Oh the places you’ll go!

Burlington, tucked between the mountain vistas and lakefront views, quickly becomes home to most who come here. Regardless, the number of UVM students studying abroad has skyrocketed in recent years said Linda Damon, Assistant Director of Study Abroad. What’s behind the big hype of studying abroad? The Process Currently UVM offers over 800 study abroad programs. The program locations range from Paris, France to TooWoomba, Australia, according to UVM’s Office of International Education Web site. Whether you’re looking for an experience packed with nightclubs or coffee houses, there is undoubtedly a program for you. According to Damon, in the 2006-2007 academic year, roughly 840 UVM students studied abroad. This number is predominantly composed of third year students. Of the UVM students that study abroad, most happen to be female, which, according to Damon, reflects a national trend in students studying abroad. “On a national scale, it’s about two-thirds female and one-third male,” says Damon. Studying abroad for junior Tucker Lyman and senior Drew Holbrook made such an impact that they plan to move overseas after graduation. Lyman spent last semester in Frieburg, Germany through the Institution for the International Education of Students (IES). Lyman’s program had special divisions designed for his double major in Economics and German. Through IES, he was able to travel to over 14 different countries, visiting major banks and talking to their representatives. Between all of these travel opportunities and watching the ways in which international companies work, Lyman hopes to make his way back overseas in the future. “I want to work abroad after this experience,” he has decided. Drew Holbrook had a similar reaction after traveling abroad for two semesters. After studying in Argentina last spring and working at a ski resort in Chile last fall, Holbrook plans to return to Chile after graduation. “My semester in Argentina led to my decision to work in Chile. It was a necessary stepping stone.” Study abroad programs may adequately prepare you for your adjustment to life in another country. Coming home is another story. Holbrook can attest to this reverse-culture shock upon arriving back to the states from South America. “I’ve never been so screwed up in my life as I was after coming home. I had just had these profound experiences,” Holbrook said. “I had seen a whole other reality.” The number of UVM students who are choosing to study abroad is a testament to our open-mindedness and interest in other cultures. Judging from the stories UVMers have brought back to Burlington, it is clear that studying abroad is a life altering experienceWhen UVM students return from their time abroad, they bring countless stories of their adventures home with them. Here are a few of those adventuresJordan Benkov, senior Where? Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cape Town, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan, to name a few Program? Semester at Sea Best Story: In Japan we decided we wanted to go hiking for a few days so we packed our bags and proceeded to hitchhike to the mountain which ended up not being a main road to hitchhike on. When we were dropped off there was no one driving on the road, so we walked for like, three hours until it was midnight. So we pitched our tent on the side of the road in a ditch. The temperature dropped to like 40 degrees. We woke up at five in the morning and started hitchhiking again until we finally got to the trail summit. We hiked on the trail for two days and realized that we had to hitchhike all the way back.First thing you did when you got back to Burlington? Went to Four Corners.Kelsey Cummings, senior Where? Khonkaen, Thailand Program? CIEE Best story? On Halloween my friend and I were on the beach in Thailand. We went to a club and everyone was dancing and then this screaming transvestite gave us free alcohol. So, we were dancing and this Thai prostitute she wanted to dance with us. Later that night she tried to pimp my friend to some random guy in the club. We decided it was time to go home. First thing you did when you got back to Burlington? Made a turkey casserole.Jenny Trace, senior Where? Cañar Province, Ecuador Program? Round River Conservation Studies Best story? I stayed on a llama reserve, and the guy who owned it breeds alpacas. We had been learning to castrate the alpacas. One alpaca defense mechanism is to gather together and stare you down. So, when I first entered the site it was raining, I was dehydrated and all by myself and out of nowhere this whole herd of alpacas surrounds me and stares me down. I had no idea what they were going to do.First thing you did when you got back to Burlington? Got a Thai Chicken wrap at New World.Casey Carroll, senior Where? Sydney, Australia Program? IFSA Butler Best story? We were on a road trip in an RV and ran out of gas in the outback and parked at an isolated gas station for the night waiting for it to open in the morning. Everyone else went to bed and I couldn’t so I went exploring and when I got back I decided I would sleep on top of the RV. So I’m getting up there and the other kids in the RV wake up and think they are under attack. They got kitchen knives to arm themselves and they started banging on the roof. I didn’t know what it was so I just ignored it but after about 20 minutes the door to the RV flies open and my two buddies jump out with kitchen knives ready to attack. But it was just me.First thing you did when you got back to Burlington? I drove past the McDonald’s on Williston Road ’cause I had heard that it was closed and had to investigate. Not only was it still open but it had been renovated.Cooper Marshall, senior Where? Prague, Czech Republic Program? AIFS Best Story? A Gypsy came up to me when I was in Wenceslas Square and grabbed my crotch with one hand and reached into my back pocket with the other and tried to steal my wallet. First thing you did when you got back to Burlington? Went to Duff Hour at Three Needs.