Amanda Hautmann - 2015 Program Participant

At the top of St. Pauls Cathedral in London, England

Overlooking London on top of St. Paul's Cathedral

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

I had always thought about studying abroad, so when I got to college as a freshman, I was in my study abroad office asking questions. I had went abroad before but I wanted the chance to go again when I was older. I really didn't know where I wanted to go, but I knew I wanted the chance to go abroad.

Why did you choose CISabroad?

I went through CISabroad for my program since I heard so many positive things about them and their willingness to help students. Originally, I planned on doing a semester abroad. After looking at time and costs, I decided that doing a summer program would be preferable. The other thing that was very appealing to me about my program was the traveling. It was very rigorous traveling the first two weeks, then we slowed down when we hit London, but still went on excursions, and finally in Spain we had the ability to do whatever we wanted. It was a nice balance. The time of the program was also ideal. It covered all of my summer and gave me the time abroad that I needed.

What was your favorite part about your time in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain?

Being in four different countries brought forth a lot of favorite parts! In Ireland, I fell in love with the history and traditions. They are very serious about their traditions and how they respect each and every one of them. In Scotland, I loved the land. The highlands and the cities each had their own unique look and had their own importance. In England, there is just so much to do. Specifically in London, where we were, there was so much to do and we had the ability to go to many different places and see a lot of things. I think in particular seeing the Queen for her birthday really made London all that better. Finally, in Spain, my favorite part had to be the fact every day I went to class I got the opportunity to see the Sagrada Familia. Every morning I got the chance to see one of Spain's most important places.

Panorama of the coastline in Northern Ireland

A day in Northern Ireland

What aspects of your program made it unique?

This program is unique for the fact that you span so many different places and learn so much history in such a short amount of time. I earned 15 credits on this trip. I traveled to 27 different cities and four different countries. There were also opportunities to travel to other countries and cities outside of our program, which was nice as well. There were a lot of opportunities to travel and experience the different areas we were in. It truly gave us the most diverse and amazing experience.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

When I landed I met up with my professor that would be traveling with us for the British Isles portion and the on-site coordinator that would travel with us all the way until we landed in Spain and were handed off to our new on-site staff. My on-site coordinator in the British Isles was phenomenal. He helped all of us, whether it was getting recommendations on where to eat or shop or if we needed help in getting medical help. The same went for Spain. They were willing to give us suggestions and help us get to where we needed to go no matter what.

Queen Elizabeth II riding in her carriage in London, England

God Save the Queen! - London, England.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently? 

I wish I would have gone to another country while I was there. The ability to travel through the other countries was very possible. I enjoyed spending time in the areas that I was in though. I believe that the opportunities I took while I was abroad were worthwhile though.

Describe a day in the life of your program. 

In the beginning portion of my program we would get up and travel to our excursion. Some days we would be packed and ready to go onto our next location. Once we got to London we would have class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then we would have the afternoon to ourselves. On Tuesday and Thursday we would have excursions and travel to different important landmarks. In Spain, I had class Monday thru Friday, and then I would have excursions on some of the weekends in which we would all go together as a group.

What did you enjoy doing outside of the planned activities in your program? 

In Edinburgh, Scotland I really enjoyed having the day to myself. I went to the Museum of Scotland and walked around the streets. I also saw different sites that J.K. Rowling got inspiration for writing Harry Potter. In London I got to see the Queen for her birthday. She literally rode past me on a carriage; it was such an amazing experience to see her. In Spain I loved my salsa class I got to attend. I had such a blast learning the steps and learning how to salsa.

View of Barcelona, Spain from Park Guell

Early morning adventure in Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

What type of accommodation did you have throughout your trip? What did you like best about it?

Since we traveled to many different places I had a ton of different accommodations. In Ireland and Scotland some of the places I stayed in were hostels or hotels. In London we stayed in dorms on the campus we were staying at. In Spain I stayed in a shared apartment with other American students. I loved having the chance to stay in a hostel. I had never had the chance to stay in one and getting that opportunity opened my mind to what other kinds of housing there are. In Spain, I enjoyed the apartment. I felt very safe in all of these locations and accommodations.

How has your time abroad impacted your life?

I have become so open-minded since the time I left and have returned. I have realized that just because one thing happens one way here does not mean it is the same everywhere else. I also have realized how wonderful the food was while I was overseas and how I wish I could bring some of it back. It was so natural and delicious.

It has also impacted my life because I realized that I learned how to be more confident and how to support myself here in the United States. I had a lot of eye opening experiences that taught me how to take care of myself and how to make sure I am safe, and realize the importance of an area.