Valarie Yager, CET Florence
Vanderbilt University ’19
Majors: Economics and Medicine, Health & Society
Minor: Corporate Strategy
My name is Valerie Yager, and I’m a junior at Vanderbilt University double majoring in Economics and Medicine, Health & Society, and minoring in Corporate Strategy. This semester, I will further my studies in Florence, Italy with CET. Studying in Florence will introduce me to new people, art, food, languages, and so much more. I enjoy documenting new experiences with friends through digital photography, so I look forward to sharing photos of everything from my new favorite coffee shop to the view from the top of Il Duomo.
Thuy Nguyen, CET Japan
Soka University of America ‘19
Majors: Environmental Studies and Social & Behavioral Sciences
Since I was a child, Japanese culture has always been fascinating to me. The elegance of tea culture, the beauty of Kabuki, the spirit of Samurai and so many other things have held Japan dear to my heart. Therefore, living in Japan, especially in Osaka, will provide me with an opportunity to immerse myself in the depth of Japanese culture, to interact with the local and to understand Japan not through some movies but with my own experience. Also, I am a huge foody who loves to see the history behind different cuisine, so Osaka will definitely become a great place for my exploration. I hope that through my photos, I can share a glance of Osaka to you and tell the story of the people that I meet during my journey!
Jeffrey Guzman, CET Brazil
American University ’19
Majors: PR & Strategic Communication and Sociology
At a holiday party, I learned that a lot of my cousins speak Portuguese; I don’t speak it, yet I’m the one going to Brazil! Despite the language barrier, Brazil was an obvious choice for me. I’m a PR major and Sociology minor at American University in Washington, DC – a political hotbed. Poverty, race, and inequality are at the center of the news, classroom discussions, and a lot of my extracurricular involvement. So, the Brazilian program, which focuses on those same topics immediately piqued my interest. I can’t wait to meet new people and learn their perspectives on those topics, as well as learn the language. I want to capture and share the diversity of both the people and the land through my posts!
Lauren Burns, CET Jordan: Internship
University of Mississippi ’19
Majors: International Studies and Arabic
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Burns and I’m a junior at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), where I study International Studies and Arabic. This will actually be my third time studying in Amman! My biggest regret from studying abroad previously was not keeping a journal or blog or video diary, so I’m super excited to share my experiences this time around. With CET, I’ll not only take Arabic courses, but I’ll also be juggling other classes and an internship—it’s safe to say I’ll be busy. At Ole Miss, I specialize in Middle East studies and I’m particularly interested in water security and safety. I’ll be beginning my senior thesis when I return back to the States, so I’m hoping to do some research while I’m in Jordan, one of the most water-scarce regions in the world. In my free time I love to read, curate new music playlists, and dabble in graphic design and videography. I’m no expert, but it’s fun to explore and I love teaching myself new things!
Minnie Norgaisse, CET Beijing
Brandeis University ’19
Major: East Asian Studies
Minor: Linguistics and Global Studies
大家好! My name is Minnie Norgaisse and I’m a junior at Brandeis University majoring in East Asian Studies and minoring in Linguistics and Global Studies. If you had asked me two years ago where I was going to study abroad, I definitely would have told you Paris, but my ever-changing interests have landed me in China, where I will be for the next eight months as a Boren Scholar! Like many others, I chose to study Mandarin because I wanted a new challenge. In pursuing that, I have definitely not been left disappointed. I chose CET because of its reputation of excellent language instruction, and so far, I can easily say that the program is living up to its reputation. I’m looking forward to exploring more of Beijing, learning more about the people, and of course, continually improving my Mandarin!
Estefanía Rincón, CET Film Production in Prague
American University ’19
Major: Film and Media studies
Minor: Audio Technology
My name is Estefanía Rincón, I am originally from Venezuela. I live in New Hampshire now and go to school at American University in Washington DC. I love singing, dancing, doing yoga, and traveling! Some of my favorite trips include China, India, Australia, Bali, Qatar, and Greece. I’ve never been to Prague and I am so excited to explore and share my experiences with you all; I hope you enjoy!
Leaynet Sahilu, CET Brazil
Howard University ’19
Major: Media, Journalism & Film
Minor: Political Science
Hello, I am Leaynet “Leo” Sahilu and I will be studying in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Although I have traveled overseas a few times, this will be my first time traveling within the Americas. After watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, I was fascinated by Brazil’s unique culture, its racially diverse population, its attractive points of interests and historical landmarks. My encounter with Portuguese-speaking students during my first year in college was another factor for me to make this decision of studying in Brazil and learn more about the country, the culture, society, economy, through visiting places and communicating with the locals, while strengthening my Portuguese skills in the process. I look forward to having a memorable time in Brazil and capture my amazing moments during my time in the world’s fifth most populous country, including the Carnaval.
Sharon Phu, CET Vietnam
Yale University ’19
Major: East Asian Studies
Hi everyone! My name is Sharon, though you’ll see me spelling it as Sheiran to mix things up a bit. I love singing (loudly and in the shower); dancing; and spending far too many hours reading fan fiction. I love learning new languages, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can build off the limited amount of Vietnamese I picked up from a semester’s worth of auditing. I chose Vietnam to study abroad not only to garner a better understanding of the Vietnam-U.S.-China triangle of cooperation, tensions, and stand offs; but also to immerse myself in a culture I’ve always wanted to explore. Here’s to an entertaining semester! Side note, I’ll be updating my newborn personal blog for this trip, accessible at ridingthatstrugglebus.wordpress.com
Tim Rice, CET Florence
Vanderbilt University ’19
I grew up fifteen minutes away from Florence, Kentucky, so it seems like destiny that I’m now studying abroad in the Italian city of the same name. A junior at Vanderbilt University majoring in mathematics, I plan to get in touch with my ~artsy~ side by living in the city where art transformed the world. Join me in my quest to become a more cultured citizen of our planet, and take part in my side-quest to stave off the Florence 15 while still enjoying plenty of wine, pasta, and gelato. Andiamo!
Sienna Willis, CET Prague
Smith College ’19
Hi! I’m Sienna Willis and I am a government major at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. I am New England born and raised, but I’m excited to explore a new part of the world! After a friend raved to me about her time with CET in Prague, I knew it was an experience I wouldn’t be able to pass up. I’m looking forward to learning more about the rich history of Central Europe and photographing its beautiful sights.
Irena Chiang, CET Photography in Prague
Vanderbilt University ’19
Majors: Secondary Education and English
I’m a little whimsical–an occupational hazard of an aspiring teacher. I love the sound of the ocean, brambleberry ice cream, writing letters, sun showers, and story time. I’m the most loyal paparazzi friend you’ll find, and much more comfortable behind the camera than in front if it. I can fold my tongue into a clover, but can’t snap, whistle, or wink. I love the things in your life that you find ordinary that make my life extraordinary.
Madeline Titus, UW in India
Major: International Studies
My name is Madeline, this will be my second semester in Varanasi, India. I am a junior at American University, majoring in international studies, with a focus in South Asia. I’ve really enjoyed the fall semester in Varanasi and can’t wait for the adventures that the spring will hold (I still haven’t tried McDonalds in India, but I’ve heard the McVeggie is great)! In my free time, I enjoy watching Bollywood movies with my host sister, trying new street food, and exploring the city.
Elena Sinagra, CET Siena
Sarah Lawrence College ’19
Major: History and Environmental Studies
My name is Elena Sinagra and I am a junior at Sarah Lawrence College. I study History and Environmental Studies. I have had a long interest in Italian Culture and History and Siena seemed like such a perfect city to study in. I look forward to seeing Italy’s museums and cultural sights through out the year!
Yousra Chaabane, CET Jordan: Intensive Language
Franklin & Marshall College ’19
My name is Yousra Chaabane and I am a Junior at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I am an international student from the Netherlands and I am currently pursuing a government major and an Arabic minor. When I have a bit of free time I love to explore different cities, travel as much as possible, and discover a new place to get good coffee.
Sam Simond, CET Taiwan
Connecticut College ’19
Major: Film Studies
Minors: East Asian Studies and Religious Studies
I believe that stories are an important and necessary agent of cultural change, which is why I have decided to study film theory and production at Connecticut College. I am a junior Film Studies major and double minor in East Asian Studies (concentration in Chinese) and Religious Studies. For my senior thesis, I am producing a film with the Tao people of Lanyu island in Taiwan. I’m excited to improve my ability to communicate with friends on Lanyu through studies with CET, while also having the opportunity to share stories and experiences as a student correspondent!
Lauren Hamrick, CET Photography in Prague
Vanderbilt University ’19
Major: Communication Studies
Hey, my name is Lauren! I’m a Nashville native who loves to travel. I’m excited to document my day-to-day for all of you. As an aspiring photojournalist, I seek to tell the story of my FAMU spring semester from the perspective of an American who’s insatiably curious and always inspired.
Jolie Lau, CET Beijing
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ’20
Majors: Chinese and Pre-Health Policy and Management
I chose CET Beijing because I want to become more open-minded, globally aware and connected to my heritage. I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the States, and through this program, I hope to achieve trilingualism in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
As a Pre-Health Policy and Management major, I hope to return to East Asia someday and bridge the gaps between those with and without healthcare. Attaining a level of fluency advanced enough for a workplace setting would help greatly!
Cecilia Pou Jové, CET Jordan: Intensive Language
Williams College ’19
Major: Comparative Literature and Arabic Studies
Minor: Latino/a Studies
Hi, everyone! My name is Cecilia Pou Jové and I am a Comparative Literature and Arabic Studies major with a minor in Latino/a Studies at Williams College. After the events occurred in my home country of Puerto Rico, I hope to find points of understanding with other colonized people. When I have free time, I love cooking, make up, and dj-ing.
Subin Cho, Middlebury School in China (MIC) in Beijing
Middlebury College ‘ 19
Major: International and Global Studies(IGS) – East Asian Studies (Japanese)
Greetings from Beijing! My name is Subin Cho, a junior at Middlebury College. I major at international studies with the focus of East Asia, and I love languages and performing arts. Born in Korea but raised in Qingdao for eight years, I came to China again as a grown-up to restore my connection with China. With the challenges of global identities, my core narrative for the writings will be my perspectives as a “returnee” to her home.
I am very glad to have this chance to share my homecoming to China. I hope my narratives could help you get to know about China from where you stand and especially for you who are coming back to reconnect with China just like me. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts and exchanging ideas with many of you! Thank you.
Gaela LaPasta, CET Film Production in Prague
Majors: Classics and Film
Ahoy! My name is Gaela LaPasta and I’m a filmmaker who will be studying in the fairytale land of Prague at my dream-come-true program, the film academy FAMU. I’m really interested in making films that highlight women’s stories and move away from the industry’s focus on white, cis, male main characters. In addition to being a filmmaker, I’m an avid knitter, crafter, watercolor artist, and reader. I am a double major in classics and film with an archaeology minor at Cornell University- quite a handful! I’ve spent the last two summers in Italy and Cyprus working on archaeological digs. I’m curious and interested in nearly everything and I can’t wait to explore Prague. If you follow my blog, I promise I’ll bring you around for the ride and share all the vegetarian food and the weird little, artsy nooks of the city in poetry, prose, watercolor, film, selfies, and whatever means I need to use to give you a window into my experience.