LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS

LEIDEN – THE BASICS

With a population of 118,000, Leiden is a lively university town, with much to explore, having been described as the Netherlands’ best kept secret. Take a walk through the city center and you will notice cozy alleyways bustling with shops, bars, restaurants and cafes full of life, young and old. The charming canals are always in eyesight and set the scene for a relaxing walk or romantic dinner. From the seventeenth century on, painters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh made their mark, notably a world famous reputation for Leiden, which continues to blossom this very day. Spend time visiting world famous museums and botanical gardens or simply relax on a canal boat-tour and enjoy the beauties and floral aromatics that Leiden has to offer.

CRUISE THE CANAL

Two branches of the Old Rhine River unite in Leiden’s center, and the city is further intersected by many smaller canals. Cruising the canals is a great way to see the city sights.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

This program is offered through Webster University. Webster University – Leiden houses classrooms, offices, a library and a student lounge. An intimate campus (450 students), small class sizes and the personal environment mean that it’s easy for students to get to know most of their fellow students, as well as faculty and staff.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about our study abroad program in Leiden, the Netherlands, visit our website.

 

 

TRAVELING WHILE ABROAD

Having never traveled outside of the U.S. before I went abroad, I wanted to make sure I took full advantage of living in Europe. Not only did I travel all over Spain; Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Segovia, Alicante and Palma Mallorca but I visited several other countries as well. I went to Dublin and saw the Cliffs of Moher in Galway, Ireland.

I saw the musical Les Misérables at Queen’s Theatre in London. I went to Lisbon, Portugal, Paris, France and even spent a weekend in the Canary Islands. I spent 10 days in Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre, Italy as well. A semester abroad is the best time to scratch that travel itch, and if you do it the right way, you should be able to go to all of your dream destinations.

Here are some of my own personal tips for traveling while abroad:

  • Just do it. Don’t skip traveling to a dream destination if your friends aren’t going. GO! I would not recommend traveling alone, but I guarantee you will be able to find a classmate, roommate or new friend to go with you.
  • Plan ahead. As soon as you get to your host country start planning any and all trips that you want to go on. The earlier you book your flights, train, etc. the cheaper they will be! If you do some research beforehand on some of the things you’d like to see abroad, this makes planning your trips even easier.
  • Compare prices. Some of the best deals I got were actually by plane. By flying Ryanair and EasyJet, we saved a ton of money. They weren’t the most luxurious airlines, but they got us to our destinations safely.
  • Don’t over pack. Our first trip I brought an actual suitcase for a 4 day trip. By the end of the semester I was just bringing a backpack. It is so much more convenient and cheaper to just carry around a backpack instead of worrying about your luggage in a hostel or renting a locker for it at an airport. There were many times that we had to check out of our hostel early in the morning, but our flight back to Spain wasn’t until later that day.  Carrying around a backpack versus a large roller suitcase is much safer and convenient.
  • Stay in hostels. They are cheap, you meet new people and a lot of them will offer a free breakfast. Staying in hostels was one of the best parts of traveling abroad. My friends and I met the most interesting people and always had so much fun.
  • Travel and explore your host country. Sure, traveling is awesome, and there is no opportunity like the present to exposure yourself to new places, but don’t take for granted your host location. This way you can really immerse yourself in the culture and a true living abroad experience.

FRANCE

EXPLORE FRANCE – THE BASICS

SLU offers study abroad programs in two French cities, Poitiers and Lyon.

Poitiers

Experience life in an ancient city where twenty centuries of Western civilization are still evident in buildings graced by Roman, Medieval and Renaissance architecture. Today, Poitiers is a center for education, agriculture, industry and communications. A university town, it boasts a population of 120,000 and offers students a chance to live in a manageably sized city while still being close to larger metropolitan centers in France.

Lyon

Sitting in the foothills of the Alps, where the Rhone and Saone Rivers meet, stands Lyon. The capital of Gaul in Roman times, Lyon became the headquarters of the French resistance during World War II. Today, this vibrant and cosmopolitan city of more than a million people continues to grow in the world scene, recently hosting the summit of the seven most industrialized countries in the world.

EXPLORE PLACE BELLECOUR

Place Bellecour in Lyon is the largest clear square in Europe. It links the major shopping streets in Lyon, contains the tourist office and is home to many statues, as well as the 60-meter ferris wheel shown in this photo.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Poitiers

This program is offered through the the University of Poitiers, established in 1431. It is the second oldest university in France and counts François Rabelais, René Descartes, and Francis Bacon amongst its former students. Students can choose to spend a semester or year in Poitiers, and may live in residence halls, with host families or apartments (single or shared).

Lyon

This academic year-long, full-immersion program allows students to experience France and its culture firsthand. Students take classes in the French university system with French natives and other international students. They have the option of living in the dormitories, staying with a host family, or sharing an apartment with a French roommate.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about our study abroad program in Poitiers, France, visit our website.

To learn more about our study abroad program in Lyon, France, visit our website.

MARKETING YOUR STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCE

Your time abroad has come to an end. Although you are no longer able to spend your weekends traveling to other countries, doing your homework on a sandy Australian beach, napping under the Spanish sun in Retiro Park or embracing the energetic city of Beijing, your time abroad is still a valuable asset to your future.

If you take a moment to think about all the ways you’ve grown during your semester abroad, consider how these experiences have helped cultivate skill sets that will undoubtedly contribute to a successful future. I’m not talking about skills like how many churros you can eat in one sitting or being able to ask where the nearest bathroom is in Thai – I’m referring to skills such critical thinking and problem solving, plus your newfound independence and greater self-confidence.

Let’s face it: studying abroad is a ton of fun, but no new experience is hiccup-free. Booking flights, hostels, trains and tickets in countries whose language you don’t speak, maneuvering through foreign public transportation, figuring out exchange rates and communicating in a foreign language are just some of the many experiences of studying abroad have better prepared you for a successful future. Students who go abroad are forced to be responsible, organized and independent.

You are bound to have an interview at some time in your life where the potential employer will ask you some behavioral questions. These are questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you had to be a leader,” or “Tell me about a time when you conquered a difficult challenge.” The times when you missed a bus or a flight, or lost your passport or got lost in general, and how you dealt with it, will show demonstrate leadership skills and ability to think on your feet.

One story that I have memorized for just such an interview question occurred when I was abroad traveling through Italy, where my friends and I got on the wrong boat and ended up five towns away from the place that we were staying. We had to be flexible, find a solution and carry on. Although none of us spoke Italian, we were able to find someone to point us in the direction of the train station and were able to take a train back to our hostel. Not only did we solve the problem, but we also got to see a part of the country that we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Sharing this story with a potential employer is a great way for me to tell him or her about my positive attitude despite changing circumstances, and my ability to navigate difficult situations.

To learn more about how to market your study abroad experience, attend our information session in Des Peres Hall, Room 108, on Thursday, Nov. 8. RSVP to goabroad@slu.edu.

QUITO, ECUADOR

QUITO – THE BASICS

Explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador, nestled in a long, narrow valley between the lush base of Pichincha, an active volcano, and the steep canyon of the river Machangara. Quito is generally thought of as South America’s most beautiful capital city, with the incredible natural setting, classical architecture and modern structures.  Discover the historic sites of Quito’s old city and dozens of museums, visit hundreds of shops, cafes and restaurants, and take advantage of the plethora of excursions, hikes and climbs in the surrounding area. Although Quito lies just south of the equator, Ecuador’s capital enjoys mild days and cool nights almost year-round. The climate is divided into two seasons, wet and dry.

CLIMB EL PANECILLO

El Panecillo is a 200-meter hill in the midwest part of Quito. A statue of the virgin Mary is located at the very top. The statue is 45 meters tall and referred to as the Virgin of El Panecillo.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

This program is offered by Pontificia Universidad de Ecuador, a Jesuit University in Quito, Ecuador. Students live with host families, which helps them to improve their Spanish and get immersed in the Ecuadorian culture.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about our study abroad program in Quito, Ecuador, visit our website.


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