Slugs of the World: Mina

Hi travelers! Slugs of the World is a new feature where we’ll be interviewing a study abroad returnee once a week to give you some insight on what it’s really like to leave UCSC and experience the world!
Mina is a fourth-year psychology major here at UCSC. She studied abroad on a multicity program which means she got to spend 5 weeks in Rome and 5 weeks in Madrid. I asked Mina a few questions about her experience abroad.

Mina with the view from the orange grove on Aventine Hill in Rome

Q: What were you first impressions when you landed on Italian soil?
A: After an eventful and unexpected 8 hour layover in NY and an equally long flight, I was so thankful to have finally landed in Rome! I was excited, tired, but also surprised at how much writing was in English. Through winding halls I found my way outside of the airport to the taxi area that I had no idea how to navigate. I noticed an employee was speaking English so I looked at the taxis and asked, “How do I get one?” He hailed a cab, I checked the logo to make sure it was the correct district cab like the program instructions said and I was on my way. My first impression of Italians was that they were helpful and pleasant.

Q:  What do you miss most about being abroad?

A: I miss the constant excitement, curiosity, and adrenaline that was coursing through my veins everyday I was abroad. There is something so invigorating about exploring new terrain. There was always something to do and a new place to visit. Both Italy and Spain had so much to offer whether it was the ruins of an ancient palace in Rome or the majestic skyline seen from the roof of Circulo de Bellas Artes. Everyday was a stimulating adventure and a new learning experience.

Q: Why did you choose the multi-city program?
A: I chose a multi-city program because it was different, I could go to two countries within the same program! It was also in late spring which means great weather. I really enjoyed comparing and contrasting two major cities in Europe – even though they were only a two hour flight away from each other, the environment in both places was so different
Q:  What would you say to someone considering your program?
I would say do it! This program offers you the chance to see both places as well as learn about the history (politics, architecture, and immigration) that you can see remnants of as you step outside of the classroom. I would also suggest looking into the internship program. I did not do it but I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with different people!

Thanks to Mina for sharing! If you have studied abroad you can be featured on Slugs of the World! Send an email to and tell us where you studied. 

Slugs of the World: Sameer

Hi travelers! Slugs of the World is a feature where we’ll be interviewing a study abroad returnee once a week to give you some insight on what it’s really like to leave UCSC and experience the world!
Here is Sameer Saleh, a transfer student who studied in South Africa and India.
Sameer in South Africa

Sameer in South Africa

Q: Why did you choose to study in India and South Africa?

A: Choosing to study abroad in South Africa and India really came down to taking myself out my comfort zone and seeing new regions of the world I had not explored before.

Q: Did you experience culture shock?

A: I certainly experienced culture shock, but most of it was the experience of reverse-culture shock. I think going to South Africa and India, I had mentally prepared myself for any of the unexpected, but returning home was a different story. I had been advised on reverse-culture shock but really took none of it to heart and managed to be in disbelief about the whole idea. Of course the advice given wasn’t in vain and coming back home was a mix of emotions and a culture shock I was not expecting.
Q: What was the most interesting thing you ate?
A: Indian street food.
Q: What was your experience like with the academic culture in both countries compared to UCSC?
A: At the University of Cape Town, I felt that the academic culture was very similar to the culture at UCSC. In India, I was at a study center and felt that the culture was significantly different than at UCSC, but largely because the whole program consisted of ten students where classes had as little as two students in a class.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory or experience from your time in both countries?
A: My favorite memory in Cape Town was the time a friend and I were running late heading into town to see a jazz show on what are called taxis, but are actually hop-on hop-off rundown vans that are crammed full of people (significant majority usually being African) that ran out of gas. Helping to push this taxi full of people to the nearest gas station with a few other South Africans ended up being one of my most memorable experiences.
In India, I would have to say one of my most memorable experiences would have to be the general auto-rickshaw rides around town and the one time I randomly saw an elephant coming down the other side of the road while in one.
Q: Transfer students may not know that studying abroad is an option for them, but it definitley is! What would you say to other transfer students interested in studying abroad?
A: As a transfer student, I would encourage other transfer students to look into study abroad as soon as possible and to know that it is very possible to study abroad as a transfer.

Thanks Sameer for sharing! If you have studied abroad you can be featured on Slugs of the World! Send an email to and tell us where you studied.