Abroad with Justus and Elissa in 10 questions, 20 answers!

Any student at Brockport has the opportunity to study abroad but many choose not to take it. However, Delta strongly encourages and promotes studying abroad as part of the curriculum. In Delta, all students complete a capstone which is 12 credits of non-traditional learning. An example of this is studying abroad or participating in a large internship. Basically, it is an experience that engages you in hands on learning instead of the typical classroom learning. These experiences are individualized based on what we (the students) want and need in order to distinguish ourselves and put us in a better position to meet our future career goals.

I was fortunate to talk with two Delta students who have recently taken advantage of studying abroad. Justus Nowak who took an opportunity to study in Australia and Elissa D’Alessandro who studied in Prague. These students had completely different experiences, but both are appreciative that they got the chance to experience something totally new and different.

What was a stereotype you heard about Australia?

Justus: You may hear a stereotype about somewhere you travel. It may be true but it also may be false, so when you travel use extra caution! I had heard Australia was laid back, and it ended up being true. It was pretty much a vibe of “I’m human, you’re human”. When I came back to the US it seemed as if everyone was go, go, go.

What was a stereotype you heard about Prague?

Elissa: I heard they drink a lot of beer and was told at an orientation there were going to be lots of times they do not smile at people they do not know, unlike the US. She said that was pretty true.IMG_3204

What was the most surprising thing you encountered?

Justus: Australia was not a huge culture shock and it is pretty westernized. It is a good trip for someone who does not want a huge adjustment. The one thing that really surprised me was the food. For example, Fructose Corn Syrup is banned, portions are smaller, and you cannot find black coffee.

What? No black coffee!

Elissa: What surprised me the most is how independent I became. I didn’t really know people that were going on the trip with me, but it was cool because there were some touristy areas and I met students from other countries like Germany, England, and the Netherlands.

What is something you had the chance to do that you may not have in the US?

Justus: I took a ferry to one of the nicest beaches around. I swam in the Great Barrier Reef shortly before the reef was pronounced dead!

Elissa: I was able to take a bus from Germany which had a cost of only $20.50. There were many countries surrounding me so I had the chance to hop around a little bit. I also went to a Beer Garden for the first time.

Tell me more about your internship, what was it like?

Justus: I am majoring in Exercise Science so I was able to intern with a gym chain called F45 Training. F45 is a public gym found mostly in the city and focused mainly on circuit training. This was a paid internship for me. I lived with my sister during the trip and she knew the owners so she asked if they would take him on.Internship

Elissa: I interned with a company called Bohemia Public Relations. I helped them create events for other companies. I focused on the graphic design end and worked with another student from Kansas University. We did things like logo designs, rebranding the company, and promotional videos. I found this internship through ESUA.com.

Have you ever thought about going back?

Justus: I would like to go back to Australia. It is a great country, and I would like to work there for a while.

Elissa: I definitely want to go back to Prague. The length of my stay was shortened because of the school I attended so I came back to the US earlier than some other students. After my internship was over I did some additional traveling to countries such as Germany, Australia, Slovakia, Italy, and back to Prague. I also plan on going back this summer to visit friends that are studying abroad.

What was it like to live there? Was the housing arrangement similar to dorms or were you hosted?

Justus: My experience was a little different because I lived with my sister, brother-in-law, and their roommates. My trip was more personalized than most other students.

Elissa: I stayed in NYU dorms. There were two different areas, and my place had a kitchen, bathroom, and a few different bedrooms. I ended up rooming with another girl from Brockport and two girls from Boston College.

Did you meet any friends from other countries?Elissa painting- cropped

Justus: Yes, the roommates of my sister were all from different countries. They were from Germany, New Zealand, South Africa (but grew up in Australia), and Canada. They all worked for the church of Hillsong. The country is very diverse and not entirely made up of Australians.

Elissa: I met a lot of other students from different countries and I ended up traveling with them after my internship ended.

Was it difficult being in a different time zone than people back home?

Justus: The time change in Australia was very interesting. While traveling there I went forward in time. I left on a Wednesday night and arrived on Friday morning, after a 14 hours flight. Then when I left it was Wednesday morning and I arrived back in the US on Wednesday afternoon. It was also strange because when I was sleeping everyone in the US was awake, and vice versa. Plus the seasons are reverse so when I was there during their winter it was our summer.

Elissa: It was hard to adjust to the time difference. Prague is 6 hours ahead and because my mom did not have an Iphone, it was difficult to stay in touch. The phone plan she got sucked because she bought a two-month plan on the last day of May for June and July, but they counted that one-day in May as a full month.

Did you think coming into college, you would study abroad?

kangarooJustus: I had no idea that I would go to Australia. It did not really come into my mind until last summer when my sister visited the States. I realized I had some money and should make the most of my time.

Elissa: I knew I wanted to study abroad but originally I wanted a full-semester trip. When I realized I would have to do a summer trip, I thought about going to Dublin but then the Prague internship option came up and it was a better trip for the price.

What advice do you have for other students thinking of studying abroad?

Justus—“Go for it. You have this time and experience right in front of you. Take opportunities as you go. Figure it out and go. You most likely will not get an experience like it again. It opens you up and is something you experience, not learn. You learn two feet in front of you. It is almost like mapping reality like Dr. Stoller says.” (Dr. Stoller teaches the Delta humanities courses)

Elissa—“Go in with an open mind. It is an adjustment but the more open you are the more you’ll take out of it. Though stay true to yourself. Have a mindset of coming back one day and not stress yourself”.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s