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, 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!

Friday, January 26, 2018 - 09:30

Chile's Hidden Gems
Submitted by Gisselle Arce

Being the longest country in the world with 2,647 miles of land, it is easy to miss some of Chile’s most stunning attractions. If you are looking for a country where you can enjoy art, music, history, and nature, this is the perfect country to add to your list! There is something for everyone to enjoy in this large and welcoming country. Below are some of the few hidden gems that people may forget to visit while they’re south of the equator.  

1. Los Chinchorros

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 10:21

Diggin’ the Past: Three Uncommon Must-See Archaeological Sites in Italy
Submitted by Allie Roos

If you are at all interested in archaeology, or if you just want to see some really awesome old stuff, I’d recommend you spend some time in Italy. Of course, the country is famous for its fabulous food and beautiful shoes, but Italy has so much to offer in terms of history, as well. We owe many aspects of Western Civilization to the Ancient Romans. I found walking in their footsteps to be incredibly enlightening. There is something magical about learning on-location; reading about a site will never be enough for me now. Most people will see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum when they go to Rome, but this ancient city has so much more to offer in terms of incredible archaeological sites. Below are three of my favorite sites located in and around the city of Rome that are definitely worth checking out if you want to tread off the beaten

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 14:49

South Korea: Democracy at Work
Submitted by Courtney Cavanah

The timeframe in which I chose to study abroad in South Korea was the best I could have ever decided on, because it allowed me to witness history. I arrived in August 2016, and by the time I left to return the United States in June 2017, a whole series of historic political events had played out, where one President was impeached and another had been elected.

The news outlets lit up around October, and they couldn’t keep two names out of the headlines for months following. As it turns out, President Park Geun-hye was involved in an elaborate scandal where she was not only sharing government secrets with her confidant, Choi Soon-sil, but also conspired with her to steal lot of government money using their status and power. Following this revelation, massive

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 14:45

Keeping Up Your Language Skills
Submitted by Courtney Cavanah

For those of us who have gone abroad and learned a lot of our host country’s language during our time away, it’s safe to say that we’d rather expand on our language abilities than forget everything we’ve learned upon returning home. I myself have experimented with different ways to not only continue practicing language in all four essential areas (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening) but to also find friends with common interests along the way. Below are some of effective methods I’ve personally employed to maintain my language skills, so for those of you who don’t want to forget, I implore you to try them out yourselves!

  • Join a Club: There are so many different clubs and organizations here at Pitt that cover a wide
Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 14:34

Transportation 101: South Korea
Submitted by Courtney Cavanah

So you’re going to Seoul, and you’re worried about how to navigate your way from Incheon Airport to your host university. For those of you as “transportationally inept” as I was, I can’t boast enough about Seoul’s infrastructure and how kind it was to me. Not only are the subways and buses clean, spacious, and efficient, but they are also incredibly cheap and foreigner-friendly, with each one-way trip anywhere around the city costing you only a little over one dollar.

With that in mind, there are various resources to help you navigate through the city with little to no hassle. There are two main things you’ll need to be zipping around the Seoul in no time: smartphone transportation apps, and a transportation card.