'Honestly, if it weren't for my travels, I don't think I would be the person I am today. When you travel abroad, you leave your comfort zone, and everything that makes you feel safe, is left behind. You have to face challenges by yourself, and when you succeed, your confidence goes up, and so does your feeling of independence. You start thinking of different possibilities that, if it weren't for your travels, you would have never considered. That's what happened to me, and many other students. My study abroad trip took me to Sydney, Australia. I went to the University of New South Wales, a university that is not in the Cal State Long Beach Study Abroad program. I had to deal with all the red tape and paperwork by myself, but it was worth it. I lived in an apartment that was surrounded by beaches, and nightclubs. I joined the judo team and that gave me the opportunity to travel all over Australia. It was a great semester, that was cut short too soon. I made a lot of friends that I still talk to and I can't wait to see them again.' Kyle Castanon, International Studies major, Entrepreneurship minor—( Fall 2002)
'I cannot believe my semester is coming to an end! I feel like I'm just finally getting adjusted and now, -boom- finals are here and then i come home! Oh, well, its been amazing! Two weeks ago my friends and i went to Brisbane, surfers paradise and the gold coast, and then took another week off and went snow boarding in New Zealand! (What a temperature difference!) I've just been traveling a lot and experiencing the Aussie culture.' Celine Dilfer, Communication Studies major and Geography minor (AustraLearn--Fall 2004)
'G'day! How ya goin? I'm still over here in Australia having the best time of my life. I'm pretty sure that I don't want to go home and would stay here forever, if I could. I have met the greatest people and have experienced things that I will never forget. but sadly it is winding down and I have 2 more weeks of exams and then a couple weeks of travel.' e-mail from Katelin Perry, Kinesiology major (AustraLearn — Fall 2005) Katelin is currently a Youth Councelor with Norwegian Cruise lines)
'Brazil was the best thing I ever did. We lived in one place so we became 'regulars' at restaurants and bars and clubs. We had friends to pick us up--a regular taxi driver. The World Cup was going on while we were there and we got to go to house parties with the journalism students at the local university where we studied. The food was amazing and it was nice to spend the 'winter' in a little surf town where it was beautiful every day. There were beautiful beaches, sunsets, jungles, monkeys ' Megan Huntley, Communications Studies major (Summer Session 2006)
'Cambodia has some of the kindest people I've ever met. Working with the children was such a rewarding experience. Children are the future and getting to help shape part of the future was unbelievable. The people were so grateful for our help but yet completely unaware of what they were giving back to us.' Brooke Richards, International Studies major and Communication Studies minor (Art and Social Action in Cambodia--Winter Session 2006)
I learned how simple life can be and about myself. Through the Cambodian people, I learned that life was beautiful.' Estasia Barrientosi (Art and Social Action in Cambodia--Winter Session 2005 and Winter Session and Spring 2006)
I realized that I was an illustration major but my life had never been changed by drawing, or a T-shirt design, or a web site, so I decided to go as far away from home as possible. As a result, I took a one-year educational leave during my sophomore year and volunteered with Youth With a Mission in Cameroon. While I was there, I decided to come back and be an art education major so that I could change young people's minds before they got caught up in the deceptions of modern social values. Plus I got a really great tan.' Graham Baden, Art Education major (Youth With a Mission--Fall 2005-Spring 2006)
'It's been about two months since i've arrived in Shanghai, and honestly, I love it so much that right now, I don't want to leave! I think this is the right place for me, and I want to come back here after finishing design in California. Chinese classes at Jiao Tong University are great, the professors, quality of courses, textbooks, people, everything is great. I have so many friends, international and Chinese. The food is great, everything is going perfectly well, the night life is some of the best in the world, everything is great. I just can't describe too much, it's impossible, but for someone like me, or anyone who has different cultures, Shanghai is definitely the place to be. ' Alix Armour, Industrial Design major (CSU-IP in Shanghai--Fall 2006-Spring 2007)
I had an absolutely incredible time. It was a rugged experience. I met friends for life from all over the country. I spent the entire semester outdoors experiencing all aspects of Costa Rica (e.g., hiking in the interior rainforests, rafting on the rivers, and surfing at the beaches) and still received 12 units of course credit.'Jason Padilla, International Studies major (Outward Bound Water and Wave Semester--Fall 2005)
'Well, when my mom first broke the news to me about moving to Germany to study abroad I had so many mixed emotions. I was scared and sad to leave home and didn't know what to expect or what i was about to get myself into. The second i stepped off the plane and saw where i was that all changed. It was like no where i have ever been in my life. It was as if I stepped right into a postcardand every second up until now has been an experience of a lifetime. So much history and culture out here; every which way you turn there's another castle or old town to explore and fall in love with. My favorite experience so far will have to be our trip to the Black Forest going hiking and into a silver mine. It was amazing how green and pollution/smog/trash free everything was. The German people are so nice and welcoming and most of them speak English and get all excited when I tell them where I'm from. It's an experience I will never forget and will always cherish the memories and people i've met. I have no idea how i'm going to be able to leave this wonderful place!!!' Amanda Cook , (Stuttgart-- Fall 2006-Spring 2007)
'We traveled all over Greece. We got to go in temples that people cannot ordinarily visit because our professor had contacts. It rained, it snowed, and it was 90 degrees in some places. We stayed in amazing hotels and partied on the island of Crete for New Year's Eve. We spent time with the locals and I still have friends in Greece. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in a short-term study abroad experience.' Megan Huntley, Communication Studies major (Winter Session 2005)
'Florence is the most beautiful city filled with Renaissance art in museums, sculpture in loggias, palazzos, piazzas, wonderful beautiful people, amazing restaurants and gelato, and everything I could have ever wanted and will always miss.' Victoria Chang, Child Development major (Academic Programs International--Spring 2005)
'Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. In just a few months, I learned more about myself and the world than I have in my entire college career. I would recommend to everyone that they should take the chance and discover the new world that awaits them' Adam Roberts, International Studies major (Summer in Florence 2003 and CSU IP in Florence--2005-06)
I miss waking up, opening my bedroom window, and looking at the perfect view of the Santo Spirito Church. I miss the sound of motorcycles zooming by, and I even miss when they wouldn’t stop for me when I was trying to cross the street. I miss the walk to school everyday: passing the Ponte Vecchio on my right, window shopping Roberto Cavalli and Ferragamo (to name a couple) and stopping by my favorite restaurant to grab an espresso, all before my 9 AM class. I miss delicious food, aperitivo and the nightlife (house music!). I miss visiting with Paolo, our neighbor who owned the Wine shop across the street and practicing my Italian with people who didn’t know how to speak English. I miss Italy... ahhh la bella vita! Although the thought of spending four months in a completely foreign country was a little scary at first, I was surprised at how easily and well adjusted I became in just a few weeks. Not a day went by that I didn’t feel inspired by the culture in Florence. I learned more about myself in one semester then I have in my entire life! My semester abroad was an exciting, adventurous and life-changing experience. Angela Shippen, Fashion Merchandising major (Lorezo de Medici, Florence—Spring 2008)
'Studying Abroad was one of the best experiences at CSULB!' I can't believe I'm graduating already! I was honored to be a guest in Japan for a whole year. Japan is a country filled with many traditions and respectful people. Living in Tokyo, I would have to say fashion was crazy! In addition, there is great nightlife and many fancy restaurants and bars. If youwant to get away from the city you will find beautiful mountains and rivers couple hours away. The best season is Spring, everyone should see the true beauty of cherry blossoms. Also, dont forget to spend a day at the 'onsen' or hot springs!' Heather Hibbets, International Studies Major (CSU IP in Tokyo— 2006-07) Heather returned to Japan after graduation to teach English as a Second Language.
'New Zealand was a geographic wonderland with naturally amazing sites and adventures to encounter in every corner of the country. Studying abroad, although academically important and challenging, should include traveling as much as possible. Hiking, skiing, beaches, shopping, road-trips, ferry rides, site-seeing, mountains, glaciers, thermal hot springs, waterfalls, the Maori culture, all encapsulate the beauty of New Zealand. Appreciation for the country can be obtained everywhere you look and wander. I want to go back!'
'The decision to further my education into a graduate program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) to obtain a MA degree in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) in conjunction with the Peace Corps Master's International program (PCMI) has proved to be a challenge, but extremely rewarding process. I look forward to seeing and experiencing more of the world through the upcoming opportunity to travel and teach abroad as well as exponentially expanding my knowledge base through graduate classes at MIIS' Heather Kokesh, Geography major and Recreation minor (Summer at Sea--Summer 2002 and CSU IP in New Zealand--Spring 2003-Fall 2003) Heather completed her master's degree and is currently a staff member at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines.
'Studying abroad showed me that I was capable of doing a lot more than I had thought. Barcelona is a wonderful city vibrant with culture. If you like art, music, and the beach take my advice and visit or live in Barcelona.' Melissa Duque, History major and Journalism minor (International Studies Abroad --Fall 2005)
'Studying abroad was the most liberating experience of my life. Granada was an ideal place because of size and location within Europe—a hop, skip, and a jump to Africa and the rest of continental Europe. Everyone needs to study abroad.' Ricardo Nunez, International Studies and Political Science majors and Anthropology minor (Academic Programs International--Fall 2005) After graduation from CSULB, Ricardo served in the Peace Corps in west Africa.
'My year-long study abroad in Spain was single handedly the most important and influential learning experience I've ever had while being enrolled in any institute of higher education. In my opinion, Spain is the greatest place on earth because of its people, lifestyle, culture, and beauty. It will forever be the most memorable year of my life and I feel fortunate for having had the opportunity. It has helped define the person I am today. Renieri Segovia, Theatre Arts major, Film minor (Academic Programs International--Fall 2005-Spring 2006, China, short-term program, Winter 2007, St. Petersburg semester, fall 2008)
'Sweden is one of the most beautiful and cleanest countries I've ever seen. It's an amazing mix of modern thinking and ancient traditions. It's a place where you are forced to be totally immersed in the culture. Studying abroad in Sweden gave me so much self-confidence. I came back a much stronger woman and also redefined my role as a woman. I can't talk about Sweden without talking about equality. I came back with much higher standards for myself and how I deserve to be treated.' Brooke Richards, International Studies major and Communication Studies minor (CSU IP in Sweden--2004-05)
'I have been studying abroad in Taiwan for almost three months, and I've had an awesome time. Last summer, I spent two months in mainland China, visiting 5 or 6 different cities, and I think it's safe to say that Taiwan is quite different from the mainland. The life style here is kind of a mixture between western and traditional Chinese culture. The food for instance, is less 'Chinese' than in the mainland. A lot of the locals in Taipei speak English fluently, and just about all street/store signs have English along with Chinese.' Babak 'Bobby' Safaei, Chinese Studies major (Ministry of Education, Taiwan--Fall 2006-Spring 2007)
'I would have to say that going to England was one of the best experiences of my life. I know everyone says that, but it is true. There is something about putting yourself 'out there'. If you have an open mind, and are positive, there is no way you could have a negative study abroad experience. I made so many friends, people that I feel I could know for a lifetime. I feel like I have a new home, a home away from home. The only advice I would give people is, just do it, if this is something that has had your attention for awhile, nothing should hold you back, because it is all worth it.' Aja Minor, International Studies major (University of Leicester CSULB Direct Exchange--2005-06) After graduation from CSULB, Aja returned to the UK and completed a master's degree in Migration and Diaspora Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Going to London was an indescribable experience. Just visiting there would have been amazing, but to actually live there, to wake up everyday, and hop on the tube to go to school, to hear everyone around you talking with that wonderful English accent, to be immersed in the culture every waking hour, that was the truly amazing part. I am so incredibly happy and fortunate to have had the opportunity to study abroad in my life, and I tell everyone I know to take advantage of the opportunity as well. Not only will you gain invaluable work and learning experience as I did, but you gain immeasurable life experience.' Sara Ghaffari, Fashion Merchandising major (CSULB London Semester— Spring 2004)
'London was an absolutely amazing experience. There could never be enough words to fully explain how this has changed my life for the best--the experience of its culture, the close bonds of exciting new people, and the better understanding of myself are just a few ways. I will have the rest of my life to look back on this trip and know this is the one decision that was my own and know I have not one regret except that I wished it had lasted longer!' Briah Luther, Comparative World Literature major (CSULB London Semester--Spring 2005) Briah has since completed a master's degree in Comparative Literature at San Francisco State University.
'I decided to study abroad in order to immerse myself into a different culture, to learn more about myself, meet new people, experience another culture. and gain some independence (being away from home for the first time). I gained a better understanding of different cultures through traveling. I gained more of a worldly view about life.' Brittany Irvine, Sociology major (CSULB London Semester-- Fall 2005)
BUNAC Work Abroad Program—London
'I fell in love with the city life, the vast parks and scenery of England. For this reason, I decided to move back to London and work after I graduated from CSULB. As a friend once told me,'You can always come home, but you can't always leave.' So there couldn't have been a better time for me to make this decision to see more of the world. The Bunac program is a six month work visa program which allows you to have entry into the UK, and get a UK paying job. There's a small applicant fee, but other than that the entry process is easy. I've been here now for 2 and a half months and am having the time of my life. Although I'm working full time, I've made several close friends from my work and have fully immersed myself into the British culture. I've found my sense of independence, and hope to eventually continue my education over here in London. I highly recommend that anyone who is willing to participate in this invigorating experience contact your study abroad office, or Bunac, and begin a new chapter in your life.'
Brittany Irvine, Sociology major (London BUNAC Work Abroad Program--Summer and Fall 2006) Britany returned to London and completed a graduate certificate in Psychology in spring 2008. t Te