Conversations on Studying Abroad

10 Interesting Facts About Barcelona

Nov 20, 2018 11:45:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Before you travel to the land of Gaudi’s magical modernist architecture, endless plates of tapas, and one of the world’s most famous soccer teams, read up on a few interesting facts about one of our great global cities: Barcelona!

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Posted in: Cultural Insights, Barcelona, Spain, Top 10, Local Culture, Cultural Immersion

Wearing the Poppy: Poetry and the First World War

Nov 9, 2018 2:36:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

What we remember

The ending of the First World War (1914- 1918) will be widely commemorated on November 11th  2018. It was a global conflict that began and ended in Africa; thirty per cent of the British troops served on the Eastern Front. The conflict reshaped the international environment.  Old monarchies failed. The Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires collapsed. New countries in Europe and the Middle East emerged from the ruins including Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Trans-Jordan. The consequences of that war are still part of our global political landscape.

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Posted in: International Education, History Abroad, Cultural Insights

7 Ways CAPA Students Can Experience Cultural Immersion

Nov 5, 2018 11:13:48 AM / by Institutional Relations Team

When you are thousands of miles from home in a new country, how do you break out of the “American bubble” and actively integrate in the host culture? In this post, we’re checking in with our students to see how they have explored different avenues for cultural immersion in their Global City.

Here are just a few examples of how you can learn about cultural traditions, meet locals, and go beyond while abroad!

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Posted in: Cultural Insights, Local Culture, Why Study Abroad, Cultural Immersion

Talking About My Generation

Oct 30, 2018 2:30:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

Well, people try to put us down.
Talkin' bout my generation.
Just because we get around.
I'm not trying to cause a big sensation.
I'm just talkin' bout my generation.

—The Who (written by Marley, Carter, Jones etc.)

The idea that being born at a particular point in time creates some kind of collective identity is a relatively recent invention. The idea of a “generation” only came to be used to distinguish the younger from the older in the early 20th century. As an arbitrary means of interpreting historical change, it implies that those born within a given period are invested with distinctive behavioral traits. Sarah Laskow argued that “Societal generations are a relatively modern idea, hit upon by 19th century European intellectuals and refined in the beginning of the 20th century.” The idea of the generation offers a mechanism by which we impose some kind of pattern upon history: a model defined by age conflict.

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Posted in: International Education, Study Abroad, Cultural Insights

On Meeting Locals, Blending In, and Stereotypes in Florence and Siena

Aug 23, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah details her experiences with Florentines, representing Americans abroad, and attending the Palio di Siena race in Siena.


As an American study abroad student, I was aware of how I would stick out in Florentine culture. During our CAPA orientation, we were warned that American students had unfortunately gained a negative reputation in Florence. For example, they are well-known for binge drinking at the bars at night and getting perhaps too out of control. We learned that Italians have a different approach about drinking, and it is a part of their culture to enjoy good wine and alcohol with food. My roommates and I were determined to be mindful as we represented ourselves abroad.

Hannah with a Neckerchief for Contrada della Oca in SienaI bought a neckerchief for the Contrada della Oca—the house of the Goose.
Siena's streets are divided by each neighborhood, or contrada, in different sections around Piazza del Campo.

Aside from this, I knew I would be representing Americans more generally abroad too, and I was therefore more conscious of how I acted compared to Italians, and to other American tourists visiting the city.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Cultural Insights, Activities Abroad

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

A Belfast Excursion Filled with History and Culture

Jul 3, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Rachel Howell

Rachel Howell

Rachel is an official CAPA vlogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Visual Media major at Auburn University, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

In this week's post, Rachel takes us along on an excursion to Belfast and tells us about the city's history, culture, and some facts about the Titanic.


Thanks Rachel!

Rachel's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.

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Posted in: Dublin, Ireland, History Abroad, Cultural Insights, Activities Abroad

What My Daily Life is Like in Buenos Aires

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

CAPA_Claire Shrader_Buenos Aires_Headshot.jpgClaire Shrader is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Pre-Occupational Therapy major at Mississippi College, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.

In this week's post, Claire tells us what her daily life is like while she embraces new experiences and builds a routine.


Hola! Today is my last day of classes for the week because it’s Semana Santa (Holy Week), so we get the rest of the week off. I’ve officially been in Buenos Aires for five-and-a-half weeks, which feels pretty unbelievable. It feels like just yesterday I had to ask for help with directions every five minutes, leaving 30 minutes earlier than necessary to leave a large margin for getting lost, arriving to class early and still getting lost on the way. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Wonderful MusicWonderful music!

Now I have the walk to school, the subte (subway), and my favorite bus stops all memorized. I’ve also learned that if I get to class 10 minutes early I’ll end up waiting for 20 mins. I’ve slowly started settling into normal. And then I’ll just end up pausing on my walk to my internship and remind myself—WHAT ON EARTH! YOU ARE IN ARGENTINA. It still feels unreal.

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Posted in: Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cultural Insights, Activities Abroad

Connecting Global Cities: Celebrations and Tribulations of Chinese New Year

Feb 15, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by 'Connecting Global Cities' by Colin Speakman

Connecting Global Cities” is a monthly column written by Colin Speakman, Resident Director for CAPA Shanghai.


“Xīn Nián Kuài Lè” (Mandarin - Happy New Year) or “Kung Hei Fat Choy” (Cantonese - Happiness and Prosperity) were sayings echoing out around Asia and beyond, even as far as London’s Chinatown when the Chinese New Year celebrations got underway as a near global event from Friday, February 15 (New Year’s Eve and China National Holiday) ending by Thursday, February 22.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2018_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - Chinese New Year Parade in London 2018.pngPhoto: Chinese New Year Parade in London by Colin Speakman

Of course, these holidays are found in other parts of Asia and, in 2017, I celebrated in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the period of Vietnam’s Tet. This time I was in London and Western countries have no holidays for Chinese New Year (though China has National Holidays for January 1—three days this time). Thus, it was on Sunday February 18, a couple of days’ later, that London’s Chinatown held the famous parade and events in Trafalgar Square. I was there to celebrate the Year of the Dog even if with the help of a Snake (it was not the Year of the Frog!).

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Global Cities, Cultural Insights

Halloween Abroad: The Dublin Macnas Parade

Nov 7, 2017 1:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Elizabeth is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Communication major at Lasell College, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

In this week's post, Elizabeth gets a closer look at the Dublin Macnas Parade during Halloween and sees a different side of the city.


The Halloween season has officially come to an end. When walking down the street today, businesses were taking the cobwebs off their business signs and the pumpkins out of their windows. Even though the season of apples and spooky decorations has ended, I'm glad I was able to experience part of Dublin’s Halloween spirit.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Dublin_From Elizabeth Leahy - Halloween_Dublin Macnas Parade.png

As we stood on the sidewalk of Capel Street, the crowds around us were electric. On Monday night, my friends and I joined the crowd of all ages to watch the Dublin Macnas Parade. Children were dressed up in costumes patiently waiting for the event to begin.

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Posted in: Dublin, Ireland, Cultural Insights, Activities Abroad


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