chesterfield Couch or Sofa
Brown Bread Wheat bread
Parkade Underground parking lot
Housecoat Robe
Zed The letter Z pronounced ‘zee’ in United States


Canadian Cuisine:

Poutine: A French Canadian Dish including fries smothered with cheese and hot brown gravy.

Smarties: Instead of the American Smarties that are a small powdery sugar candy, Smarties in Canada are like flatter M&M’s.

Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo Bar: A dessert square that requires no baking. It contains three layers of deliciousness. The base is a chocolaty, wafer crumb layer topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavored butter icing and topped with melted chocolate.

Ketchup Chips: Possibly the most popular flavor of potato chips in Canada. Ketchup chips are a must try.

Butter Tart

Butter Tarts: Like a mini American Pecan pie but without the nut topping. They consist of a sugar, syrup, and egg filling all within a pastry shell. Sometimes raisins are added in.

Timbits: These are essentially donut holes that are bought from Tim Horton’s that come in a variety of flavors.

Myth or Fact?

We say ‘Eh.’ On American TV shows and movies Canadians are often ridiculed for the way they talk. Our most common word is thought to be the word ‘Eh.’ Although it may not be used in every single sentence, they truth is that it is used quite often. FACT

We all speak French. Canadians are often asked if they speak French or not. Although it is mandatory for grades 4-6 to study French, it is not commonly a fluent language for most people living in Canada. In the 2006 census, it was recorded that only 21.3% of Canadians have declared that their first language is French. MYTH

We don’t have an Army.  Due to Canada’s neutral nature we are assumed to have no army. The reality is that we actually do and they are called the Canadian Forces. The force consists of sea, land and air elements that include the Royal Canadian Navy, The Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. MYTH

It is always cold. Many people think that we might live in Igloos. People outside of Canada imagine that the country is covered in year-round snow. The truth is that only the very north of the Northern Territories contains snow year-round. Instead, most provinces contain a summer season which can average around the mid 80’s Fahrenheit. MYTH

 Our national sport is hockey. Due to the winning nature of Canadian hockey teams, hockey receives high recognition. Hockey was invented in Canada, is very popular, and is our national sport. But what most Americans don’t know is that hokey is our national winter sport. Our national summer sport is Lacrosse which was also invented in Canada. MYTH/FACT

Malorie Reimer is an International Ambassador for the International Degree and Education Abroad office. Malorie is studying Environmental Economics and Policy as well as Business and Entrepreneurship. She recently returned from studying abroad with Semester at Sea, where she visited eight different countries.

Upon returning after studying abroad with Semester at Sea, I was frequently asked some form of the same question: “How was your cruise?” or “Didn’t you go on some boat trip this summer?” Yes, I was on a large, cruise-like ship, but what people don’t realize is that it is basically a floating University. While holding around 550 students, the ship sent us across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and back during the span of two months. Visiting eight different countries allowed me to really experience the multi-cultural world we live in. I’ll be frank: this trip did include some lounging in the sun on the back deck, but often times it included studying and reading textbooks for upcoming midterms or finals.

In the nine classrooms and one major lecture hall there were over twenty different classes offered. The classrooms seemed similar to a regular classroom, but when I looked out the window there was open ocean instead of trees and land. With the small class sizes, I was really able to make the most out of my time. Since I was constantly afloat, I thought it would be beneficial to take a Marine Biology class to learn more about the ocean below me. Learning the scientific names of 50 marine organisms helped me identify the diverse sea-life around me. Out of the many things I saw in the ocean, the most interesting was a flying fish. It is a fish that shoots out and soars above water for sometimes 30 seconds in order to escape predators. Snorkeling in multiple countries was another highlight and allowed me to immerse myself with the sea-life and study their ecosystems.

It was when I was sitting in the water of Croatia with snorkeling gear on when I realized something; I was getting credit for learning hands-on skills that I was really interested in. This  snorkeling and kayaking trip was part of a requirement in each course which is called a field lab. A field lab is a partial day that is spent with the entire class and led by a professor. In certain countries, you either visit a specific monumental location or engage in an activity that connects with what you are studying in class. These field labs often included going places that will enhance understanding in the classroom. Seeing and engaging with your coursework is much more intriguing than only reading about it in textbooks.

My second field lab was in Turkey for Developmental Economics. The most interesting part of this excursion is when we went to the oldest mall in the world, the Grand Bazaar. I was below the roof of what James Bond rode atop on a motorcycle in the opening scene of Skyfall. My mind was blown while I was in this fifteenth century structure that has 58 covered streets, hundreds of domes and 4,000 shops. While shopping and observing market interactions I was also learning about the Economics of Istanbul. This style of hands-on learning and interacting with the shop owners allowed me to expand my knowledge about economics and really dive into the culture of Turkey.

One other thing that made this ‘cruise’ into an academic voyage was the incredible individuals teaching on the ship. Not only were they great teachers inside the classroom, but they were great people outside of the classroom. Eating in the same dining room, bumping into them in port and getting to go on trips that they led allowed me to connect with the great professors.   That casual connection made it easy to speak with and listen to advice from them. My economics professor remains a main pivotal point in my college career for changing my major. His kindness mixed with his different way of teaching and thinking about economics transformed what I wanted to do at Oregon State University. Another great experience that allowed me to connect with the faculty was going on a faculty-led trip with an Archeology professor that had an extensive knowledge about the ruins of Troy. His expertise allowed for a much more rewarding trip. The passion that these professors had for education and expanding my knowledge made this voyage a special and unforgettable experience.

Along with the amazing professors, I spent my time growing closer to the wonderful shipboard community. I like to refer to all the students on the ship as my SAS family. We were all there for the same reason: to discover the world. This common goal of wanting to see and experience the world made it easy to bond and make new friends with the students on board. Students on the ship came from all over the United States as well as other countries around the world; just being on the ship was a new cultural experience.  I had to adapt to the wide diversity I encountered on the ship. My roommate from North Carolina (pictured on the right) taught me much about the American South. I also learned a lot about Central America from my neighbors down the hall. The ship culture, mixed with the diverse cultures I encountered at each port, encouraged much self-reflection and personal growth.

No matter if I was in Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Croatia, or Turkey, the words “just a cruise” never crossed my mind. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about those two most amazing and impactful months of my life. All the hard work that it took in order to go on this experience proved more than worthwhile. Although I may have spent a good amount of Euro, Lira, Dirham and Kuna on amazing food, souvenirs, and transportation, I wouldn’t take back a penny of it if it meant I would lose my many amazing memories of Semester at Sea. So now when people ask me about my ‘cruise,’ I chuckle to myself and respond with a short explanation of how it was, while realizing that no one can understand how truly amazing my experience with Semester at Sea was until they do it themselves.

Natasha Badaa is a senior at Oregon State University. She is studying Business Management and French. During Fall 2012, Natasha studied abroad at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France through API.

During my study abroad experience in Grenoble, France, I had one goal: do something every day that scares me. Although I was a thousand miles away from what I called home, I dared myself to go outside my comfort zone in a foreign country and a foreign language. One of my favorite memories related to achieving my goal happened during a weekend trip to Marseilles, France with my friends. Marseilles is famous for the Calanques, which are a beautiful set of cliffs that extend off the coast. Tourists travel from near and far to hike the cliffs down to the Mediterranean Sea and swim in the private lagoons. My friends and I traveled by bus to the trailhead and hiked for over an hour to this unbelievable swimming spot surrounded by cliffs. There was something special about this place we found in the Calanques in the south of France. It was a place to escape from reality and immerse ourselves in the scenery of the rocks and sea. Climb one of the cliffs and perch up there for a while. Admire the humbling view. You’ll quickly see what I mean. The view extended for miles and miles above the clear, aquamarine water.

Tourists lined the rocks, jumping off one by one into the sea. Terrified of the prospect, I was determined to try it anyways. My friends and I climbed a huge cliff that was nearly 15 meters tall. I was shaking with the fear of slipping and falling. Frozen in this fear, I perched on the rock and refused to jump. It was not until my friend climbed back up and convinced me that I could do this. She reminded me about how great it would feel to accomplish something I was afraid of. Together we jumped off that cliff, together into the deep blue water.

My time abroad meant conquering fears and accomplishing goals that I never dreamed were possible. In five months, I traveled to new countries, became fluent in a language, hiked mountains in the Alps and jumped off cliffs in the Mediterranean Sea. I made friends with locals, went wine tasting in the south of France, and learned more about myself than expected. Studying abroad has changed my life in more ways than I could have predicted. I learned independence and confidence. I learned culture, American and otherwise. My biggest piece of advice to anyone who wants to study abroad is this: do not hesitate about anything. Be brave and jump off cliffs.