Alina’s pre-departure letter

Dear Alina,

Get ready to embark on the most exciting and life changing adventure of your life. After this semester, you will be more independent, worldly, and mature. You don’t have any preconceived notions or stereotypes about the country, so go in with an open mind and learn as much as you can!

Rotterdam: One Week In


After one week in Rotterdam, my fellow McIntire students and I are beginning to adjust to the challenges of the Netherlands and get settled in. When we first landed, however, we experienced a number of different challenges and unexpected changes that we had to work through and around.

When we first arrived, my roommate Ryan and I called our landlord to move in. Unfortunately, we were told that the check-in time was at 4PM and could not be moved. While I could imagine this happening in the US, it seemed like the Dutch landlord was more likely to adhere to the letter of the move-in rules even for people staying many months. In a similar societal move, people are very punctual and carefully follow the rules for class times, even though most classes are not required attendance.

Hong Kong: Pre-departure letter

Dear Patrick,

In less than two weeks you will be half way around the world. Twelve time zones and thousands of miles of ocean will separate you from your family, your home, and your school. Looking back a few months, applying to the program in Hong Kong was a lot like jumping into a cold swimming pool. You knew it was something you wanted to do, but nerves held you back. As a result, it came to the final hours of the application being open for you to take the leap. Unfamiliarity is often accompanied by discomfort. Your first goal for the spring semester should be to embrace change instead of reverting back to the familiar. Secondly, it will be important for you to develop experience as an outsider and to adapt to different cultural norms. Lastly, you will want to develop your language skills so as to not be disconnected from all non-English speaking people.

1. Pre-Departure Blog Entry – A letter to myself:

Dear Matt,

Although I am still almost two weeks away from departing for my study abroad experience, I am counting down the days to begin this exciting and unique experience. I am taken aback by how different this semester will be compared to both all my semesters at UVA and my current daily life at home. Even though I am somewhat intimidated, I know that I am prepared to take on this incredible opportunity. I think it is important to reflect on my goals, concerns, and other thoughts about this trip before departure. Hopefully in doing this, I can better plan for my study aboard experience and gain more perspective on my expectations.

Blog Post 1: Pre-Departure Letter to Myself (Milan)

Dear Allexa,

Only two weeks until you begin your semester abroad in Milan! You have been looking forward to this experience since First Year and it’s finally almost here. Though you will surely miss your friends, family, and UVA, be sure to take in as much as possible during this once in a lifetime opportunity.

London: Letter to Myself

Hey Jason,

Before you depart for the great city of London, I just want to take a look forward into the next couple of months, where hopefully you will grow in both expected and unexpected ways. I’ve never been to London, but I know it’s a passionate city full of diverse cultures and a long, prolific history. And while you at least are fluent in English, I know I have no idea what to expect really from the many different aspects of British culture. However, knowing very little, I don’t really have any preconceived notions about the country except that they dress really well, so I’ll have to step up accordingly! One big thing I’m excited about is the passion behind soccer, or football as they say over there, as I grew up playing the sport throughout high school. Other than that, I have three big goals for Spring Semester 2018:

Blog 1: Lizzy Forward headed to Milan

Dear Lizzy,

I can’t believe you will be in Milan in less than a week. I’m very excited for you to embark on this great opportunity and adventure to explore global business, a new country, and make new friends.

My goals for the semester include:

  1. Gaining a deeper understanding of globalization and global socio-economic issues that can further advance my business acumen.
  2. Capitalize on the broad range of experiences and backgrounds among my peers to bring added value to my courses.
  3. Make friends with non-UVA exchange students and local Italians to gain new perspectives.

Pre-Departure Letter to Perry Griffith – ESADE, Barcelona


You are certainly excited to set off on your journey to Barcelona, Spain. You’ve travelled to Europe before, but only to two cities, have worked with villagers in Central America, but with a close friend at your side, and have dove the trenches of Grand Cayman and surfed the shorelines of Nicaragua, but for only a brief while. The privilege of travel has taken you to many locations in such a short amount of time, but not to a place so foreign to or for a duration of time so unexperienced by yourself.

Pre-departure Letter to David (HEC Paris)

Dear David,

I know that you’ve been dreaming about living in Paris since you were in high school and took a French class for the first time. This study abroad opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I know that you will make the most of it. This is going to be your first time abroad by yourself for such an extended amount of time, and I know that its going to be both terrifying and exhilarating. Thus, to keep in mind what I to achieve in this semester abroad, I’ve listed out my goals for the upcoming semester below:

Milan: Pre-Departure Reflections Before My Journey

Dear Hannah,

As I prepare to leave for Milan, Italy in less than two days, I am both excited and scared. One of my studying abroad goals is to immerse myself as much as possible in the Italian culture. I am eager to explore the cities in Italy as well as Italy’s neighboring countries. My biggest reason for choosing Italy was for its history and architecture. Another one of my goals is to take this extraordinary opportunity to interact with as many international students as possible. Since Bocconi University is a school with many exchange students, I plan to join some extracurricular organizations to meet students from differing backgrounds. My third and most important goal is to learn more about how businesses operate in Europe. I am curious about how the laws in the EU and U.S. shape different business landscapes. I also want to learn about the European economy from its source since I wish to enter into the Sales and Trading world. Additionally, I am interested in working outside of the United States in the future. Therefore, having some prior knowledge about both the culture and the business field will help me tremendously.