USF World News

Exploring the World through the Lens of USF Bulls

TAMPA, FL (October 2, 2023) -- Students have a remarkable opportunity to broaden their horizons, both academically and personally by studying abroad with USF. Studying abroad offers an immersive learning experience that goes outside the scope of textbooks and traditional classroom settings, allowing USF students to engage with diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives. Students are gaining a deeper understanding of global issues and are developing invaluable life skills such as adaptability, independence, and cross-cultural communication by living in a foreign country. Moreover, studying abroad opens doors to unique academic programs, research opportunities and career benefits that are significant to fostering independence, confidence, and resourceful leaders who understand the value of working and communicating with our global and multicultural workforce. It gives students a chance to step out of their comfort zones, forge lifelong international connections, and return home with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that shape their futures and contribute to their personal growth.

Below, students share their experiences studying abroad in 2023!

Alexandra Polk – Townsville, Australia

Large white townsville sign with person sitting astride the "w" with the city buildings in the background

Program: TEAN Australia – James Cook University  

“Completing a study abroad in Australia always seemed like a dream to me, but I made it a reality Spring 2023. While being on the other side of the planet, one of the most incredible opportunities is being able to meet some of my best friends, and closest travel partners from all over the world. Being able to spend time with people outside my home country has opened my eyes to the vast world around us. You are completely immersed in the life, culture, and abroad experience around you. Studying abroad in Australia taught me so much about myself I wouldn’t have known without this experience. Traveling and being able to study abroad is an amazing experience that is completely surreal, and it's something I believe every single person should experience. Put simply, making this study abroad experience a reality was honestly the best thing I have ever done.”

Joelle Martins – San Pedro, Costa Rica 

USF study abroad group shot posing in Costa Rica in the jungle

Program: Costa Rica Studying and Teaching Abroad,

"Studying abroad in Costa Rica for 2 weeks with the USF College of Education was by far one of the best experiences in my life. What started out as 13 strangers visiting an unfamiliar place together, ended in the best friendships and a place that felt like home. This is one of the best things I've ever done for myself and has helped me grow my mindset in so many ways. Teaching the ESE students in local schools there is something I'll never forget, along with the countless fun and memories our entire group made together. I am beyond grateful to have had this opportunity and will treasure this experience forever. Pura Vida!"

Dexter Limcangco – Seoul, South Korea

korean pagoda featured with cityscape of Seoul in the background

Program: TEAN – Korea University,

“Studying for a semester at Korea University was a life-changing experience. Coming from Florida, where I studied mechanical engineering, the vast urban landscape of Korea felt like another world. From the moment I landed at Incheon Airport, the dense cityscape, full of towering skyscrapers, was a dramatic departure from what I was accustomed to.

What made my time at Korea University especially memorable was the people. While I initially worried about the language barrier, most students at Korea University spoke English, which eased my transition. I was able to join the Wind Ensemble club and participated in the University Buddy Program. This program, designed for international students, paired us in groups with a mix of Korean and international students. Together, we engaged in a range of activities, from lunches to city excursions.

The engineering courses I took in Korea were not much different in content from those I was familiar with in the U.S., even using textbooks you would find in classrooms here. The teaching style was somewhat more formal, but the core approach was similar. I enrolled in just two engineering classes, enabling me to immerse myself in Korea's rich culture while maintaining academic integrity. I'd advise against taking more than two such classes due to their demanding nature. Even with only two engineering classes, I was still able to spend weekends exploring Seoul and other parts of Korea. The country's prominent tech sector enriched my academic experience, like when my Materials Engineering class studied the folding glass used in Samsung smartphones.

image of South Korean indoor shopping district

Living in Korea introduced me to a culture that prioritizes the collective good over individual interests. This perspective broadened my own. One of my fondest memories was witnessing Korea's cherry blossom season, during which the city transforms into a beautiful pink landscape.

Getting around Seoul was very easy, the public transportation is very abundant and surprisingly cheap. I remember I traveled almost 100 miles one weekend by train, and I spent no less than $5 on public transit. The metro stations are also insanely clean and safe, there really wasn’t any fear of traveling at night since crime levels are so low.

I personally love hiking which was great because Seoul is situated in the mountains. All the hiking trails nearby are also accessible by public transit, they even have metro stations specifically dedicated to hiking. On the downside the city is very hilly, especially the Korea University dorms, so you will get very used to traversing hills.”

Nadia Mossad – Florence, Italy

Program: USF in Florence Science, “Studying abroad was an amazing experience for me. I was able to study while seeing some of the most beautiful and famous monuments in history, while also becoming immersed in the Italian culture. Every morning I would wake up and get a macchiato and a croissant from the school bakery before heading to class. Since this was my first time living and traveling by myself, I learned how to be more independent and self-reliant while also breaking out of my comfort zone to meet new people and make new experiences.

I also enjoyed being able to have one-on-one contact with my professors while I was there since I was taking such difficult classes (Organic Chemistry 1 and Biomedical Ethics). Having a smaller classroom and being able to ask my professors questions without feeling rushed really helped me excel in these courses and earn an excellent grade. It was a nice difference compared to a large lecture hall of 200+ students and my professor has to run to the next lecture. This is really what made me want to study abroad, since I had to take these courses for my degree.”

Gabrielle Sell – London, England

USF student, Gabrielle Sell, standing in profile in front of the Big Ben clock in London, England

Program: USF in London,

“Studying abroad was probably the best way to finish my time at USF. I was introduced to studying abroad through one of my professors who goes on the trip every year to London. He had someone come in and speak about the program, and I was instantly intrigued but daunted by the price tag it came with. I expressed my worries to my professor and asked how I could fund such a trip. He had told me about all the scholarship opportunities available to me and I explored my options. After writing some short essays about my life, career goals, and expressing my interest in traveling abroad, I easily earned $4,000 in scholarships through USF's study abroad department and more aid through the government's grants and soon enough, I was on my way to London!

While I was quite nervous for going abroad for the first time, I had so many constant supports through family, friends, and USF. USF made sure all my needs were met and taken care of before and after take-off. USF regularly checked-in, made sure all documents were secure, made sure I had everything I needed, and answered any wondering doubts or questions I had. From departures to arrivals, USF was always there. I was on the flight that most of the professors and other students took, which made me feel more comfortable as I knew that I wasn't completely alone traveling to and from. Once arrived in London, they taught us how to navigate London's enormous transportation system through an app on our phones and once we were there, we had full range of independence to go freely wherever outside of class. 

In class was so much more fun though. Instead of essays and daily assignments, we mainly explored London on excursions that correlated with the classes we took. During these excursions, I visited the British Museum, Sky Garden, The Clink Prison, and Bethlehem Hospital just to name a few. Our classroom was the world around us. We ended the trip on a nice afternoon tea on the water passing by Big Ben and Tower Bridge. I was so happy I made the decision to go. This is a trip of a lifetime, especially during your undergrad. I have acquired practical knowledge during this trip and will carry these experiences with me as well. I may return back to Europe again in the near future to explore some more! Thank you USF Study Abroad for everything.” 

Francisco Vazquez – Barcelona, Spain

Program: SAE Barcelona, "I had the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain, where I experienced a new culture that allowed for exploration and self-discovery. One of my favorite memories was attending the world-famous El Classico match at Camp Nou. Being present at the stadium for a last-minute game-winner was a sensation of joy I had never experienced. I had the chance to live with a host family who took me in like one of their own. I was blessed with eating delicious traditional food every night and learned a lot about the city & its history. For spring break, I met my family in London and then we also visited Paris. Traveling to different countries was something so easy I never would have known without the experience of living in Europe. My favorite class was photography because we were given the chance to walk around the city capturing both its people and architecture. Studying abroad is an experience I encourage everyone to try."