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Europe

Ian Woller Learns How to Make the Most of His Time Abroad

GW Pi Kappa Phi and Troy Reunion in Lisbon, Portugal

GW Pi Kappa Phi and Troy Reunion in Lisbon, Portugal

Forgive me if I sound a little upset for the duration of this blog; just as I thought we had begun the transition from brutal Pamplona winter to summer (they kind of skip spring here it seems), we’ve had a serious setback over the last couple of days.

I think it’s safe to say I know what people living in Seattle go through every year. Since I got here in early January, we have probably had seven full days without rain at any point. Not the most exciting weather ever, but at the same time it hasn’t been able to bring me down yet. Last week’s sunny weather in the seventies gave me a glimpse of what there is to come, but for now I’m stuck with rainy twenty five minute walks to class and finding fun indoors. I’ll never dread a walk from 23rd street to the Elliot school ever again.

Look out for an album coming out soon...

Look out for an album coming out soon…

Last post I promised a little bit more about the actual school so here it is: Over the last few weeks the work has picked up a little bit, which to be honest is nice. From what I understand it’s pretty standard around Europe, but at least at the University of Navarra grades come mostly from attendance, class participation, and a final. I only had midterms in two out of five classes. At first it was nice to get acclimated to life here, but after a while I felt like I was being fairly unproductive, even though I didn’t have any work to do. I’m still not swamped, but I feel like I have enough to do where I can keep up with the material and feel semi-productive now.

The Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain

The Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain

The international students’ program is well put together. Most of my classes are taken with international students since I take them in English, but there are a few Spanish students here and there. I find myself interacting with local students more frequently on campus, when I recognize someone in the grocery store or see them out at a restaurant. I’ve found the key is to try and speak Spanish no matter how uncomfortable it may be at first. I may not have the best language skills and they probably can’t tell what I’m saying half the time, but when you put in the effort students are much more willing to continue a conversation. This is the same with most of the people in the area: storeowners, neighbors, etc. Through the actual program, we’ve had the opportunity to go on ski trips to the Pyrenees, travel around the coastal city of San Sebastian, and barbecue along the trail of “El Camino del Santiago” (a religious pilgrimage walking trail that stretches across Northern Spain).

Signing the GWU shirt at the Lion's Fountain in Florence

Signing the GWU shirt at the Lion’s Fountain in Florence

Aside from program events, with no Friday classes I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout much of Europe on the weekends. Since my last blog, I’ve traveled to Lisbon, Madrid, London, Valencia, and most recently Florence (I did get to watch the GW basketball tourney game while in Florence. Even thought we lost at least I got to see my school play in March Madness once!) In the next few weeks, I’ll be off to Morocco, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and finish up my spring break in Munich.

Ian Woller is a GWSB Junior studying Finance.  He is studying abroad at University of Nevarra in Pamplona, Spain, taking a mix of business courses and electives.  To learn more about the exchange program with GW, visit the Office for Study Abroad’s here.  Read his first blog post with GWSB here

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