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27 June 2017

Taking Stock in Dehli #HogsAbroad in India

We arrived in Delhi late last night. The entirety of yesterday was spent on the plane. I’m a little jetlagged right now but I’m very excited to be in India. We are leaving the airport right now, but already I am overwhelmed with different sensations in the dark. The air is very thick and humid, I expected it to be hot but I didn’t expect it to be this humid. It is surprising to see so many homeless people outside the airport, they are lying down in the grass or sand lining the path that we take to get to the cars.

The drive to Colonel’s Retreat is interesting. There are many cars on the road and no one is in lanes. I didn’t realize that some many cars could fit horizontally on such a road. The most overwhelming part of the drive back is all of the honking. We might have briefly discussed traffic in the prep classes but I can’t remember what was said. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for actually being out there in the traffic. It’s unique to see that the big trucks have messages painted on them saying to “please honk” if they need to go around.

There is so much honking happening from all sides. In the United States, it’s considered rude to honk at people in traffic and it’s often done only when absolutely necessary. I can understand why they honk here – it’s to let other drivers know that they are going around them, that they’re going to slow, or to get their attention if the other driver isn’t moving when they’re supposed to. There’s so many cars out on the road that it would be very hard to regulate the flow of traffic within the conventional confines of a traffic system like we have in the United States.

When we arrive at Colonel’s Retreat, I am pleasantly surprised by how nice the hotel is. We talked about where we were going in the prep classes, but we didn’t really get into specifics about what our living accommodations would look like. I didn’t have much of an idea about where we were going to stay, but I was impressed by the cleanliness of the retreat. My nose was assaulted by the harsh smells of Delhi. It first hit me when we were on the bus on the way to the retreat and it hit me again when I stepped off of the bus. It smelled like a mixture of sewage and spices. I was taken aback by the intensity of the smell. In our prep classes, Vikas had told us that it would be a big adjustment to get used to all of the smells and that there wasn’t really anything we could do to prepare ourselves for that aspect of the trip and I definitely understand what he meant by this. There was absolutely nothing that could be done to prepare me for the smells of Delhi.
Courtney, U of A Faculty-Led International Business in India Summer Program
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Finding Natural Remedies #HogsAbroad in Sweden #TravelTuesday

Hello, my name is Austin Bareis, I am pursuing a bachelor of science degree in Biology. Last year, I participated in faculty study abroad program to Belize to study Coastal Biology. This year I went on a faculty abroad trip to Sweden to study Healthcare. I am going to describe one of my most favorite experiences while studying abroad in Sweden.

We went on a hiking trip with students from the Jonkoping University in Sweden and here are a few pictures from that. We took pictures with a Lone Star Hog flag to show our razorback pride. We were able to experience the beautiful landscape of Sweden and I enjoyed every part of the trip. 

In Sweden, there is a law called Allemansratten that states everyone can go on any piece of land without permission from the landowner. It puts a strong emphasis on not damaging growing trees, walking through crops, and taking birds eggs or nests. We went through rural parts of Sweden and it was a wonderful experience as we got to see the beautiful landscape of the country.

Celebrating its 11th year in 2017, Health Teams Abroad-Sweden provides comparative information and learning activities from the perspectives of health professions involved in higher education, clinical service delivery, and/or research in the US and Sweden. It emphasizes critical thinking about the ways in which societal values, policies and the practices of each country impacts the provision of health related services. Students are exposed to the need for research evidence across health careers as a basis for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of common and chronic diseases.

To find out more about the Health Teams Abroad: Sweden summer program, visit
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26 June 2017

Tabarca Island #HogsAbroad in Spain

Today we visited Tabarca Island. This is an island off of the coast of Alicante that is only inhabited by 58 people and where nothing really grows. We took a day trip here with our program, ate some yummy Paella, snorkeled in the beautiful water surrounding the island, and explored the quaint city. This little place was the definition of picturesque. The pictures don’t even do justice to how beautiful it is!!
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Health & Happiness in Belize #HogsAbroad

Hi! My name is Mimi Henderson. I’m a senior U of A student studying Kinesiology with hopes of attending Physician Assistant School post-graduation. Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Dangriga, Belize to participate in a Service Learning/Community Development project. As part of the health team, we explored differences in medicine and healthcare between Central America and the United States. 

Upon our arrival in Belize, we were greeted by members of the Peacework Organization. According to their website, Peacework is a global nonprofit organization that engages communities, academic institutions, and corporations in innovative cross-sector solutions for sustainable development around the world and across seven development disciplines. The Peacework representatives were crucial to our success in Dangriga. 

We hoped on a large schools bus (wow, haven’t rode on one of those in a while) and began our long three hour ride through the humid, hot, mountainous region of Belize. The day we arrived I think the temperature was hovering somewhere in the mid 90s with about 85% humidity. One would think that living in the south all your life would prepare you for this type of weather, but let me just say, Central America is on a whole other level. IT’S HOT! We arrived at the Chaleanor Hotel, the place we would call home for the next 3 weeks. I met up with my roommates who ended up being the coolest girls ever and no doubt got me through the ups and downs of our trip. ROOM 1 FOREVER! 

There were many different experiences available to the health team. First, we got the amazing opportunity to assist the United States Military at their Beyond the Horizon Medical Clinic. Duties varied within the clinic, but mostly consisted of assisting the U.S. Military in providing physicals for school children. When there were no children, we shadowed or assisted the medical staff in other ways like helping in the pharmacy, being a runner, or taking vitals in the triage area. 

One positive aspect of this opportunity was getting hands on healthcare experience. During the physical exams, we recorded height and weight, then led the students through a vision test. It was a unique opportunity to interact with local children as well as improve communication in a healthcare provider/patient relationship. 
working at Beyond the Horizon

Another positive aspect of this opportunity was being able to work with the U.S. military. Through this experience, I gained more respect and love for my own country. I think it is incredible that the military provides these MEDRETE events throughout Central America and other parts of the world.  Another positive aspect was the shadowing experience. I worked with Dr. Edens, a Dermatologist who allowed me to ask questions during the medical examination and would ask my opinion in diagnosis. He was a great teacher and gave me an insight into a type of medicine that differed greatly from clinic or hospital settings. It was exhausting and one of the hardest things I’ve done, but overall, volunteering at Beyond the Horizon was one of the highlights of this experience. 

Another unique opportunity available to us was educating the local citizens on health problems relevant to their population. We were provided with a table to display health information. We were encouraged to use posters to give presentations to community members waiting to be seen by physicians. One positive aspect of giving these presentations was getting an opportunity to refine our public speaking skills. Although the presentations started out a little rough, as time went on we greatly improved and gained more confidence. We also understood the material better and could relate it to a culture very different from our own. 

Teaching in the schools of Dangriga was my first experience teaching to young children. This was a challenging task, but had many rewards. I taught lessons on personal hygiene and tobacco use. We had to think critically to come up with lesson plans that would be interesting and interactive for students of different ages. It was very rewarding to see the kids having fun during our lessons but also gaining knowledge on the health topic. 

Another positive was discovering how different the education systems are in Belize and the United States. One day in a classroom the teacher introduced us and then said, “if you do not want to pay attention, be quiet, and learn, the door is open. You will gather your things and you will leave, but do not come back.” I was shocked by her harshness seeing as we were teaching kids between the ages of eight and ten. I was also surprised that the children have so many breaks and can just run around. In the United States, schools have much more structure. If a teacher were to say something like the teacher said to her students there would probably be a lawsuit or bullying by the teacher claim. Despite my thinking her words were unnecessary, I could see how the children respected her, and they ended up being our most well-behaved class all week. 

The experience that had the biggest impact on me was visiting Hope Creek. Two other students and myself traveled to the village of Hope Creek and met with Ms. Julia. We visited several patient’s homes to gain knowledge on their health and barriers to healthcare they may face. In addition, we recorded their blood pressure and blood sugar levels and provided education on nutrition, exercise, and how to better manage their symptoms. 

I was surprised to learn the many struggles patients in Belize face that we take for granted in the United States. I was inspired by the people we met and their resilience despite health and living conditions. Some of the patients could hardly afford food for their families, much less medications. It was challenging to think of ways they could manage their condition that was personalized for their situation, but provided a good first experience into something I will use daily as a Physician Assistant. 

Another positive from this experience was not only getting to understand the culture better, but crossing paths with Ms. Julia. She is the most incredible person I have ever met. It felt like meeting an angel in person. After sharing her personal story of caring for her village, how she walks many miles in the heat, makes bandages out of her own supplies, opens her house to the sick, and so much more, we were inspired to buy her a bicycle so that she could get off her feet a little. The look on her face when we surprised her and thanked her for everything was the biggest positive of not only this trip but one I will never forget. The whole experience made me think of how much I have and how much I take for granted. I plan to make some changes to my life when I get back to the United States by being more grateful and living with less. My rural health experience at Hope Creek is one that impacted me and will continue to inspire me as a healthcare provider. 
Delivering the bicycle to Ms. Julia, the most amazing
woman I have ever met.
I learned so much about rural health and life in a foreign country through my experience in Belize. The people were some of the most kind I have ever met. They are so happy despite their lack of money, education, and often times resources. We take so much for granted in the United States such as accessibility to healthcare. If we need medication we can go to an urgent care 10 miles up the road. People in Belize might not be able to afford food much less medications they need. 

This trip opened my eyes to rural health issues that are common between the two countries. Rural parts of the United States experience some of the same struggles and barriers to healthcare. I became more culturally aware and self-aware of the passion I have to provide care to underserved populations. I am thankful for the opportunity to study abroad, something made possible by the Office of Study Abroad Scholarship, for this amazing opportunity.
3 roommates in front of our green palace, the Chaleanor
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snooze: part four #HogsAbroad in Germany

Somehow, I’m leaving Vallendar tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I know how I’m leaving Vallendar tomorrow, but I’m not sure how the time is already here. This week set a land- speed record in my mind, and even though it hasn’t fully set in yet, I’m not sure I’m ready to leave. I feel like I just got here, like I just met these people, like we just took our first company visit. And then I realize that I’m here, sitting in my room on a Friday afternoon, taking a break from packing so that I can leave early in the morning. Time is relative, right?

I can actually prove that, because earlier this week my classmates and I were stuck in traffic for over an hour and a half, and that most certainly did not go by quickly. That’s a story for a little bit down the page.

This past week was exceptional. Exceptionally busy. Parts were boring, and parts were very exciting, but overall it was busy.

On Monday, I sat through a lecture on luxury brand management, where I learned how managing a luxury brand is surprisingly different than managing literally anything else, and where I also learned that I don’t wish to be around any sort of luxury brands, ever. The lecture made me a little upset with the world for creating an industry worth more than Apple, comprised of useless items priced in the thousands (or millions.) But, I digress.

On Tuesday, my favorite lecture of the entire two-week class went a little bit over time and I didn’t mind one bit. We were talking about competition in Europe, and how non-European companies compete with companies that are at home within the EU. It was extremely interesting, because for nearly the entire lecture we talked about a case study: Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart tried entering Germany, and their try lasted for about ten years before they left the market with over two billion dollars in losses, which was a stark difference from the invincible Wal-Mart we talk about in every business class in Fayetteville.

After the lecture, we took off for a company visit to the largest steel-packaging producer in the world. Steel-packaging sounded exciting, and the “biggest producer in the world” had my interest, but let me tell you, I was wrong. On the tour (and in the hour-long lecture we had prior) I learned more about steel manufacturing than I’ve ever desired. By the end of our visit, all of us were more than ready to take off our hard hats and hair nets, climb into the bus, and hurry home.
Wednesday, our lecture was over climate change and sustainability, which had interesting parts and important pieces but overall was a little more boring than the rest. The exciting part of Wednesday was our visit to the castle Marksburg, about a half hour outside of Vallendar. It was absolutely beautiful. Marksburg is the only castle in Germany that’s never been destroyed or captured, but was always peacefully passed down or given away. We were able to see all of the rooms vital to the castle, such as the main bedroom, the stone kitchen, and of course, the weapon-filled torture room. The castle was on a hill overlooking both the Rhine River and a small town, offering beautiful views no matter where you looked.

On our way back, we noticed the traffic getting heavy. Before we had gone another quarter mile, we were stuck, bumper to bumper. We’d all been in traffic before, and so we didn’t expect it to last long. After all, it was right before 5, so rush hour was beginning to pile up. First, ten minutes passed. Then another ten. Before we knew it, we had been sitting, without moving, for forty five minutes. None of us had brought anything but our phones, because it was supposed to be a short trip, and none of us had service or wi-fi, so we began listing off every joke we knew and every riddle we could think of.

An hour into the standstill traffic, people were climbing out of their cars and asking to use the in-bus bathroom. Having strangers climb onto the bus, shuffle down the aisle, and cut off the students waiting in line for the one-person bathroom sure is interesting. One of my classmates remembered she had Heads Up on her phone, so the next half-hour was passed guessing movies and animals. An hour and forty minutes into the traffic, we finally started moving.
On Thursday, we had our finance lecture, which was extremely interesting because it was all about comparing Anglo-Saxon financial systems to those of Continental Europe. However, finance was the last thing on all of our minds; our group presentations, worth half of our grade, were that afternoon.
My group was presenting on business attractiveness in the Netherlands, which meant I knew more about the Netherlands than the average Dutch person (we had practiced quite a few times, mostly out of nervousness.) After the lecture was over, presentations began and my group was selected to go third.

We survived.

To celebrate the finale of presentations, some of my friends and I left Vallendar for Koblenz, the nearest city, for dinner. After exploring for a minute, we settled on a Mexican restaurant for two reasons: first, because we were interested in German Mexican, and second, because our Canadian friend had never had Mexican at all. Ironically, it was the best Mexican food I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Friday morning was spent studying for the test that would come later that afternoon, comprising the other half of our grades. Despite being in school for only two weeks, we had taken a substantial amount of notes- I had over twenty handwritten pages- so studying kept us busy. I packed two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, wrapped in paper towels and rubber bands, so that I could study even longer.

The test was tough, but it went well. It covered everything we had learned from day one, but thankfully, nearly all of it had been very interesting. Afterwards, we all left to go pack a bit before our final group excursion: our farewell dinner.

The dinner, held in a traditional German restaurant outside of Koblenz, was a fancy occasion. I was unaware of this, so I went in tennis shoes and a t-shirt. My buddy went in athletic shorts, also unaware of the dress code, so we sat next to each other in hopes that we wouldn’t be heckled if we were a part of a group.

I ordered a beer because it was my last night in the region, and could only drink half of it before passing it off to another friend. It all tastes like medicine to me; apparently German medicine is really good. The food came on a giant platter on a heated brick, enough food for four people with leftovers. It included six different types of meat (no worries, I had all six on my first plate,) as well as corn, potatoes, noodles, beans, and a giant head of lettuce. I’ll bet you can guess which one of the foods we left on the platter.

To walk off the giant caloric intake we had just endured, we went for a walk by the river and took pictures as a big group. We realized that we had only just started becoming truly good friends, and that it was a shame to be leaving after establishing all of these relationships.
To prolong any goodbyes, we all got one last ice cream cone when we returned to Vallendar.

These two weeks went by faster than I ever thought possible, and I learned more than I learned all last semester. I made some incredible friendships and got to see some extremely cool sights. It was an awesome two weeks, and I’m so grateful to have gotten to go. I thank God for all that happened these last few weeks, and I praise Him because He kept me so safe, healthy, and adventurous. He was written all over my time in Vallendar, and I hope He’ll be written all over the rest of this adventure, as well.
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25 June 2017

A minute about... Dublin! #HogsAbroad in Ireland

Bye Ireland!! While we loved this country, we are ready to be home. After our flight ordeals, almost everyone getting sick, being exhausted, and missing chick-fil-a and our own beds, we are ready to be home. 
I will definitely miss Ireland, and the experiences I got from studying abroad, but I will never forget my time spent here! I've met so many new friends, did things I wouldn't normally do (Segway tours, 3 hour bike tour through a city, etc.), and learned a lot. Ireland will be missed!! Dublin had so much to do, so I'll let the pictures speak for my time in Dublin!

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This program for education majors highlights similarities and differences between the Irish and American education systems, while evaluating the impact of culture and history on education. Students will be immersed in the Irish education system through interactive visits to primary and secondary schools in Limerick. Find out more at
Sophia and I in Howth, Ireland
Hike in Howth

Becca and I on the hike!

Trinity College Library!!

Elizabeth, me, Meredith at Guinness Storehouse Tour

Mrs. Forbess and I, last group dinner

Irish Whiskey Museum
Downtown Dublin

Aquatic Canyoning #HogsAbroad in Spain

As much as I love the outdoors I have never experienced something as amazing as this. Our guides took pictures but none of us had our phones, and feee from distraction and away from the world, I was so captivated by the beauty surrounding us. The mountains, the trees, the flowers, the fresh water springs, just pure beautiful nature. I will never forget this day or this incredible experience.
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