Student Stories

Au Revoir, Montréal

By Erin Butrico

I was always the nervous type. I relied on my twin for everything. I used to stand behind her when I was scared. I liked to eat the same food and stick to the same routine. Even though I’m 20 years old now, and I’ve lived without my family for two years at Duke, I was still very nervous when my mom left me for this program. It was the first time that I was living in a city. I had never met these girls before. My French was mediocre. I felt very alone. 

 

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Livin' La Pura Vida

By Harry Liu

The Pura Vida lifestyle is best summed up as the combination of the many daily experiences that Tico has. The experiences I’ve had taught me that in order to fully immerse yourself in and understand a culture, you have to keep an open mind, be flexible, and completely embrace it. In other words, you have to challenge yourself to try new things.

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Host Mom, New Friend

By Madison Mastrangelo 

Not only did my host mom help me with French, she became a good friend, and I always looked forward to our dinners and daily conversations. Before arriving in Paris, I did not anticipate that living with a homestay would play such an integral role in my study abroad experience. I still keep in touch with my host mom, and I am excited to visit her when I return to Paris in the future.

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Words That Don’t Translate: Flâner (French)

By Brittany Wong

The verb “flâner” is absolutely essential in Parisian culture, but lacks a real equivalent in English: my best approximation would be “to stroll contemplatively.” Some of my best memories are of calm moments with “livres de poche” in the elegant Jardin du Palais Royal or observing precocious French children in Parc Sainte-Perrine near my homestay. 

 

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A Typical Day Attending the Oldest University in Europe

By Sarah Perrin

Our classes were held in an architecturally and historically rich building that was once part of a monastery, then a penitentiary, until it was finally adopted into the fold of the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna.
 

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Las Hogueras: Festival of San Juan

By Sam Sadler

How incredible is this statue made entirely of paper and wood? During our last week in Alicante, these gigantic hogueras (Spanish for “bonfires”) appeared in the streets almost overnight, blocking major roadways and decorating the city. After a tense competition to name the best statue, firemen proceed to systematically ignite each hoguera, and the entire city rushes to watch beautiful sculptures turn to mute ashes. 

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How I Got to Know the People on the Duke in Greece Program: Kayla Speidel

This picture was taken on the port of Folegandros, from the bathroom window of my boat cabin. Twenty-six people and I lived on this boat for a week, traveling nearly every day to a new island. 

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Midnight Cruise: A New Perspective on the Familiar—Noah Burrell

Studying abroad in St. Petersburg was an unforgettable experience. The classes themselves were interesting and informative, but the city itself became a teacher of incomparable value. 

Each day of exploration led to new discoveries and adventures. St. Petersburg, a city that is in every way a union of European and Russian culture, invites you to look at both worlds from which it draws influence with a different perspective. 

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Solidifying My Interests in Policy, History, and Culture: Alicia Pak

Here you can behold the beauty of Montmorency Falls—a natural wonder located just outside Quebec City, the provincial capital. The Montmorency and St. Lawrence rivers shaped Quebec’s trade and economy, serving as waterway transport for wood, one of Canada’s natural resources. 

Through Duke in Montreal, I spent part of July in Quebec City studying economic and cultural development of the region and meeting with such figures as the Minister of International Relations and the U.S. Consul General.

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A Summer of Becoming Madrileñas

By Mathilde Ooi

In the short six weeks with Duke in Spain, I know that I have made some of the best memories I will have throughout Duke. From cities to grand cathedrals, Mallorcan beaches, the Picos de Europa mountain range, and not to mention the best gazpacho I will ever taste prepared by my host family, I experienced Spain like I have never experienced any country.

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