What Studying Abroad in the UK Taught Us

Oct 1, 2018 2:26:51 PM / by admin

Three students, three different skin colors, three different accents and three different backgrounds all studying media literacy abroad while enriching themselves in a new culture.

One from Washington D.C., attending Portland State University, one from Egypt who is also attending Portland State University, and one from Washington who is affiliated with Portland State through an adjunct professor of Washington State University. Each one of us is in London, a new destination for all of us, to study the same subject and experience the same culture. Since we come from varying backgrounds, we have varying perspectives and consequently have each had different learning experiences. Here are 5 things that we have learned about the UK from a student perspective.

From left to right, Rachel Jones, Yohana Lewis, and Anna Nelson

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Posted in: London, England, Personal Learning, Cultural Differences, Classes in London, Diversity Abroad

Living Like a Local in Florence: Embracing Differences and Adjusting Accordingly

Sep 18, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at  University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Connor shares the differences he's observed between his Florence apartment and apartments he's had in the US, as well as what he's doing to adjust to living like a local.


Living in a flat in Florence has been a completely new living experience for me. While there are many aspects of the living situation that are different, the setup of my apartment is standard compared to my apartment back home. It has 2 bedrooms, a common area, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It is slightly small but has all of the necessities a person needs.

My BedroomEach room has 2 people living in it. Each person gets their own desk and dresser as well!

There are several differences in appliances and utilities in Florence, or the lack thereof. The first is that there is no clothes dryer. We have a drying rack and lines outside our rooms to hang up our clothes for us to dry. I was slightly concerned before coming to Florence about how this would work or if it would ruin my clothes. However, after washing and drying my clothes for the first time I realized it is not as big of a deal as I thought.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Accommodation Abroad, Cultural Differences

Adapting to Social Behavior and Facing My Biggest Culture Shock in Shanghai

Aug 21, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Trisha Sanchez

Trisha Sanchez

Trisha is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An International Business major at Champlain College, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Trisha tells us about what social behavior and culture are like in China and encountering her biggest culture shock as an American to date.


A few Fridays ago we had our usual internship course for CAPA on the East China Normal University campus in Shanghai. That day, Professor Carol Ma gave us a brief lecture on some vital differences on business culture in a Chinese environment. One characteristic that stood out to me the most was the contrast in which Chinese and American people react to compliments. I learned that whereas in American culture it’s very typical to be lavished with compliments to one another, especially as a conversation starter, in the Chinese culture compliments are taken more as a serious interest. Something several of us have even experienced at our internships already is that if you compliment a particular object a Chinese person has, they will likely attempt to gift it to you. In the US, if someone you know seems to greatly admire one of your possessions, the typical thing to do is to tell the person where you obtained the object.

Exploring ShanghaiExploring the city.

However, in China it seems that the typical gesture is rather to bequeath the item to the complimenter that admires it so. I once wound up with an entire box of snake meat to take home with me because I mentioned a friend of mine would be interested in trying it!

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Cultural Differences, Personal Learning

Observing Italian Norms: La Bella Figura

Aug 9, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Anthropology, Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, and Studio Arts major at University of Colorado - Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Allyson draws from her classes and observations of Italian dressing and explains the philosophy of La Bella Figura.


An interesting thing about being abroad is you notice not just the big differences between your home and the new country you are in, but also the slight cultural differences such as clothing styles, eating preferences, and other social norms.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Summer2018_From Allyson Barnes - Looking Far into Florence

As an anthropology student, I have always loved analyzing the people around me, as strange as that may sound. I enjoy finding the little things that really make a person who they are. No matter what it may be, there are certain factors that define someone and I love getting to figure out what they are.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Cultural Insights, Cultural Differences

Representing the U.S. While Blending in as a Londoner

May 2, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Kelly Allen_London

Kelly is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Kelly shares how she's conscious of her representation of the U.S. while abroad and how she blends in as a Londoner in all aspects, including riding the Tube.


Loud, obnoxious, disrespectful—those are the stereotypes I assume most Europeans have of Americans. As a study abroad student, I’ve thought a lot about how I am representing Americans while abroad. Thinking about this has made me conscious of my behavior in relation to the stereotypes of Americans that exist.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Camden Tube StationAt the Camden Tube station.

While navigating my way through the Tube, I try to look like I know what I’m doing (which I often did, but I didn’t in the beginning). I make sure to walk on the left side unless there are signs stating otherwise or most people are walking on the right, so as to blend in with the crowd. This is something that even in America I tend to get annoyed by when people don’t walk on the “right” side. While sitting on the Tube, I mind my own business as most do and don’t make a lot of noise or eye contact.

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Posted in: London, England, Cultural Differences, Transportation

How Architecture Informs Culture and The Way We Live

Nov 8, 2017 3:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Thaddeus is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A BFA major at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, he is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Thaddeus pays special attention to the architecture and culture in the cities he visited over his fall break abroad.


After my fall break, I wanted to expound a bit more on some things I have learned as an American (or U.S. Citizen) abroad. While being in London has definitely been a culture shock, I have always felt as though this city, in particular, is still rather familiar to me as if I was traversing a city in the United States.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Fall2017_From Thaddeus Kaszuba - Amsterdam - People riding about the Canals to roam the city.jpg

While Amsterdam is typically known for being a safe haven for more "adult activities," one friend of mine referred to it as an "adult theme park," the city itself still has a historical core that can be found in its architecture. The U.S. has had much more opportunity to expand rather than centralize due to the vast space the country encompasses. However, visiting a city where efficient use of space is of vital importance was an extremely eye-opening observation for me.

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Posted in: London, England, Cultural Differences, Fall Break Abroad, Barcelona, Spain

Cultural Insights: 4 Daily Differences Between Americans and Italians

Oct 19, 2017 4:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Hayley is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Communication and Media major at Merrimack College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hayley ponders over her cross-cultural psychology classes and the daily cultural differences between Americans and Italians. 


During my time abroad I have gotten to reflect on my personal identity as an American living in a foreign country. My experiences as well as classes have helped me develop a better understanding of the cross-cultural differences that I face every day in the city of Florence. In one of my classes, cross-cultural psychology, we learn about things such as socialization behavior in a cultural context and the different factors in cultural transmission and development.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Florence_From Hayley Parker - Piazzale Michelangelo.png

One of my favorite lessons we’ve learned in class thus far would be the differences of growing up American versus growing up Italian. This lesson got me thinking about how I may see things differently and act differently because of the way I was brought up in the U.S. Here are some of the major differences I’ve noticed in life in Italy versus life in the U.S.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Cultural Insights, Cultural Differences

Differences Between California and Florence

Oct 9, 2017 3:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Celess is an official CAPA vlogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Business Administration major at Riverside City College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Celess talks about the differences she's observed between her home state of California and her study abroad in Florence.


Thanks Celess!

Celess' journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Cultural Differences

How I Have Changed Since Being Here: the Difference Between

Jul 4, 2017 1:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPA_SkyleeLawton_Sydney_Headshot.pngSkylee Lawton is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Public Relations major at SUNY Oswego, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

In this week's post, Skylee talks about the differences between her home and host cities, with the help of her study abroad roommates.


Recently, I had two of my roommates Sara and Hayley, help me out with a list of differences we have found between Australia and America. Now, mind you, this is what we have found. Someone else may come here and could have a totally different experience (although I highly doubt it). Australia is a place similar to America in that they are both English speaking and have seemingly similar food. But there are so many unexpected differences that I wasn’t expecting, so I wasn’t prepared. If you go to to a place like China, you will probably expect everything to be different, but that’s not so much the case here. Every time you feel like you are back home, someone does something or something happens that shoots you back to locational reality.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Summer2017_From Skylee Lawton Bondi.jpg
Photo: Hayley, Katie and me at Bondi Beach

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Posted in: Sydney, Australia, Cultural Differences

10 Tips for Coping with Reverse Culture Shock

Jun 16, 2017 3:30:00 PM / by Regan Charie

You know that when you study and live in a new country, you'll be exposed to a variety of cultural differences that you're not used to. Over time, these unspoken rules become the norm and after a few weeks you'll be settled in and not even give them a second thought. But what happens to these new mannerisms when you return home? You might start to experience a phenomenon called "reverse culture shock", which is what happens when you find yourslef struggling to adjust to going back to old habits and places. Since it may take time to get used to your old (yet new) surroundings, we came up with 10 ways to help you acclimate to no longer being abroad.

10 Tips for Coping with Reverse Culture Shock.png

1. Continue to do activities that you did while abroad

If you started playing a sport such as badminton while you were abroad, try to find somewhere where you can continue to play it. If you took up singing, join a choir at home! Whatever the activity or hobby is, don’t just give it up because you're not abroad. It is likely that you’ll be able to continue in a local club, or at your university.

Regan Culture Shock Post 1.jpg

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Posted in: Top 10, Cultural Differences, Tips


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