Wednesday, January 14, 2009

oh these first days of class..

Spring semester officially began yesterday, and with it comes all the goodness of the first days of class, agonizing over class spots, and the horrible realization that you have homework again.

I talked about signing up for class and the first day of class quite a bit at the beginning of the fall semester, so let's talk about something different today, the return, and leaving, of many friends.

The start of a new semester signals people returning from study abroad, or going to study abroad. I had a teary send off meal for one of my sorority sisters as she takes a break from the comm school and takes some classes in Denmark. Denmark! Lucky her, I'm quite jealous. Not so jealous of the high living expenses, but very envious that she gets to travel to Europe and experience another culture. Another one of my sorority sisters left for Spain last weekend. I believe she's a Spanish major, and where better to get good Spanish practice than in the country itself?

My comm school block has also been decimated and 10 (that's 1/3 of my class!) people have left to go study abroad. I think most people went to the Denmark program as that's the school that the comm school mostly partners with in the spring. I do know of a few programs in Asia, such as Hong Kong or Beijing. Especially with China's economy on the rise (well, it may be on the frizz a bit not), it would be such an exciting semester to experience the happenings of an economy so often in the news.

The sister that went to Spain was my next door neighbor in the sorority house, and her spot has been filled with another sister that came back from Denmark (it's a popular program). We had a fun afternoon discussing all the food she tasted there and how ridiculous it was for the minimum price of a shirt to be $80. Whew! O_O

Study abroad in general at UVa is pretty popular. If I remember correctly from last summer as a summer guide.. 1/3 of UVa students study abroad at some time or another in their college career. Our most awesome President Casteen wants to raise that to 80% by the year 2020 though. He's put in place a lot of programs and initiatives to help with this goal. The nice thing for out of staters is that you don't pay UVa tuition for that semester, you pay whatever tuition the college you'll be travelling to has. So, it could be much cheaper to study abroad for a semester than to stay on Grounds.

But if you ever do come for a campus visit, make sure to ask about Semester at Sea. One of my friends came back from that, and I'm going to have lunch with him later this week so I'll be sure to pump him for details for another post.

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