“What is the strangest food you’ve eaten while abroad?”

Allie Diehl (Spain): After being in Spain for about a week, I realized that I had yet to try any authentic Spanish dishes. That night, my friends and I went out for tapas, which is just what Spainards call small shareable dishes.

We found a cute little restaurant with the strangest assortment of ingredients in each unique dish. For me, the oddest tapa was the “pastel con zanahoria, calabacín, y ali oli de ajo confitado.” It tasted like a chilled vegetarian lasagna with a pudding-like texture, but we all enjoyed it immensely.

Maria Lorditch (France): I have not eaten anything I would call “strange” here because everything is a million times better than the food in America. Everything is so incredibly fresh: the bread, the meats, the vegetables and even the beer.

Continue reading ““What is the strangest food you’ve eaten while abroad?””


“What is transportation like in your country?”



Photo from ecenglish.com

Francesca Basil, Australia: Melbourne has a really efficient public transport system throughout the city. There are the public trams that run on the streets and pick up passengers at various locations, and buses are always available every couple of minutes. There are even high-speed trains that run to other surrounding cities. But the easiest and cheapest option is good old-fashioned walking. (Personally, I would rather walk to class in order to get to know the city and meet interesting people along the way.)

Continue reading ““What is transportation like in your country?””

Francesca Basil—Melbourne, Australia


great-ocean-road-2017My name is Francesca Basil and I ‘m participating in WVU’s study abroad exchange program throughout the spring 2017 semester. I am 21 years old from Weirton, WV and currently in my third year of university.

I study Environmental Geoscience through the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. My destination for the semester is Melbourne, Australia, and I am spending five months in the land down under. In Australia, I will be taking classes at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in the heart of the city.

What made you want to study abroad?

Throughout my studies in college, I realized there is still quite a lot I don’t know about the world. Coming from a small town, one can only learn so much until actually leaving that safe haven and making the move to discover new places and opportunities.
Continue reading “Francesca Basil—Melbourne, Australia”

“What are grocery stores like in your country?”

Three students share their experiences with European grocery stores.

Maria Lorditch, France: Everything sold in grocery stores is crazy fresh! For example, I bought packaged mushrooms and they only lasted about two days before they went bad. Also, everyone buys at least three bottles of wine every time they go shopping.

The French diet is basically bread, cheese and wine, so these take up most of the aisles in the grocery store. Everything here is also done at a much smaller scale, so a large at a restaurant is the size of an American small. (That must be how they stay so dang skinny in Europe!)

Morgan Hylton, U.K.: Hands-down, the strangest product I’ve seen has been “man-size” tissues. These are tissues made by Kleenex that are supposed to be bigger and tougher than normal tissues, but its name could be taken as pretty offensive.

The main grocery store of the U.K., Asda, is a sister store of Walmart, so it is relatively the same. The contents of the store are a bit different, however; there aren’t a lot of typical American brands and nothing tastes quite the same even if it is an American brand, but I’ve found that nothing is inedible.

Allie Diehl, Spain: The grocery stores are very similar to ones in the U.S., except for the unfortunate lack of peanut butter and oatmeal (which happens to be my favorite breakfast). Although there are large supermarkets, many Spaniards shop at stores that focus on a specific food group, such as the bakery, butcher, or produce shop. Those stores are usually locally owned and more convenient to find in neighborhoods.

Natalie Reinford—Barcelona, Spain

natalie-reinfordMy name is Natalie Reinford and I am a 22-year-old senior at WVU. I was born outside of Pittsburgh, but I have lived in West Virginia for about 8 years. I am currently studying abroad at Pompeu Fabra, which is located in Barcelona, Spain.

I will be here for just barely over 6 months, which is two trimesters in the European system. While here, I am studying the Spanish language, so all of my classes are based around translation and linguistics (although I have some about culture and history as well).

What made you want to study abroad?

I have wanted to travel for as long as I can remember, so when I learned about studying abroad, I was determined to make it happen. When I was in high school, I visited Madrid, which is another major city in Spain. I fell in love with the culture and the people, and I knew that I wanted to come back to Spain to study abroad after that. I had never been to Barcelona, but I had heard great things about it, so when it came up as an option, I was all for it. Continue reading “Natalie Reinford—Barcelona, Spain”

Allie Diehl—Murcia, Spain

allieMy name is Allie Diehl and I’m a 21-year-old industrial engineering and Spanish major. I’m a senior from Chardon, Ohio, and will be studying in Murcia, Spain, throughout this semester at Universidad de Murcia until June.

What made you want to study abroad?

I have always loved travelling, making new friends, and seeing different parts of our beautiful world. For me, exploring and learning about new cultures is simply a way of life. Growing up in a military family, I have lived all over the United States.

While I love our country, we as Americans tend to act as if we are the only inhabitants of this planet. There is so much to learn from other places, and studying abroad was the perfect way for me to embrace my independence and go discover the world on my own.
Continue reading “Allie Diehl—Murcia, Spain”

Maria Lorditch—Strasbourg, France

maria-lorditchMy name is Maria Lorditch. I have lived in Bowie, Maryland, all my life, which is a suburb of Washington D.C. and Baltimore. I am used to chaos because I am one of seven kids. We are die-hard Steelers fans, Italian loud-mouths, devout Catholics, Conservative Republicans and closer than any family you can imagine.

I am in my junior year of college at West Virginia University. I am an advertising major with a minor in political science and international studies. My study abroad program goes along with my international studies minor and I will be studying and touring the European Union while abroad. I plan to gain knowledge on foreign affairs while in Europe in order to be successful in my future career aspirations. I will be completing my studies at EM Strasbourg Business School, which is a university along the border of France and Germany.

I hope this this blog will inspire others to take the leap of faith that studying abroad requires. I know that this experience will have a lot of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual results and I am so excited to share everything with all of you.
Continue reading “Maria Lorditch—Strasbourg, France”