Welcome to the Pitt SAO blog! Whether you still need to be sold on study abroad, you're already planning your trip, or you're back home and want to make sure you get the most of your experience, there's something here for everyone! To submit a post to be published on our blog and social media platforms, click here.


Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 12:41

Intern Spotlight: Meet Melanie Malsch!

Hallo! I’m Melanie, I’m a junior at Pitt. I’m double majoring in International and Area Studies and Environmental Studies and minoring in German. There’s no better place to learn about all three of these topics than Berlin, so I spent my entire sophomore year there taking courses in European foreign affairs, energy policy, and intensive German. I took seminar-style classes at Freie Universität Berlin through their European Studies (FUBEST) program taught by German professors.

One of my favorite parts of the program was how strongly FUBEST stressed the importance of cultural/outside-the-classroom learning by providing several levels of excursions. We took German class field trips frequently, participated in at least one Friday excursion each week, and embarked on a weeklong trip halfway through the semester. Listing the all the course

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 12:04

Intern spotlight: Meet Hailey Wattman!

Hi! My name is Hailey and I am a senior here at Pitt, originally from the west Philadelphia suburbs. I am pursuing a double major in Communication Rhetoric and Spanish with a Global Studies Certificate. My first abroad experience was early in my academic career - I studied in Havana, Cuba the summer after my freshman year of college through the Pitt in Cuba program. I studied Spanish Language, Cuban Culture, and Latin American Cinema at La Universidad de La Habana entirely in Spanish, with few English-speaking students around. It was truly a unique and challenging experience.

After coming back to the United States, I knew that just one 6-week program wasn’t enough. In the winter of my junior year, I packed my bags for an entire Spring semester in Madrid, Spain. By participating on a Pitt-Recognized Program, ISA Madrid, I was able to meet

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 11:24

Intern Spotlight: Meet Anisha Mallik!

Hi everyone! I’m Anisha and I am a junior this year. I’m from the Scranton area, and I am studying Politics-Philosophy and Economics. Last year, I had the awesome opportunity to study abroad for the entire Spring semester. I was a part of the very first cohort for the Global Diversity Program. We spent five weeks each in Greece, the Czech Republic, and Ireland! We were in the island of Paros for two weeks, and then we spent three weeks in Athens. We then traveled to Prague and Dublin. It was a very unique program that allowed us to view Europe in many different lights. Since it was a Panther Program, I traveled with other Pitt students, as well as with a Pitt faculty member. He taught us a course on Race and Ethnicity in a Global Perspective, as well as one in Gender Equality in Europe. We took those two courses through all three countries, as well as one country-specific course taught by local faculty in each place. In Greece, we took a

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 09:42

Intern Spotlight: Meet Julia Heller!

Hi! My name is Julia and I am a senior here at Pitt. I originally hail from Northern New Jersey and am studying Natural Sciences with a Spanish minor and am pursuing the pre-Physician Assistant track. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Lima, Peru in the summer of 2017 and intern in Santiago, Chile in the summer of 2018. While attending the local medical school, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, I had the opportunity to take two classes: Spanish Medical Terminology and Community Medicine. When I wasn’t attending classes or studying, I was volunteering in a nearby clinic in Caja de Agua, where I shadowed several medical professionals, oversaw patient care and medical records, created and presented public health presentations at the local elementary school, and learned about the Peruvian healthcare system hands on.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 10:49

Top Three Most Overlooked Sights in Madrid
Submitted by Gisselle Arce

Madrid is a vibrant, bustling city where on any given day you can find a new adventure to go on. Typically, most people spend their time museum hopping and trying samples of Spain's delicious mediterranean delicacies at el Mercado de San Miguel. There are plenty of unique restaurants, including a beach themed restaurant with actual sand and one where all your

Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 11:28

Picky People Problems: Navigating the East Asian Food Scene
Submitted by Allie Roos

If I could change anything about myself, I would expand my food palate. As someone who loves to travel and hopes to explore all this world has to offer, my eating habits pose significant challenges for me while abroad and often prevent me from experiencing one of the best ways to experience various cultures: through their cuisine. I am fortunate to not have any severe allergies or dietary restrictions, and I am neither a vegetarian nor a vegan – just your average picky eater. 

Over the years, I have improved significantly and now regularly crave an abundance of international cuisine, most frequently Mexican, Indian, and Mediterranean. However, there is still one type that I continue to have an exceedingly difficult time with, and

Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 10:53

Bucket Showers Make for a Fun Birthday Tradition
Submitted by Eden Hailu

When you study abroad, you usually come prepared for cultural differences like language barriers or new foods. However, you'll also experience new cultures in ways you don't expect to, and it’ll catch you by surprise. You’ll encounter traditions that are unlike anything you've seen at home, leaving you with lots of questions. For instance, I was totally caught off guard by my experience in Tanzania last summer, which introduced me to the diversity of birthday traditions that exist in the world. 

After classes, I would usually find a quiet spot on campus where I could do my homework while soaking up the sun. One day, I was disturbed by loud screams nearby. I looked up to see a girl running away from about four other girls. I was confused,

Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 10:15

Intern Spotlight: Meet Eden Hailu!

Mambo! My name is Eden and I’m from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. I'm currently a junior pursuing a double major in Economics and Political Science along with certificates in African Studies and Global Studies. In the summer of 2017, I embarked on my very first international experience to Tanzania where I spent five weeks studying public health issues, Swahili, and East African culture. I stayed on a college campus in the city of Iringa, where I built lasting relationships with both students and faculty, while immersing myself into a completely different college experience. Through my public health class, I toured an HIV clinic, met several public health officials, and even traveled to a rural village to learn about their water supply system.

Outside of class, I often played volleyball and soccer with Tanzanian students. I also got to explore all the

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 15:17

Gods Along the Ganges: Spiritual Highlights from Pitt in the Himalayas
Submitted by Allie Roos

The Himalayas is a wonder of the natural world that has continually intrigued generations of natives and travelers alike. The mountain range extends into China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan. Its immense beauty has inspired thoughts of the divine from the various religious traditions of these countries and, as a result, the Himalayas hold a complex spiritual and religious power. Tibetan Buddhists and Shia Muslims mainly dominate the Greater Himalayan region in the north – from Ladakh to northeastern India – while the Hindus predominantly inhabit the Middle Himalayan and sub-Himalayan valleys. Read on to learn more about the extraordinary religious and spiritual sites students will visit as part of Pitt in the Himalayas.

Friday, February 2, 2018 - 10:14

Essential Guide to Buenos Aires
Submitted by Dana Calabrese

Buenos Aires, situated on the Rio de la Plata and nestled a short distance from Uruguay, is the largest, most multicultural city in Argentina. It's a city where Latin America and Europe collide, and the result is a colorful, vivacious capital reminiscent of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aries is a city of culture and is filled with opportunities for art, music, fashion, and theater enthusiasts. The weather is near perfect, so locals are always out and about soaking up the sun at the beach, walking about the various parks, or exploring the city itself. This energetic city is also a melting pot full of diverse cultures. In particular, many Italian immigrants inhabit the city, so be prepared to taste some of the best Italian food of your life!