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Verena Maher

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: PR and Advertising Major, Entreneurship and Art History Minor
Program: Donghua University Shanghai AND IES Liberal Arts and Business Program
Location: Shangahi, China and Barcelona, Spain
Term: Summer 2019, Spring 2020


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I have always wanted to travel and explore the world as well as experience cultures different than my own. I chose to spend a summer in Shanghai because I have always been extremely interested in Asian culture. I selected the program at Donghua University because we were able to stay at an actual university with roomates from China and had the additional opportunity to have an internship in one of the business capitals of the world. For spring 2020 I chose to study in Barcelona, Spain. I knew I wanted to study in Europe and specifically chose the IES Barcelona Liberal Arts and Business program because I knew there would be many awesome opportunities to complete my Art History Minor.


What did you learn about yourself?
Shanghai was my first experiance abroad and the longest I have ever been from home. I gained so much confidence in myself because I took the experience head on and really believe I made the most of it. There was one time when I was exploring the city alone and my phone died while I was at lunch. I still had such a fun day and successfully got myself home dispite having no idea how to speak Chinese or where I was. I learned how much fun I could have in my own company and how, while I love being with people, I truly have reached a point of independance.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Some of my favorite memories from Shanghai are when my Chinese roommate, Cathy, would take me to our school's dining hall and she would have me try many interesting dishes together. I returned the food education as I brought her to eat her first pasta and tacos at various restaurants around the city. In Barcelona, one of my favorite memories was one sunday when my roommates and I came back from one of our trips. We got home and spontaniously decided to visit one of Gaudi's amazing houses, Casa Batillo. It felt so cool that we could randomly decide to explore the city and had so much fun looking around at all the beautiful colors and intracate details of the house.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My advice would be to embrace every experiance and to not take any problem too seriously. I definitly had a lot of anxiety abroad wheather it was because my phone wouldn't work in china or because I missed a flight when trying to come home from Berlin, simply because I couldn't tell military time correctly. Everything will work itself out and as long as you are safe and cautious, it will all be okay and definily will be one of the best, most fun times of your life!