15 Things You Didn’t Know About Sevilla, Spain…

1. Slow Walkers. If you are a fast-pace walker, you would go absolutely crazy walking behind these people. They love taking their time and enjoying the scenery that surrounds them. This is probably a good thing, to be honest.

2. Siestas (Naps) are a MUST here. They have the weirdest open hours for their restaurants and shops. They usually open at 8 or 9 AM. Close from 3-5 PM. Open back up from 5 to 11 PM. Everyday they take a 30 minute nap after lunch then head back to work. That is probably why you never see a cranky Spaniard.

3. Be Blunt. If you want something just say “I want…” (Quiero in Spanish). Don’t say “Can I have…” (Puedo tener). They will just look at you and not understand what you are trying to ask. Just get straight to the point.

4. Short and Sweet. When you are in a grocery line or buying something from a store, don’t ask how they are doing because they won’t answer. Just say “Hola”. I made the mistake of saying “Hola! Como estas?” and she looked at me like I was crazy.

5. Padded Shoes are a Necessity. This trip I made the mistake of not bringing comfy shoes. I found out the reason why these people that live here are so skinny even though they eat carbs constantly (bread for days) … they literally walk around 6 to 8 miles a day (no joke). I am pretty sure they have more ice cream shops than restaurants here, so if that explains all the walking they must do.

6. Minerals in Their Water. I am convinced that there is something in Spain’s water. Every single person I pass on my way to school (30 minutes by the way) is gorgeous! I don’t think I have ever seen so many pretty people in one place. Every guy looks like Mario Lopez, while the women look like Penelope Cruz.

7. Crowded Streets. Like I said earlier, they walk everywhere. The streets here are so confusing and driving a car would take you longer than walking because of all the cut off streets due to the trolley. They also have bike lanes that are bigger than the walking lanes.

8. What Street Signs? They don’t have any street signs here! There may be a sign on a building telling you the street you are on…if you are lucky.

9. Rules Schmulessss. I’ve noticed a great deal of rules/regulations being laid back here. I have only seen one police involved incident and that was because a man was selling knock-off purses on the side of the street.

10. Cooking is Life! The mothers here are very dedicated to their house and cooking. They start cooking lunch around 10 AM when it is served at 2 and dinner at 6 PM when it is served at 9:30. So you probably think it would be very nice to ask your mom if you could help with dinner. Here that screams, “Your cooking is disgusting!” They feel as if you are making a hidden comment that you are helping because their food isn’t good enough. So never ask to help with dinner whatever you do!

11. Expressing Yourself. Everyday I walk home from school around 8 PM and there are performers everywhere doing the flamenco dance, singing and playing guitar, and dressing in weird costumes. It is actually pretty exhilarating to figure out what I will see that night on the way home.

12. 5 Minute Showers. This is one thing I had to adjust to which was kind of a struggle. Since it never rains here, they have hardly any water meaning you can only have a warm shower for maybe 5 minutes then you turn into an ice cube.

13. “Great Job! You Got a 68%!”. Don’t expect to get higher than an 85% here unless your name is Albert Einstein. The teachers pretty much tell you straight up you will never get a 90%. This is another adjustment that has been taking a toll on me. To them, a 80% is like an A back in the States.

14. Jeans are The New Shorts. It is 100 degree weather here and I see 80% of people wearing jean pants! I am really confused about how they are not dying from a heat stroke. My teacher told me that apparently Levis cost 90 euros while in the US they cost maybe $60. I told him I would ship him a pair if he gives me an A… so we’ll see.

15. Taxes Spent Right. Before I tell you how much their income tax is, I want you to look at my photos of all the beautiful landscapes and buildings there are here. Okay…. so their income tax is 50%! Crazy I know! But here they don’t have insurance, instead their tax dollars pay for public healthcare and the parks/landscapes. Even though that sounds outrageous, my professor said that many of the people don’t mind it because they feel like they get so much back in return.

**This experience has taught me a lot… if you haven’t noticed. Even though it is a different culture, I still love every single aspect about this beautiful country! If you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, GO TO SEVILLA! This city is unbelievable!

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Long time no post! I need to catch you all up on how amazing my experience has been so far! Let me start off by saying, out of all the places I have been to thus far, Sevilla is my favorite city. The city has so much to offer such as the architecture, landscapes, plazas, and people! I walk 30 minutes to class everyday, but it doesn’t feel like that long because of how beautiful my walk is. Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo, my school, has the best resources. The staff and utilities have made me feel so comfortable for being in a country that speaks Spanish with a little bit of English. Speaking of Spanish… my Spanish has become soooo much better from being here. If you are a Spanish major or minor, Sevilla is the place to go! They use the dialect that we learn back in the States, which is very helpful.


But anyways, I bet you want to hear about my experiences so far. I have traveled to Madrid, Toledo, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Jerez, Cadiz, Morocco, and Sevilla in only 4 weeks! ISA gives you all these opportunities to travel on excursions throughout the program. While being in Granada, we were able to see the biggest Mezquita (mosque) in the world! The mosque is beautiful! We learned that the Catholics took over the mosque and put a church right in the middle of the praying grounds. We headed to Granada right after. In Granada, we were able to see a Flamenco dance. The neat thing about Granada is you get free tapas (appetizers) when you order a drink. So in all reality, you don’t have to buy food if you don’t want to. We also were able to see a garden/fortress called La Alhambra. Beautiful scenery!



One of the places I went with just a few friends was Málaga. I traveled with my new friends Monica, Jaffet, and Austin. We decided to adventurous and go to the beach and spend the night on the beach instead of getting a hostel. We actually could have done that if it didn’t downpour while we were there. It was still an experience I wouldn’t take back. The more, the merrier my mom always says.


The next weekend, we traveled to Jerez and Cadiz. In Jerez, we went to a winery and learned how they barreled the wines and developed the rich taste. We also were given the opportunity to taste test 2 wines called Tío Pepe and Croft. They were both sweet wine wines (my favorite!). At Cadiz, we found a beach to relax at for 4 hours. The beach was extremely crowded because in Spain everybody travels to the beach in June, July, and August on the weekends.

This past weekend, I decided to travel to Morocco as a personal trip of mine. I went with Remy, Austin, Madison, and Thomas from my ISA group. We went through a program called We Love Sevilla. We paid $298 for a 3 day trip that included 2 hotel rooms, 6 meals, camelback rides, monkey interactions, cave viewing, 3 tours (bus, walking), travel there and back (bus, ferry), and a belly dancer show. It is crazy how cheap it was! They have an excursion that goes to Portugal that I am going to look into as well. But anyways, this was probably my favorite excursion so far because of all the things we got to experience. I don’t think I would ever go back to Morocco since it was pretty poverty-stricken, but it was still neat to engage myself in the culture and people. All of Northern Africa is Arabic, which I had no clue about. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I got there!


This week is the last week of Session 1 of my study abroad. I still have one more session, but it is sad to see all my new friends leave. It will definitely be an adjustment, but I can’t wait to meet the new group coming! My time here is half way over and it amazes me how fast this amazing experience goes by. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for the world! So lucky to be able to do this! I recommend anybody interested in studying abroad to start saving now because it is worth every penny!


Cecily Dupont

PS- I added a video link below. My friend, Austin, made this of our experiences we’ve had so far! Enjoy!

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

I’ve been in Europe for three and a half weeks now. What? I can’t believe I’ve been over here for three weeks already, I remembered flying into the airport on the first day and not knowing anyone and a minimal amount of Spanish, but now I’ve met so many people and my Spanish is improving. It’s insane how fast time goes when you’re constantly busy exploring, touring different countries, meeting new people, and staying on top of school work. I’ll explain a little bit what has happened since the last time I blogged with was about 2 weeks ago, and let me tell you a lot has happened in such a small time span.

I left off with the fact that I was going to be travelling to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Brussels in Belgium. Both of these places were awesome! We saw so many unique things in both cities, and one of the coolest experiences was the fact that when we were in the Netherlands, they were playing Spain in the World Cup and they beat them 5 – 1, so the city was going nuts to say the least. In the Netherlands I went on 2 different tours. On the first walking tour I learned so much about the city, including seeing the smallest house in the city which is 1.8 meters long and I saw the house that Anne Frank lived in during the war which was a surreal experience. The other tour was a canal tour in which we took a boat through the city and learned even more about the history of Amsterdam. After we spent 2 days in Amsterdam, our group traveled to Brussels in Belgium via bus and that trip was interesting because we didn’t really have a plan about what we wanted to do, but we had a great time exploring the Grand Place as well as watching two World Cup soccer games in which the atmosphere was awesome because there were so many people from different countries and nationalities in one place all watching the same thing.

The following day our group traveled back to Barcelona and got back into the normal routine with school and going to the beach and exploring more of the city. Last week a lot of students had midterms and this upcoming week I have both of my midterms in my two classes but it shouldn’t be too difficult because my professors do an excellent job of preparing their students for the material on the tests. Other than school, this past weekend we traveled to Costa Brava, Spain and got to experience sardines that are rated as the best sardines in the world according to different sources. We also got to travel via boat to another small city named Cadaques which is located on the coastline. This was really cool because we stopped in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and got to swim which was different because the water is so salty there that you can basically float without even trying.

Once we got finished with Costa Brava we came back to Barcelona and have been here for 2 days. The only downfall about this entire trip was last night when Portugal scored in the last 20 seconds of the World Cup to force a draw between them and the United States. We were at a place with so many people from the United States and Portugal watching the game so it was a unique experience watching the game with people from both countries cheering for opposite teams. Other than the U.S. draw, I have loved every second of this study abroad experience and I highly recommend that every student take the opportunity to study abroad in another country because you get the chance to meet so many different people and learn not only about other cultures but also your own. I have realized a lot about the United States just from being in Spain for 3 weeks and it has been an eye opening experience for me to say the least.

As I said earlier, I have two midterms this week so I need to start preparing for them so I do well in those classes. Just a quick update so you know what’s happening with me over here over the next few weeks. This upcoming weekend I am traveling to Morocco, Africa and then the following weekend on the 4th of July I’m planning a trip to hopefully Rome, Italy. Tonight and tomorrow is a holiday here in Barcelona where there are bands and concerts and different cultural experiences over the entire city so everyone here is going to see what this is all about tonight. Time for me to get off here because we’re about to go see more of the city!

Hasta luego,

Matt Schafer

My Weekend in Munich, Germany!

Guten morgen everyone! Each weekend while I am abroad I am allowed to travel during that time and they give us a three day weekend so we can have enough time to travel! So, for my first weekend that I could travel I chose to travel to Munich, Germany. Here is a little recap of my trip!


After arriving to Munich by train, we left the train station and headed to our hotel for the weekend – a Holiday Inn – which seemed like the Ritz Carlton to us. The beds were comfortable and soft, there was a normal sized shower with a tub, the towels were normal sized and soft and there was air conditioning. By our reactions you would have thought we were staying in the most luxurious place in the whole world. After we dropped off our things we headed to Dachau, which is a Concentration Camp Memorial Site. As we found our way from our hotel to Dachau and started walking towards the main gates there was just a feeling that everyone could feel. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe unless you actually experience it but the best way I can describe it is that you could feel the atmosphere shift from one of excitement to darkness and sadness. As we walked towards the gate to walk inside I had to take a second to take a breath because it hit me that I was about to walk into a place that once held prisoners hostage, killed many and was a place of evil. As you opened the gate, it read in German “work will set you free”, or some version of that phrase.

I could talk about my experience at Dachau for hours about what I saw, how I was feeling and what it was like. It definitely was a moving experience and it put into a real perspective of what it was actually like being there. It is one thing to read about it in a book but to walk around and learn about all of the details was definitely an experience I will never forget. Overall, the visit to Dachau was eye opening and powerful and is one I will never forget.

After we left Dachau it was time to lift our spirits a little bit and grab some food and head back to our hotel for the night because we were exhausted and we knew we were going to have a full day on Saturday. We found a little Chinese take-out restaurant that was by the main train station in Munich. Eating dinner was a little taste of home because it was really good and I love having Chinese take-out food. As we sat and ate our dinner and talked we remembered that it was the anniversary of D-day on June 6th, which was Friday, and we were sitting in Munich, Germany. Never did I think that I would be able to say that. My house mom had talked to me about D-day and what it was like for her and her family during that time and it was really interesting to get her point of view about it.

Saturday morning was the first time I have slept past 7:00 a.m. since being in Europe. There have been no lazy mornings whatsoever on this trip. So, needless to say I slept until 10 a.m. on Saturday and it was glorious! I finally got more than 6 or 7 hours of sleep and the beds were super comfortable too. As we headed out to the city centre of Munich – also known as Marienplatz – we decided that all of us girls needed a day of shopping! For those of you who know me, know that this is right up my alley and meant that I was going to be happy the rest of the day if I could shop! Some of you may know that I have a “small” obsession with shoes and that I love buying and wearing shoes more than anything…okay maybe it is a big obsession! Anyways, I had told some of my friends that all I wanted from Germany, if nothing else, was a red pair of Birkenstocks because Birkenstocks are made in Germany and I have a pair that I bought in America but how cool would it be to buy some in Germany? So throughout our shopping and sightseeing, we always had our eyes out for Birkenstocks. As we walked through city centre we saw the world famous Glockenspiel and it was absolutely beautiful! The amount of detail work, architectural design and sheer beauty of this building took my breath away.

We continued to walk around Marienplatz and we went into a couple of shoe stores and no luck on finding red Birkenstocks. They had every other color and design but red. We went into some souvenir shops, clothing stores, sporting stores and bought a few things and then a couple of more shoe stores and no luck. We went into a shoe store that didn’t look promising and I asked the woman and she said they didn’t have any Birkenstocks at that specific location but if I walked up a couple of blocks I would be able to check in the larger version of this shoe store which is called Tretter’s. I started telling my friends that we might just be out of luck and I won’t be able to find them here but that was okay. So, we decided that we would check that one last store and then head to dinner because it was 5 o’clock at this point. As I walked into this larger store I asked a saleswoman if she had any Birkenstocks, which they did, but as I walked to the display I didn’t see any red ones. I had told the woman about my adventure to find a pair of red flip-flop style Birkenstocks and she didn’t think they sold any that were just plain red. I did see a pair that had a little red on them so I decided to try those on. She was gone for a couple of minutes and then came back out with two boxes. One of the boxes had the design that I had asked to try on from the display and then she got a huge grin on her face and opened the next box which had a pair of red flip-flop Birkenstocks in my exact size and they were the only pair in their stock room. I mean is that fate or what?! I was destined to have these shoes! I could not stop smiling as I tried them on and my friends could hear that I was excited and they stopped their looking to come find me. Needless to say I was in love with these shoes AND to top it all off, they were half priced compared to in America! What a deal, right?!

After I made my purchase I looked at my friends and thanked them for going along with my crazy desire to find these shoes and that I would be happy with whatever we did the rest of the weekend because I had found these shoes! They were pretty happy that I had gotten them because they knew that it made my day and weekend. We decided for dinner we had to go to the original Hofbräuhaus that is in Munich because it is a must and is something cool that you can tell people about. As we found our way there you could tell it was very touristy in that area with lots of souvenir shops, gelato shops and even a Hard Rock Café. As we sat ourselves in the world’s most famous “Biergarten” it was so cool to sit and watch the people around you. We decided to experience it to the fullest and we all ordered a liter of their original beer. It was pretty good beer and now I can say I drank a liter of German beer in the Hofbräuhaus! I also ate a pretzel that was larger than my face and some other sides. It was definitely a lot of fun to get to eat and drink there.

After the Hofbräuhaus it was time to head back to the hotel to get some much needed rest and relax our feet and that gave me some time to try on my new shoes again! Sunday morning we had to wake up a little early because we were going to tour BMW Welt before we got on our 1:20 p.m. train back to Bregenz. So, we got up early and made it to BMW Welt (World) by 9:30. One cool fact about being there was that it was right next to the Olympic Park in Munich, so we got to see and look around the Olympic Park. As we approached the BMW Welt it was so futuristic looking and the architecture was simply flawless.

As we walked in I was overwhelmed with all of the cars that were on display and how everything was so clean and sharp looking. As we walked through BMW Welt I got to sit in some of the different cars, SUVs and convertibles which was really cool. I also learned about the new BMW model that they will release soon called the i8 BMW. Their technology is absolutely incredible and fascinating and was REALLY cool to learn about. They also had simulations where you could sit and “drive” a BMW through a course and let me say that I don’t think I should ever drive 125 mph on a real road. As I was almost approaching the exit to the building I noticed this beautiful looking car that was the very last exhibit. It so happened that it was in my very favorite color and I still believe that this BMW was built specifically for me! I think this would make an excellent college graduation gift!

After touring the BMW Welt we went back to city center and ate some delicious lunch inside of the Glockenspiel at a restaurant called the Ratskellar. I had chicken bratwurst and French fries and it was SO delicious. I also got some crushed ice with my cola-light and if anyone has traveled to Europe, you can relate to my excitement about the crushed ice and ice in general. But, to top it all off we got to sit inside the Glockenspiel and listen to it ring which happens every day at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. It was really beautiful to just sit there in the sun and relax and take it all in.

As we headed back to the train station to catch our train back to Bregenz, the s-bahn decided that it was going to be a little slow that day and it caused us to miss our train that departed at 1:20 and the train left without us. So, we had to find out when the next train was leaving and luckily there was another one that was leaving at 4:33 and we were going to make sure that we made that one because it was the last train of the day to stop in Bregenz. So, we got comfortable at a table and waited around a little bit and watched people walk by.

Finally, it was time to board our train and head back towards Bregenz. But, of course before I left I went to the bathroom. (Hint #3 to Europe: It costs money to go to the bathroom sometimes.) I had to pay one euro to go to the bathroom and if weren’t for the fact that I had to go really bad and was going to be on a train for two and a half hours I would have held it. But, anyways I made it back onto the train safely and we were on our way back. After finally making it back to Bregenz and walking up the “hill” with all of my new purchases and backpack with clothes in it, I was looking forward to just taking a shower and writing my blog and relaxing a little bit. But, much to my surprise my house mom’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were in for the night because Monday was a holiday here. As much as I wanted to just chill and relax, it was also really cool to be able to sit down with them and talk and get to know them. It is fascinating because all of them could speak both German and English fluently, even the children who were about 5 and 2. After sitting and talking for a while, I decided that it was time to head to bed and get some sleep. Well, I think that is all for now and I will check in again later!

Traveling through Europe

I have been studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain for 12 days and I am loving every single minute of it thus far! I’ve met some great people from other universities across the country and from across the world who are living with me in the same residencia. The first week we were all getting to know each other but a lot of them are in my classes and this past weekend we all traveled together and this upcoming weekend we’re travelling again, I’m so excited.

Starting from my last post A LOT has happened and I can’t believe it’s going by so fast already, it feels like I just got here and also feels like I’ve been here forever. This past weekend we traveled to both Sitges, Spain as well as Valencia, Spain. Both places were an absolute blast and I enjoyed touring the city as well as the beaches that were in both cities. Everyone was raving about the “paella” that is in Spain, which is basically a mix of rice, vegetables, and some type of meat or seafood, and the best dish I’ve had thus far has been from Sitges. If you have never tried paella, I would highly recommend it because it is absolutely wonderful. While in Sitges we also toured their cathedral as well as the beach, which was beautiful.

After the Sitges trip and in between my classes, which I really enjoy by the way, we had a your of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and let me tell you this was one of if not the most impressive architectural designed buildings I have ever seen in my life. The detail that this church has everywhere you look is stunning. The master behind La Sagrada Familia’s fascinating work is Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. This Roman Catholic church has been in construction since 1880, which goes to show the amount of detail put into EVERY single area of the church. The projected completion date of the church is in 2026, which is the 100 year anniversary of Gaudí’s death. The church is 170 meters tall and can fit up to 14,000 people, which was what Gaudí was intending, but can only fit 6,000 comfortably. This architectural masterpiece is definitely an icon in Barcelona and a huge tourist area, and if you come to Barcelona at any point in your life, La Sagrada Familia is a must visit.

Later in the week our residencia visited the beach multiple time and also went to Las Ramblas, which is basically a giant shopping center for tourists, locals, and anyone else who wants to visit the area. Shops stretch for 3/4 mile and you can find so many different types of things be sold from gelato, FC Barcelona gear, restaurants, and shops of so many things. On the way there, we stopped past the Cathedral in Barcelona which is gorgeous as well. We didn’t get the opportunity to go inside because we wanted to be able to walk around Las Ramblas, but I plan on going back again and checking it out because it is fascinating and looks very interesting.

This past weekend a lot of the people from our residencia went to Valencia, Spain and got to tour the city. A lot of the buildings differed from Barcelona, they were a lot more modern which surprised me because Valencia is Spain’s 3rd largest city behind Madrid (the capital) and Barcelona. Another cool thing was the parks and gardens throughout the city which were beautiful, there was so much to do there that we couldn’t fit it all in during 1 and a half days. The one thing I wish I could have done was gone and see a bull-fighting ring live, and I really want to do that before I leave Spain this summer because I feel that would be such an awesome experience.

This upcoming weekend we are traveling to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Brussels in Belgium. We’re still trying to figure out all the plans as to what we’re going to do but one of the people who lives with us has family in Amsterdam so I’m sure that they can give us some interesting places to visit and see, so I’m really excited for that this upcoming weekend. On that note, I have a presentation tomorrow and need to finish the rest of the project so I have to get off here. It’s crazy how fast time flies over here when you’re having fun, but I’ll be sure to post this time next week!

Hasta luego,

Matt Schafer

My Weekend Trip to Rome

I have been in Torino, Italy for two weeks now and I am absolutely loving it!  There is so much to share about my experience, but last weekend I went to Rome and it was an experience that completely changed my life.

For one thing it was my 20th birthday and it will be a hard birthday to beat! I went and saw all of the tourist attractions like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Sistine Chapel. Personally I was so excited to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain. I was a little disappointed that there was a huge gate around the fountain and you couldn’t get very close, but I am proud to say that my coin still made it in the water, I  just had to use a little extra force to get it there.


The most exciting part of the weekend though was definitely on Sunday. We woke up early in hopes of finally being able to see St. Peter’s Basilica. It had been closed the two previous days of our trip and this was our last chance to see it. Around 7am we started to wait in line with about a hundred other people. By 8 the line had tripled in size and someone around us told us that in fact the line was not to get in to see the Basilica. The Pope had decided to hold a special mass that morning at 10 and the people in line had tickets and were waiting to attend. We were frustrated that we had been waiting and weren’t even going to get to see the Basilica on our one trip to Rome.

By some miracle though a man came to the side of the line and had extra tickets he wasn’t going to use and gave them to us. We were shocked and beyond excited! Shortly after we were let into the Basilica and since we had arrived so early we had a nice view up front. St. Peter’s Basilica is absolutely gorgeous and is a must see in Rome! Everywhere I looked there was something to marvel at. After another hour wait and a round of saying the rosary in Latin, Mass began. It is hard to even describe how incredible it was to attend a Mass all in Latin that was given by the Pope himself. I was one of the couple hundred people in the Basilica who had the honor to attend while thousands more stood in the square watching on a big screen. I have grown up a Catholic and attend Catholic schools up until college and having the opportunity to attend Mass with the leader of the church is something I will NEVER forget. IMG_1806

I can’t wait for the many more adventures sure to come in the next few weeks!

Lauren Schwarz

The Value of an International Voluntary Internship

When I think of a voluntary internship, I automatically notice the negative stigma that surrounds the concept, which I believe is triggered by either an inherent or capitalistic viewpoint that workers deserve wages, but after letting the initial feeling settle, I have found that the wealth one receives from work is not just monetary. Before I begin to divulge the personal benefits that I received, I do want to make a quick point from an investment standpoint.

For a person to live comfortably and pay his or her expenses, one must be employable or entrepreneurial; without one of those traits, a person will struggle to make ends meet financially. Thus, any experience that betters those attributes has a direct effect on the amount of income a person will make over his or her life. This perspective contributes to people’s decisions to attend universities and graduate programs, and many students spend tremendous sums of money for a college education. Statistically, graduates with a bachelor’s degree between the ages of 25-34 make 150% the median income of workers with only a high school diploma (National Center for Education Statistics 2011). Besides the obvious increase in salary, college students have the opportunity to learn how to think critically, develop their interpersonal and professional communication skills, establish a network of professionals, peers, and mentors, and personalize their experience with involvements in student organizations, semesters abroad, internships, and other opportunities. As such, I view an internship on a similar level as a college education, but in order to make what I believe to be a better point, I will compare a student completing a voluntary internship to a student doing research with a professor.

While some students have the good fortune of being offered a job to do research for a professor, others ask to research alongside a professor on a voluntary basis in order to increase their understanding of the field or because they want to publish. The emphasis on learning trumps the need for financial compensation, and from the experience, the students gain the ability to conduct research academically, more effective writing skills, and a deeper understanding of their chosen subject. The wealth of skills gained from the work should not be taken lightly, and from my perspective, I see them as adequate compensation for the work they perform. Although the professor and the university might receive financial or reputational benefits from the research, these indirect rewards from the student’s work could be taken as the cost of the apprenticeship. In the same light as students paying tuition to learn in the classroom, the fruits of their research could be viewed as the price they pay for all they knowledge and skills they acquire while working under a professor.

Now, as for what sparked my interest in the subject of voluntary internships, I interned at Silverman Sherliker Solicitors in London during my spring semester, and from my experience, I personally witnessed the various outcomes that can be gained from a voluntary internship. Before my first day, I was unsure of what to expect. I had never traveled internationally, yet I decided to go for five months to study and work. Besides expecting to gain a better appreciation and understanding of different cultures, I did not know what else I could reasonably anticipate. After six weeks of working in London, I had already noticed tremendous growth within myself. While I find it difficult to place on paper all that I have gained from my internship, I believe that I can show some of its value by recounting the various assignments that I undertook. Creating a weekly journal of significant moments during my internship has helped me critically reflect on my time with Silverman Sherliker especially when attempting to evaluate the learning outcomes.

While a comparison of my starting point to my ending point might provide a better academic model, I will analyze my internship from a teleological perspective because I believe it to be more fruitful in respect of learning outcomes. My first day, I immediately entered into an uncomfortable environment and was surprised by the organization’s response. When I arrived for my first day of work, I was greeted cordially by the receptionist; however, when I told her that I was there to begin my first day of my internship, she was unaware that anyone was starting that day. After about an hour, I was shown to the department where I would be working for the next twelve weeks, but the confusion showed me that no matter how clear I have communicated with someone, there are always unforeseen events that might arise. I also realized that it is important not to react impulsively in the workplace and that maintaining composure is a great trait to possess. Despite the initial surprise, the rest of my day went much more smoothly.
My first day I only accomplished four tasks, and as I reflect on my journal that day, I feel like it is almost laughable because by the end of my internship, I could have finished all those tasks in less than two hours. Such a drastic change in efficiency reveals that experience matters, and it also points to my strategic thinking style and my Belbin’s team role of resource investigator because over time, I looked for and found ways to accomplish more. As a research investigator, I responded to the challenge of embracing the new culture around me and took a studious approach to my job in order to find ways to better the work that I was producing. I improved greatly during my employment because I was able to find ways to solve the challenges that I faced and did not allow an obstacle to get the best of me. I learned to research solutions and complete projects by myself; while my boss was right next to me, he was inundated with work, so I found it best to be able to apply my past experiences and not bother him with a deluge of questions.

During the first few weeks, I did a lot of copying, couriering, acting as a receptionist, researching legal rules for my boss, and chasing information from the court or our clients. While I was happy to do those tasks, evaluating them shows me that they were all fairly administrative in nature; however, I actually learned a decent amount from them because I would always look for ways to make more out of those activities. For instance, I analyzed and read what I copied, and serving as a receptionist and communicating with the courts and clients helped me practice my professionalism and communication skills. The legal research gave me insight into what the British Civil Procedure rules looked like, but I discovered later that my boss could do that task in five minutes. From his example, I also greatly shortened the time it took me, and as a result, I was able to use my research and apply it to cases.

Improvement as an intern is the key to a quality experience. This lesson was critical for me; when I improved my ability to complete tasks, I was given more legitimate assignments. I moved from the mundane work to the real work that my boss was doing, and from it, I started to really understand British Civil Procedure. I would never have been able to learn as much as I did and complete all the projects that I was given if it were not for my improvement during my twelve weeks there.

After finding an opportunity, I made sure to capitalize on it, which revealed to me the other tool necessary for making the most of a voluntary internship. At the beginning, I did not have many chances to stand out or prove my abilities to my boss, so I actively looked for ways to prove my worth and set myself apart from other interns. My window of opportunity presented itself when I saw my boss stressing about his workload, so I offered my assistance and began working on the disclosure stage for two separate cases. After three full days of working on it, I amassed an index of documents and a summary for the 2500 page case. While it was an overwhelming task, I was able to complete it by the deadline and show my boss that I was up for the challenge. After that week, I noticed a drastic change in the amount of quality work that I was given, and I know the change was directly related to seizing the opportunity that was in front of me.

Making the most of an opportunity and improving each week are the two lessons that will always stay with me from my internship. By following these two lessons, I gained so much more insight into the British legal system, and I will continue to follow them throughout my career. In conclusion, I would like to reconnect my personal experience with that of a student doing research for a professor. As can be seen by my experience, I improved greatly from it. I am now a stronger writer, a more effective communicator, a more efficient and skilled researcher, a student of both the American and British legal systems, and a more experienced global worker. In addition, I had the opportunity to observe solicitors interact with clients and see how legal professionals approached their work each day, and from my experience, I am even more confident that I want to attend law school after graduating from the University of Louisville. While it would have been nice to be paid for the tasks that I performed, the skills and knowledge I received are much more important to me, and I see them as adequate compensation for my time at Silverman Sherliker.

Au Revoir, Adios, Ciao, Shalom, and Goodbye!!

First, let me offer apologies in advance for any spelling or gramatial errors, Im typing on the Europe keyboard and it is definitly different! In approximately three days Ill be returning back to the States, back home, and back to my comfort zone It is really a bittersaeet occasion. On one hand I have really enjoyed my stay, but I ,iss the creature conforts that only Amerca can provide, such as a fast food resturant on every corner lol. I was finally able to explore the city and I really got to see the beaty that has wowed many tourists around the wolrd. I also need to get back to the US quickly, as everything here is very beautiful and worthy of my purchasing. The people are still very kind to me, and interestingly enough many of my classmates will soon be journying to the U.S. to take classes. My class concluded today and yah, no final. I have learned a lot and have enjoyed my experience!! The first thing I will do when I get to the United States is locate the nearest Raising Canes, Chipotle, White Castle, or Popeyes. The first thing I will do when I get back to Kentucky is have all of those resturants previously listed, in that order : )

Sevilla, Spain


Today marks the week and half point that I’ve been living and learning in Sevilla, Spain! So far la ciudad has been beyond imagination with beautiful architecture, amazing culture and hospitality unlike anywhere else. So far ISA and myself have visited the cathedral, El Alcázar, Plaza de España and the many beautiful, historic calles that are scattered around the city. As a lover of architecture, the cathedral has by far been my favorite! I could spend all day there for a week straight and still not be able to witness every extraordinary detail this behemoth has to offer. Outside the group I went to my first bull fight! It was an awesome experience but animal lovers beware, they do kill the bulls! It’s been great meeting the other cardinals (Cecily DuPont, Sara Jones, Monica Moehle) to share this amazing experience with as we proudly represent the University of Louisville everywhere we go!

Bull Fight Sevilla, Spain

Currently I am taking two classes, International Finance and the Crisis in the Eurozone which are both quite interesting. I would highly recommend taking the Crisis in the Eurozone class if you can! Once I complete my session here in Sevilla, I’m off to Valencia for session two where I will be taking Marketing 301 and Business Communications so more to come on those.

This weekend we are set to take a group excursion to the cities of Córdoba and Granada which I am extremely excited for. So far no city has ceased to amaze me so I can’t wait to see what these two have in store.

At times I was unsure if study abroad would be the right fit for me but I can now confidently say that I would go again and again just based on my week and a half of experiences! Thanks to everyone that has made this trip possible! I’ll keep you posted on the many future adventures to come! L1C4 ¡Adios!

El Alcazar Sevilla, Spain

Connor Newton


Barcelona, Spain


I arrived in Barcelona, Spain 3 days ago, and these past 72 hours have been an absolute incredible time filled with a variety of activities and events that have made this trip such a wonderful experience thus far! Everything about Barcelona has been fantastic ranging from the amazing Mediterranean food, the unique architecture of the city, the different things that are always happening, and of course the culture “shock” has taken some adjusting too but that’s what the whole study abroad experience is about, to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar place with different cultures than yourself and learn from them.

On my first day it was a little hectic because I was suffering from jet lag and had barely any sleep on the plane, and with the 6 hour time change from the eastern coast of the United States and Barcelona, I felt like I skipped a whole nights sleep and was expected to be ready for another day! It’s something I had never experienced before and definitely won’t forget, but the time spent doing different things on the first day really helped me overcome my sleepiness and immerse myself in the Spanish culture. We took a group excursion around the entire city via bus, which lasted roughly 2 hours but was really interesting because of the amount of information they gave us regarding the history of their sports (1992 Olympic games & FC Barcelona) as well as the artistic background (Antonio Gaudi & Pablo Picasso) that helped contribute to the city’s beautiful architecture.

On day number two we went on a tour of the Gothic Quarter which began in the Plaza del Angel which was cool because our guide explained to us about the architecture of the city, when things were built and for what purpose, which really shows the true age of Barcelona. After this we gathered as a group and got all of the information regarding the classes we were taking over the next month and a half. The rest of the day was spent at the beach and exploring the city even more including the Plaça de Catalunya and the Barcelona Cathedral.

Today was the first day of classes and I really think I’m going to enjoy both of the classes that I’m taking which are International Marketing Strategies and E-Commerce and Online Business. Both of my professors seem like they know what they’re talking about and are very happy to be teaching students from America about the ways in which the Spanish education system works as well as helping us learn and grow in their culture during our stay here.

This upcoming week we are going on a trip to Sitges, Spain and hopefully to a few more places within Spain or Portugal because we don’t have class on Monday so we plan on going somewhere during the long weekend. I’m absolutely loving every part about this study abroad experience so far and am extremely excited to see what these next six weeks have in store for me!

Hasta luego,

Matt Schafer