Marquette Global
15. September 2014

Let me preface this post with the following: Byron Bay was awesome!! 

We left Friday morning about 9, and had a quick hour bus ride to some of Australia’s surf outlet malls. There was Billabong, Quicksilver, Roxy, and all those stores we could shop in and had some pretty good discounts. That was cool and all, but I was ready to get to the beach. 

We drove another 20 minutes and stopped at the Gold Coast to see the beaches and ocean. It was absolutely breathtaking. 

 After going on a short little hike, we hopped back on the bus and headed to Byron Bay. Some people got dropped off to go skydiving (which I haven’t done..yet…), and my group got dropped off to go snorkeling. 

We then got on wetsuits hopped in a shuttle bus that drove us to the beach. Our captain, Dennis, got us all in his little boat with 2 100HP motors on the back. Needless to say, we were flying through the ocean (literally, we caught some good air on a few waves). After a 10 minute cruise across the ocean, we got dropped off by this little island and we could swim around it and see all the fish and turtles and sharks. Yes, we did see a few Nurse Sharks swimming along the bottom. They looked mean, but I guess they don’t attack! 

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12. September 2014

I went to another Brisbane Broncos rugby game! This game was a blast, as the Broncos actually won 48-6! We were sitting only 12 rows up from the back of the end zone, and they scored most of their points at our end too, so that made it even more exciting! 

To make it even better, I also caught a footy ball! (That’s the name of the ball they play with). After they score, they kick through the goalpost, similar to an extra point in football, and I caught it as it came through! I was really excited, but I had to give it back. As I threw it back like a football, some of the Aussies in my section joked and said that I must be a true American. 

Anyway, I really love going to these rugby games. It’s exciting and it’s just fun to hear all the sports talk and slang being used around me. I look forward to going to another Broncos game! 



I also went to my very first AFL game. That’s the Australian Football League. It was a mix of rugby/American football/soccer. It was very entertaining to watch.  I went with a group from ACU, so the game was free, which makes it even better! The Brisbane Lions played the Adelaide Crows. Pft Crows, what a stupid name…

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11. September 2014

Traveling to Rome to begin this experience abroad has really taught me how exhausting airplanes and travel days can be. Monday and Tuesday of my first week abroad began with a long day of travel filled with running through the Philadelphia airport (literally) to catch my connection flight, only to arrive at the gate with a delayed flight. It was comforting to know my athletic abilities would have prevailed had the flight been on time. But even better to know that I could stop running and take a second to breathe. This burst of energy was followed by restless sleep on the plane, and a long day of orientation and unpacking once I arrived at the apartment.

I’m living in an apartment in the Trestevere neighborhood, which is about 1 mile away from the actual campus. It’s a beautiful walk down neighborhood and city streets really adding to the experience of living as a resident in the city instead of just being a student on campus. This extra experience was something I was looking for and chose, instead of living in the dorms on campus. I have connected really well with my seven roommates, and we have already started planning trips and adventures for the weekends that we are here.



Culture shock did not kick in for a while since most of the residents in this area speak English as a second language. However, this provided me with a different kind of culture shock. Instead of having difficulty communicating, I felt guilty communicating in my first language because I did not want others to assume I saw my language is superior and therefore had no regard to learning Italian before coming to live here. I still struggle with this, but I have learned some Italian through class and just experience and that has helped me to communicate to a certain extent in Italian.

I feel so grateful to have arrived to a beautiful apartment with great roommates in the center of the eternal city, Roma.

10. September 2014

Well, I just finished up my first week of school! I have to take a 30 minute train ride and then a 5 minute bus ride to get to school, since it’s out in the suburbs and I’m right downtown. The campus is relatively small, but has about 5,000 students who attend it. 

I have one 2 hour lecture for each class, then an hour “tutorial” which is a small group discussion of the lecture material, totaling to 12 hours of class per week for 16 credits. I’m taking a psychology, theology, ethics and an Australian culture class. 

My theology class is really interesting in that it’s a video conference. The main lecturer is in Melbourne, and the lecture is broadcasted via Skype to Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, and Strathfield. Each class can go around and answer questions and make comments and that sort of thing. 

I’m mostly the lone American in most of my lectures, which is kind of cool because then I get to meet more Australian students. Also, we’re expected to call our professors or “lecturers” by their first name. So my psychology teacher has a PHD and a bunch of other degrees, but we call her by her first name, which is a bit different than back home. 

And I’m officially an Australian student:


All right so enough of school talk, let’s get into some of my random thoughts…

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9. September 2014

​It’s been a week. A stunningly beautiful, overwhelming, confusing, rewarding week in Galway. I’ve found myself on this Sunday morning in need of some quiet reflection. If there’s one thing Galway is not, it’s quiet. All hours, all locations, noise permeates through the cobblestoned streets and the hole-in-the-wall pubs.

​But I finally have some quiet in a little coffee shop, and this has been my favorite morning thus far. In need of a sense of community and comfort, I looked up mass times online and spent earlier this Sunday morning among [or amidst] the songs, prayers and atmosphere I didn’t know I’d memorized by heart. I couldn’t help thinking as I walked into Galway’s grand cathedral that it pays to be Irish Catholic—these are my people. Having this immediate familiarity is something I have never appreciated until it became an effort to find it again.

​After mass, sipping on an Americano (my staple European coffee order, because they have it everywhere and it’s cheap), I feel relaxed and for the first time in a week, confident. After arriving in Galway last weekend, I was two days earlier than any other Marquette student studying here or any other study abroad Americans for that matter. I was very much on my own, and completely freaked out by that concept. But last weekend turned out to be an exceptional introduction to Galway. Being on my own, I made my own rules and determined my own activities. I knew the longer I stayed in my empty apartment, the lonelier I’d feel.  So, last Saturday morning I woke up and went to the St. Nicolas farmers market I’d read about in Rick Steve’s guidebook.

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8. September 2014

While the word “casa” means home in Spanish, it also is a useful acronym for the pillars of the program. Community. Accompaniment. Spirituality. Academics. Each pillar shapes the Casa experience for students. In the most straightforward sense, community manifests itself in the living situation here at Casa. This semester there are 21 students divided into two houses, Casa Romero and Casa Silivia. Each house receives its name from a prominent figure in El Salvador’s violent history.

Both Archbishop Oscar Romero and Silvia, a nun devoted to accompanying women, children, and couples throughout the Civil War, serve as reminders of the Salvadorean’s belief that these figures are “presente hoy en dia” (present here and now) despite being martyred years ago. It’s more than just an idea here. It’s a living, breathing faith. Emotional testimonies clarify not only who Romero and Silvia were throughout their lives but the hope they continue to be for the people of El Salvador.


I am living in Casa Romero along with 12 other students (13 total), 2 Salvadorean Scholarship students affectionately referred to as  “los becarios” (people of the scholarship), and two of our community coordinators, Jennifer and Jake.

As a program, we share meals both lunch and dinner Monday through Friday together, and the food is out of this world! We’re lucky enough to have four Salvadorean women who prepare some of the most delicious Salvadorean food. So far, we’ve only gotten a little taste of their culinary magic, but I can’t wait to try new foods, fruits, and desserts. My favorite meal has been Tilapia cakes served with a fruit called “lichi.”  Lichi looks like a sea anemone with twisted, pink finger like projections. Once you move past the foreign exterior, this fun fruit tastes like a grape’s distant cousin.

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8. September 2014

I made it to Brisbane. The guy picking us up from the airport was wearing a suit and tie and was holding up my last name (pretty cool huh?). And, I am officially all unpacked and settled in! I’m staying at a big apartment complex called Urbanest, right in downtown Brisbane. I have mastered grocery shopping and cooking for myself isn’t too bad.. This must be what growing up is like. Anyway, I got a chance to explore the city a bit more the last couple of days. I’m located in Southbank, which is right in the heart of Brisbane. There is a farmer’s markets and craft markets in the parklands a few blocks from me, with people playing music and having a good time. It’s definitely an awesome location. Across the river (about a mile and a half walk) is Queen Street Mall Center, which is a big mall, with other shops and bars along the street. 

Everybody here has been really nice and friendly and helpful. It’s cool meeting a lot of the Aussies, as well as people from other countries. Last night I hung out with people from Germany, Norway, France, and Austria. It’s awesome how everyone just kind of mixes together, regardless of where they’re from. 

Here’s the door into my flat. I share it with 4 other people. My door is the second one on the left, and the door at the end of the hall leads into the kitchen and lounge area. 


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2. September 2014

It’s all paying off—the past months of planning and panicking, of frantic emails and endless to do lists. I’m off to spend four months in Galway, Ireland, and I can’t believe I’m really sitting in Boston Logan Airport about to embark on my highly anticipated adventure of a lifetime.

As I sit in the very Euro-chic international terminal (don’t worry, I totally blend in with my black nail polish), I can’t help but feel restless. Not because of my upcoming exploit, but more because I’m struck with how very much alone I am. Granted, I’m in a busy airport, but I haven’t had a substantial conversation with someone in hours. Hours. I realized how pathetic I felt after I couldn’t even sit by myself and finish a sandwich without feeling the need to call my friend from Marquette. While it was so wonderful to hear this person’s voice, that type of communication should be complimentary, not fundamental, to my airport experience.

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2. September 2014

I’m writing this from however many miles up in the sky I am right now over the Atlantic. I’m really good at doing things last minute and I figured writing this would give me something to do during my nine-hour flight to Madrid.

I can’t believe it’s finally time to go. I’ve thought about this moment so much that it doesn’t really feel like it’s happening. I’m not sure it’ll hit me until we land.


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31. August 2014

South Africa has 11 national languages. Yeah that’s right, ELEVEN. I felt pretty pathetic admitting that I struggled through Spanish classes after learning that most people here speak 3-4 languages. (Thank goodness at least one of them is usually English.) It seems so crazy, but that idea of diversity is the perfect illustration of culture here in Cape Town.

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu called South Africa the “rainbow nation,” he wasn’t kidding. There are people here of every color, ethnicity, background, appearance and situation that you could imagine. With so many different languages being spoken, people’s accents when they speak English also vary greatly, which keeps us constantly on our toes. It makes me think that compared to the proper way most people here speak, we must sound so nasally and weird. (ESPECIALLY us Wisconsin kids who get made fun of in the house for pronouncing bag like bayg.)


Our RA in the K House, Kholeka, teaching us a Xhosa lesson and laughing at our awful attempts at pronunciation.

Another language we’ve encountered plenty here in Cape Town is a traditional African language called Xhosa, pronounced “Kosa.” Well, that’s the closest way I can think of to phonetically type out how to pronounce the word Xhosa because to say it correctly involves a click. Imagine the way you would click to encourage a horse and then proceed to say “Kosa.” In the Western Cape, where we are, we hear Xhosa from most of the people we work with at service, plenty of our classmates at UWC, and random strangers on the train and in the grocery store.

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