Swetha Jasti

PItt in Cuba (Summer 2018)
Learning how to salsa in Cuba was really fun! We took a few lessons at the university and learned the basics. We then attended a salsa night at a famous club in Havana where we got to practice our newly learned skills as well as watch Cubans dance the salsa effortlessly.  

Precious Diamond

CLAS Field Trip and Seminar to Leon, Nicaragua
Being flexible! Studying abroad taught me to roll with the punches and to always be flexible in scheduling, transportation, dealing with other people, food options, and living in general. 

Precious Diamond

CLAS Field Trip and Seminar to Leon, Nicaragua
Relating to people when I came back stateside. Reverse culture shock is very real and part of that is relating to people back home. My vision of life was different in many ways after living in a country less developed than my own, and people that have never experienced that cannot understand the impact it can make.

Precious Diamond

CLAS Field Trip and Seminar to Leon, Nicaragua
Living with a host family and sharing time with them. This type of living situation is invaluable because you have an insider, native's perspective of the country. I was doing research while abroad and was able to make so many contacts via my host family. They took me to a wedding, the beach, various restaurants; it was amazing to have their guidance and support.

Precious Diamond

CLAS Field Trip and Seminar to Leon, Nicaragua
Just do it! Don't let the distance, money, language or anything discourage you. If you have the slightest interest at all, pursue it. The benefits and lessons you gain far outweigh any hesitation you may initially have.

Precious Diamond

CLAS Field Trip and Seminar to Leon, Nicaragua
Because it is life-changing. You learn about yourself and the strength you have as well as your limits and what you are not willing to do. Also, I believe it's important to have a understanding of how other people live, communicate and celebrate life. Having this knowledge can completely change your view of your own life and how you interact with those around you.

Kris Keppel

Plus3 Vietnam (Summer 2017), Engineering Design for Social Change - South Africa (Summer 2018)
As a kid who grew up in a small, rural town with little diversity of any kind, it’s an understatement to say that I had a fairly sheltered upbringing. I had always had a strong desire, however, to travel and explore new places, so I made studying abroad a priority when I came to Pitt. I wanted to meet new people, see new landscapes, try new foods, and experience new cultures in any way I could. That’s why I chose to study abroad, and that’s why I chose South Africa and Vietnam specifically, due to their very unique and different cultures.

Kris Keppel

Plus3 Vietnam (Summer 2017), Engineering Design for Social Change - South Africa (Summer 2018)
My most memorable experience came in Cape Town, South Africa on our last day of the trip.  We had a free day, and many of the students from the group chose to visit Table Mountain, a towering mountain with a flat top that overlooks the entire city of Cape Town, as well as the ocean it sits upon.  We could see for miles, and the beauty of the city, ocean, and the mountain itself was simply breath-taking.  I can honestly say it was the most beautiful natural scene I have ever observed in person, and certainly an experience I’ll never forget.

Kris Keppel

Plus3 Vietnam (Summer 2017), Engineering Design for Social Change - South Africa (Summer 2018)
My biggest piece of advice to students who would like to study abroad is to make sure that you take in every bit of information you can, especially when no one is telling you to. It’s easy to look out the window of your tour bus when your guide tells you to, and it’s easy to pay attention to your faculty members when they’re explaining some historical event they tell you is important. The observations that will have the biggest impact on you, however, will be those that you make when no one tells you to, or when there doesn’t seem to be anything of note. In those moments, take a look around, and notice the little things, because you’ll learn a lot.

Kris Keppel

Plus3 Vietnam (Summer 2017), Engineering Design for Social Change - South Africa (Summer 2018)
I believe all students should study abroad because it gives you a perspective you simply cannot get from normal studies.  There are so many lessons that can be learned from immersing yourself in a new culture and talking to people from backgrounds that are vastly different from your own.  There are only so many things that can be taught in a textbook, and I can truly say that I learned more about the countries I visited in the two weeks I was there than I could ever have in a semester long course about them.