OKS5's blog

Get to know your fellow Pittsburgh students

There are many pieces of advice that I would give to other students planning to study on this program, especially now that I’ve had time to reflect. The first piece of advice that I would give to others planning to study on this program is to get to know your fellow Pittsburgh students who are participating in this program with you. The people around the Plus3 Germany program are really what make it stand out from the other programs. By getting to know your fellow students, you can really begin to build a family abroad.

Interacting with locals - Germany

Interacting with the people of Germany was one of the biggest positives of my experience studying abroad. Every person I had the chance to talk to welcomed me to the country with open arms. The people of Germany were more than happy to share their customs, traditions, and experiences with me. The students and faculty of the University of Augsburg, where I had the chance to study while I was in Germany, were the best hosts that any student could ask for.

The best way to really experience a different culture is through food

As a self-proclaimed “foodie,” I truly believe that food is the window to the soul. I would venture to say that the best way to really experience a different culture is through food, and London is perhaps the best city in the world for discovering a culture (or cultures) through food. One of the things that I have done in my time in London is I have tried to mix up where I eat every week, whether it be trying a new restaurant nearby or cooking for myself at the flat. I would say that I typically cook anywhere from three to five nights each week and go out to eat the other days.

There truly is not a bad place to live

Living in London is such a unique experience based on the individual neighborhood you live in. What is so special about London, however, is that there truly is not a bad place to live. No matter where you are in the city, you are never far from a tube, bus, or train station, which makes the city seem so much smaller and more accessible. My living situation in London is definitely interesting, but I love everything about it. I live in a seven-person flat in the East End region of London, just a ten-minute walk away from the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.

Student advice - London

I have two pieces of advice for anyone thinking about this program in the future.  Firstly, this is a study abroad, it is meant to be fun.  That does not mean, however, that there is not work to be done and stressful situations.  You will have to balance classes and an internship, or a full semester’s worth of classes if you elect to not complete an internship.  I had an internship, so I can speak to this balance.  Twenty hours (which is the required hours of the internship in this project) takes up a lot more of your time than you would think.  You will likely have to work three or four da

Housing in London

I am living in an apartment in the east of London.  The neighborhood is in between The City of London and Whitechapel, part of the Tower Hamlets postal code and technically called Aldgate.  The apartment building itself is inconspicuous, sitting in a street that contains a pub, a grocery store, other businesses, and other apartment buildings as well.  My apartment itself is a great size.  We have a kitchen, living room, and dining area that is all open.  There are three bedrooms and three bathrooms, as the apartment fits seven students.  A common feature in European bathrooms is heated towe

Academic, professional and personal goals

Before studying abroad, one of my main goals was to travel and learn about different cultures. With this program, I was, fortunately, able to do just that and it further motivated me to continue traveling and experiencing new countries. This experience was extremely valuable to me in a  number of ways as it allowed me to learn and practice my academics in a real environment with various variables as well as explore the beauties of a new culture through nature, cuisine, and the people themselves.

A window to the soul - Costa Rica

For me, food has always provided a way to immerse myself in a culture and truly experience the authenticity of the traditional cuisine. I think for a lot of people it is quite literally “the window to the soul,” as many people express themselves through cooking. During these past two weeks in Costa Rica, we always ate out since we stayed in hotels and were not really given the accommodations to cook our own meals.

Language barrier

A major challenge I faced while studying abroad in Costa Rica was the language barrier. In school, I took the French language so I only have minimal knowledge of the Spanish language. This barrier followed me through the whole trip, especially in instances where I was more on my own rather than in a group. It was definitely difficult to communicate and understand things for me.

How to Make the Most of ENGR 1920

Prior to leaving for your Engineering a Craft Brewery: Belgium study-abroad program, you may feel overwhelmed by the packed schedule awaiting you, which is perfectly normal. I can assure you that each scheduled tour is unique and engaging, and plenty of free time is available in the evenings. I do recommend a couple tips for managing the lofty expectations of your itinerary and making the most out of your study-abroad in Europe.