Andrew Trunzo

FU-BEST Spring 2017
During my time in Germany, I lived with a German host family and immersed myself entirely in the language and culture. It was incredible to witness the culmination of my language skills and years of study. I made it a goal to live as a German: this meant speaking the language at all times, trying every kind of food, being an active member of my host family and community, partaking in local activities, and attending shows, concerts, and sporting events. Living with a foreign family allowed me to experience another culture through the eyes of others. I became a more globally-minded individual with a deeper understanding of other people and lifestyles. The relationships I built, skills I demonstrated, and things I learned were among the most meaningful of my life thus far. I would do it all over again if given the opportunity.

Isabella Lam

University of Hong Kong, Year 2017-18
Being awarded the Friends of HKU schlarship has led me to reflect on my first semester studying abroad in Hong Kong. The semester felt like it flew by. Looking back now, I remember making my first friend at an orientation meeting. Later that day, my friend and I explored Hong Kong's Tin Hau district by randomly choosing a stop on the MTR's Island Line. While exploring, we inadvertently walked in a giant circle searching for food (we eventually ate Japanese food). As I explored more on my own, I found links between different districts and built a map in my head, so I can now reliably find my way from one to another. Studying abroad at HKU has been educational but not just in terms of school work. In my first semester, I studied hard, made friends, did both tourist and cultural activities (I was even lucky enough to attend a wedding and try traditional wedding banquet food!), and explored the streets of Hong Kong. Wandering around and successfully ordering delicious street food felt like a great accomplishment due to my feeble Cantonese skills. I have many fond memories, and I am glad to still have time to make more.

Alex Knapp

University of Sussex, Year 2015
My year-long exchange at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England was nothing less than a transformative experience, both educationally and personally. I was able to engage in psychological research that melded with my interests and participate in performance theory and practice both in the classroom and extracurricularly. As such, the University of Sussex and the University of Pittsburgh were supportive and accessible, thus allowing me to continue my undergraduate path with ample ease and excitement.

Zane Kodama

Kobe University, Spring 2018
Study abroad was a goal of mine even before starting college, and one of the reasons why I chose to go to the University of Pittsburgh. I can now confirm that it has lived up to my expectations and is an experience that I would strongly recommend to all students. Participating in study abroad has not only exposed me to different cultures and new experiences, but has also helped me develop a greater sense of what I want to do with my career. I am really grateful for support that I have received.

Bridgette Hinterliter

Alicante, Spain (2010) Vira I Heinz Women in Global Leadership Award
During my undergraduate career at Pitt-Johnstown I studied Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish. I had developed a love for the Spanish language and culture in high school and was eager to learn more while in college. During my freshman year, I quickly became aware of the various study abroad opportunities that were available to me. I researched study abroad and I applied for a variety of scholarships. Fortunately, as a sophomore, I was awarded the Vira I Heinz Women in Global Leadership Award that provided me with scholarship money that I used to study abroad in Alicante, Spain in 2010. This study abroad opportunity provided me with the opportunity to live the culture, speak the language and experience life as a local for the duration of my program.

Bridgette Hinterliter

Alicante, Spain (2010) Vira I Heinz Women in Global Leadership Award
I left Alicante, Spain with tons of very memorable experiences. Experiences and memories that I still think about today. Of the memorable experiences that I engaged in, one of my favorites was celebrating Spain win the world cup in 2010 with the locals. I was fortunate to be in Spain as they won the world cup in soccer. I remember stores, businesses, and classes were all closed the following day as locals took to the streets to celebrate within their community. The other girls that I studied abroad with and I joined the two day-long celebration. This is an experience that I will never forget!

Bridgette Hinterliter

Alicante, Spain (2010) Vira I Heinz Women in Global Leadership Award
I would encourage everyone to study abroad! The time is now! As you graduate and move on into the world traveling becomes more difficult to do because of time or money constraints. Therefore, my advice would be to do it now while you can. This opportunity is too valuable to let slip away. 

Bridgette Hinterliter

Alicante, Spain (2010) Vira I Heinz Women in Global Leadership Award
I would encourage students to reach out to people who have studied in Spain. This would be a great way to have their questions answered and for them to receive advice. Furthermore, it would be helpful to rent or purchase a book about where you are going. This touristy type of book will help to provide them with some things to do while abroad. Even though the goal may be to “appear like a local” it would be foolish not to visit the country’s most famous landmarks or participate in the country’s cultural experiences. Using these resources can help to prepare students for their study abroad experience and allow them to formulate a plan to maximize their time while abroad.

Bridgette Hinterliter

Alicante, Spain (2010) Vira I Heinz Women in Global Leadership Award
After graduating from college with my Bachelors and Masters degrees I accepted a teaching position in Culpeper, Virginia. I taught in the city, where the population was very diverse. Most of my students spoke Spanish at home and their parents were learning English just the students were. Therefore, my knowledge of the Spanish language helped me to translate letters being sent home as well as when reaching out over the phone. Parents were thrilled to be receiving information from their child’s school in their native language. This helped me to build rapport with my students and their families in order to educate my students better. After two years in this position, I was offered a teaching position with Moon Area School District in Moon Township, Pennsylvania and at that time I was able to move back home. 

Brice Lynn

ISA Granada
As a Spanish major, studying abroad was about taking what existing in my head as a set of rules and vocabulary and turning it into meaningful communication.   I needed to be pushed to use Spanish day-to-day, and my study abroad experience served as a good starting point for that.