Student Profiles

VU students in Sintra Portugal
VU students in Sintra, Portugal

 Name: Liz Ouellet

City, Country: Paris, France

Language Intensive: Yes, the classes were all in French. While we were on school grounds we were only allowed to speak French

Quality of Instruction: Good

Favorite Class: History of Paris was taught by a man who was the exact man you would imagine a crochety old french grandfather to be. It was great to learn about the history of Paris and be able to walk around and see exactly where the events took place.

Favorite Aspect About Your Program: food, fashion, and men with accents

Least Favorite Aspect About Your Program: I chose to live with a family, which I loved, but it also meant living outside of the city. I read during my hour commute to class everyday.

Other Travel While Abroad: Galway - pubs, potatoes. Aran Islands - a blast! Stockholm - Christmas Markets and ice skating, great with friends! London - living the fab life, most expensive weekend of my worth it!

John Harris

City, Country: Melbourne, Australia

Language Intensive: No

Quality of Instruction: Good

Favorite Class: Sport and Australian Culture. I enjoyed this class the most because the lectures were combined with 5 field trips, which were going to various sporting events, such as Australian Football Rules and Rugby. These field trips allowed us to see what was discussed in lectures, about how these events are intertwined into Australian culture.

Favorite Aspect About Your Program: My favorite aspect about studying abroad was how accepting the Australians were of us. Going along with that point, I also liked how my fellow American students were genuinely motivated to learn and become immersed in their culture.

Least Favorite Aspect About Your Program: Probably my room accommodations. My room was a little small, but it forced me to want to go out and explore.

Other Travel While Abroad: New Zealand, Queensland, Western Australia, I flew in with friends and rented cars/vans at each respective spot and traveled as much as possible.


Name: Jaime O'Brien

City,Country: London, England

Language Intensive: No

Quality of Instruction: Awesome, incredible teachers, incredible classes, just plain incredible

Favorite Class: Salvation and the City: good professor, interesting guest speakers, took trips to different sites around London and received private tours (e.g. St. Paul's Cathedral, The National Portrait Gallery, Westminster Abbey)

Favorite Aspect about Where You Studied: The city of London was amazing, in terms of the culture, its proximity to the rest of Europe, etc.

Least Favorite Aspect about Where You Studied: Nothing; I loved all of it

Other Travel While Abroad: Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Nice, Madrid, Lisbon, Barcelona, Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence, Frankfurt, Wales, Prague, Vienna


Name: Jeffrey Savio

City,Country: Rome, Italy

Language Intensive: No

Quality of Instruction: Ok, decent

Favorite Class: I took a class at AUR called Organizational Behavior in a Global Context. The AUR professor had great experience on Wall Street and in management roles and taught the course in an innovative way. Rather than focus on academic (and rarely applicable) management theories, he taught through real-world examples and in-class exercises.

Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: The history of Rome is just breathtaking. The architecture (what survives and the ruins) are incorporated into the city, meaning that in everything you do in Rome, you see firsthand fascinating artifacts of ancient history.

Least Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: I am Italian and have family in Italy, but living in Italy I realized that Italians in Italy can be very hard to work with. They are nice, welcoming, and friendly, but their work ethic is FAR different than what Americans are used to. The country is very unionized, and the transportation workers routinely go on strike (often en-route, meaning you can be on a bus when suddenly the driver tells you to get off because he is on strike). Similarly, businesses open and close seemingly whenever they feel like it. The pace of life is very relaxed, which can be tough for fast-paced westerners to adjust to.

Other Travel While Abroad: I traveled a lot around Italy. I personally did not leave Italy while I was abroad because I felt that there was so much to do and see in Italy itself. I visited Tuscany (for wine tastings and tours), Florence, Pisa, Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. Nevertheless, there is a lot left of Italy I wish I could have seen but did not get the chance. Both AUR and Villanova did a great job of providing opportunities for those in my program to travel throughout Italy.


Name: Kaitlyn Stratton

City,Country: Cape Town, South Africa

Language Intensive: No

Quality of Instruction: Good

Favorite Class: Medicine in the Making in Contemporary South Africa. This was my favorite class because the professor was very informative and was available after class. Also, it was a really small group with mostly history majors so the class was more advanced. In addition, it was a way to learn about diseases like I never had before and specifically diseases that struck South Africa.

Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: The variety of activities close by. We were able to hike whenever we wanted to, take a 5 minute drive to the beach, take a 30 minute train ride to the Wine Country, and a 40 minute drive to a Cheetah conservatory. Everything was right at our fingertips. Also, there were only 15 people in my study abroad group, through Arcadia, which made it like a family.

Least Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: How fast the time went by!

Other Travel While Abroad: Swaziland, Durban, Johannesburg, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, the Garden Route. The Garden Route was done over an extended weekend where my study abroad group rented two cars and drove up the coast of South Africa. We stopped along the way to go bungee jumping, go inside cango caves, and hike the tstisikama. It was the prettiest drive I have ever been on and it was an amazing way to see more of South Africa and get closer to the student group. Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana allowed me to experience real Africa. There were animals like monkeys, lions, elephants, and giraffes walking around and beautiful scenery such as Victoria Falls one of the seven wonders of the world. I can't wait to go back.


Name: Erica Slater

City,Country: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Language Intensive: No, my program was not language intense in that form. But, there were pretty intense language courses that we had. For example since I did not know Portuguese going in, I basically had one-on-one tutoring with my teacher three times a week for 2 hours. My teacher also did not speak any English, which helped me improve a lot. Also, just by the nature of Brazil since most people do not speak English, you will be speaking the language ALL THE TIME. Because the program gives you a lot of freedom you will have to figure out a lot of day to day things on your own and unless you are in a university or a hotel, it's pretty difficult to find people that speak English who can help you translate. So even though your classes are in English you will for sure, by default, be speaking Portuguese by the time you leave.

Quality of Instruction: Good

Favorite Class: My favorite class was Strategy in an International Perspective. It was basically the best class I have ever had in my life because the content was so relevant and very interesting. It was more or less a class about doing business in a global perspective and all the issues, current and pasT, that one must be aware of. My teacher (Antonio Gelis) was great. He would bring in personal examples as well as current issues that were going on in the world for class discussion.

Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: The food in Brazil was amazing and there are sooo many places where you can have a good FULL meal for about $2 -3 US. I also loved all the street venders! You can find them everywhere.It's a great way to taste typical Brazilian snacks like popcorn (which has the sweet red stuff on it), tapioca (which sounds weird but its SOOO good the way they do it that me and my friends would crave it), corn, etc...

Least Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: I did not like the fact that Sao Paulo was pretty western and an enormous city. It felt like I was studying in New York with a twist. My issue with this is that I did not want that big city atmosphere, but, if it's what you are looking for then Sao Paulo is an amazing place. But even though I did not want that atmosphere, I still did enjoy the perks of living in a city that has everything you can ask for as far as food, niches, clubs etc..

Other Travel While Abroad: I took quite a few trips while I was abroad: 1. Northeast of Brasil (Natal, Praia da Pipa, Salvador) 2. Rio de Janiero (3 times) 3. Paraty 4. Buenos Aires, Argentina 5. Cidade del Este, Paraguay 6. Foz do Iguazu All the trips were AMAZING!!! Most of the trips I actually did on my own with friends I had made while I was studying. The program takes you on 2 trips that are included in your program fees (Rio and Paraty). Even though I did get to do a lot of traveling, there are still SO many places that I still wish I had the chance to go to. Brazil is a HUGE country and changes dramatically from region to region and even within regions. The border countries are also amazing and are a MUST SEE if you have the chance (Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru etc.).


Name: Caitlin O'Donnell

City, Country: Amman,Jordan

Language Intensive: No

Qualityof Instruction: Awesome, incredible teachers, incredible classes, just plain incredible

Favorite  Class: My two area studies classes, Water Resources & Politics in the Middle East, and Philosophy of Islamic Thought were great because we had some great field trips and we got to learn a lot about the culture in addition to the course material.

Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: My host family was amazing. It was definitely the hardest part of my experience but gave me incredible insight into the culture and Arab frame of thought.

Least Favorite Aspect About Where You Studied: I didn't have internet a lot of the time which was frustrating. It was hard to stay in touch and upload pictures to share with my family.

OtherTravel While Abroad: I visited Egypt for 5 days early in the semester; I stayed in a wonderful hostel in Cairo and took day trips to Alexandria and Luxor to see the pyramids and tour the cities' museums. I went with 6 of my friends from the program. Later in the semester I went to Israel and visited Jerusalem, Haifa, and Bethlehem in Palestine. We did a LOT of walking but saw all the sites; the history in Jerusalem was incredible. Around Thanksgiving I visited Syria with two of my friends and stayed in a hostel in Damascus for a few days. The trip coincided with the Islamic holiday Eid al Fitr, so there was a lot to see culturally. These excursions were a great way to break up the semester.


Name: Maria Zumarraga

City,Country: Geneva,Switzerland
Because of the program that I found. It was a Boston University program on international relations and it fit my interests perfectly. Also,because I wanted to be in a french speaking city.

Language Intensive: I was in a Study and Internship program in English.

Qualityof Instruction: Good

FavoriteClass: Art History. Because I learned about art history while going to churches, museums, castles, etc. It was awesome,

FavoriteAspect About Where You Studied: It was inn the center of europe, so I was able to travel a lot during the weekends. Also,Switzerland is a very developed country. Very beautiful and organized.

LeastFavorite Aspect About Where You Studied: The nightlife wasn't very good in Geneva. It could be boring sometimes.

OtherTravel While Abroad: I took trips all around Switzerland. I also visited Amsterdam, Budapest, Prague, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Barcelona, Greece, Florence and Rome.


Name: Melissa Kramer

City,Country: Hong Kong, China

Language Intensive: No

Qualityof Instruction: Awesome, incredible teachers, incredible classes, just plain incredible

FavoriteClass: My favorite class was Introductory Mandarin. It was an entirely new language for me and the teachers made it a lot of fun. In addition, it was great to be in a city where we could practice the language.

FavoriteAspect About Where You Studied: I loved that Hong Kong was so very different from the United States. Everything I did and ate for the whole five months was new and exciting and I absolutely loved that.

LeastFavorite Aspect About Where You Studied: My program through Syracuse was very independent from other foreign exchange programs and the local students. I would have preferred more integration with other students

OtherTravel While Abroad: I took trips to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and mainland China. They were all absolutely awesome experiences and totally different from one another.


Name: Sebastian Wojnar

City,Country: Tokyo, Japan

Language Intensive: No

Qualityof Instruction: Ok, decent

FavoriteClass: Indian Thought and Culture, the teacher told stories and it was a very chill class.

FavoriteAspect About Where You Studied: Learning something new and experiencing interesting things everyday.

LeastFavorite Aspect About Where You Studied: The monotony of getting used to the culture and people to the point where it feels you are living there, and are not an excitable tourist anymore. Yet you don't quite fit in anyway.

Other Travel While Abroad: Hiroshima, Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Nikko

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