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Student Story: Apoorva Sarmal – 10 Best Things About Studying Abroad

In my last blog I wrote about my experiences abroad. Today, I will be talking about a top 10 list including the best things that I’ve experienced so far. Let’s go!
1. During orientation, we were taken to the grand mansion of John and Patty Noel. They are alumni of UWSP and every year they host international students for a dinner party. It is a grand celebration and a great way to meet people from your country and other countries too. And of course, you get to tour around the beautiful home that John and Patty have designed themselves.
2. Summertime fun: Wherever you are in Wisconsin, summers are always fun. I got to experience the Wisconsin River which is only a 10 minute walk from campus and Lake Joanis. Hanging out with friends and sitting by the lake was, oh, so wonderful! Walking around Schmeekle whether it is hot or cold, is always an experience too.
3. The DUC: Dreyfus University Center. The DUC is the center for all the offices and events. The DUC is right next to the Library so after a long study session, my friends and I walk over to the DUC to get a smoothie or coffee. During the winters, I love to study on the second floor of the DUC where there are many fireplaces right next to chairs. Being cozy while studying for the next class – check!
4. Travels: The best part about being a student is that you work and study 5 days of the week, and the weekend is yours! I have had the absolute pleasure of taking trips with my girlfriends to their homes or to cities around Stevens Point. In my spring semester I volunteered with our Student Involvement Office at a homeless shelter in Chicago, so I got to experience the city and volunteer at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities like these when you choose to study abroad!
5. Cookouts: I believe I have mentioned this in my previous blog, but I need to do so again; I love food and I also love cooking. We have had a lot of fun cooking with Japanese friends from down the hall and making our laundry Sunday’s fun! Watching Shinchan (which is originally a Japanese show but is aired in India).  Eating Udon helped me learn more about Japanese culture and cuisine while engaging in hours of conversations about our experiences and traditions.
6. Classrooms: A majority of professors at UWSP try and make their classes fun. They use unconventional methods, videos, PowerPoint’s and techniques to keep everybody interested. Classes are much more interactive, and application based. For example, in my French class we would often be invited to the presentations of students who were in the advanced French classes. Students would often present about cultures in French speaking countries and their traditions. This helped me gain a better perspective about the lesser known French speaking countries.
7. Shopping Sprees: Since it is impossible to pack your life in two suitcases and a carry on, I have had a lot of shopping trips this past year. Having your own room makes you want to decorate it the way you like. Shopping, at least in the girls’ paradise is considered an intimate bonding time. So I have made friends just because we have similar tastes’.  Being independent has its flaws too. You’re responsible for everything you need! Buying stationary supplies with friends, going out for our weekly grocery shopping or just going out with someone else who wants to buy something is fun and helps take some study stress off :)
8. ZUMBA: Freshman fifteen is an inevitable phenomenon. I didn’t even realize it, but being abroad definitely gave me a few extra pounds. We have a great Fitness Center in the university which is free to full time students. Every Sunday, my friends and I walk to the center and have a crazy dance hour! At times, the instructor will play some Punjabi songs too because she knows I am Indian and I dance my heart out while singing the song out loud :)
9. Thanksgiving craze: Another positive of being abroad is that you get to learn about different cultures. Thanksgiving is a festival that I didn’t know of very well. So during my first Thanksgiving, not only did I get to go to awesome sales (score!!!) but I also got to learn about the tradition and more about the national holiday.
10. Making your dreams come true: As I wrote earlier, I am a big fan of the TV show HIMYM and I saw a movie called ‘Liberal Arts’ directed by Josh Radnor (the lead in the sitcom) in my 12th grade. That movie pushed me to keep going through the process of applying even when I felt like pausing or taking a step back. The movie was shot in Kenyon College which is situated in the small town of Gambier, Ohio. I took a trip to Cleveland during my spring break and my uncle was able to drive me to Gambier to show me the campus. It was crazy to think that I was looking at this exact place on a computer screen a year ago! I am so happy I got to tour around Kenyon, talk to people and have that delicious K-Frap! I took a couple of pictures on my trip; I came back and decided to tweet the picture to Josh Radnor and guess what happened next!!!!
Contact me or the IKC to make your dreams come true :)

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