Welcome to the Pitt SAO blog! Whether you still need to be sold on study abroad, you're already planning your trip, or you're back home and want to make sure you get the most of your experience, there's something here for everyone! To submit a post to be published on our blog and social media platforms, click here.


Friday, March 8, 2019 - 12:57

Tips for Navigating India’s Bustling Cities
Submitted by Anisha Mallik

India is the world’s second most populous country, so it’s not surprising that traveling through it can be somewhat startling, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect. Between the crowded streets, the crazy heat, and the different type of traffic, the bustling cities of India can prove challenging for even the most experienced of travelers. However, that’s not to say that India should be avoided. For those who want an experience that is totally different from what one would find in the West, India is an amazing place to travel to. Between its rich history, diverse cultures, plethora of languages, and exquisite food, India has something for everyone. What follows is a list of tips that will be handy for the adventurous traveler who wants to experience the beauty of India:

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 13:17

"But is it safe?" Studying Abroad in Israel
Submitted by Bethany Krupicka

Every time you tell someone you plan on studying abroad in the Middle East, they’re going to ask you the same question-- “But is it safe?” Let’s be honest, the only things Americans really know about the Middle East comes from the news. For most people, the region sparks images of deserts and camels, but mostly terrorists and violence. While you can find all of those things here, they don’t define the region.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 10:19

Becoming a Confident Traveler in Santiago, Chile
Submitted by Julia Heller

I would like to preface this story by saying that I am not a public transportation snob (i.e. I don’t avoid cost-effective transportation for the sake of luxury) and I rather enjoy the thrill of hopping on and off trains, subways, buses, etc.

However, because of my experience of public transportation in Santiago, Chile, I can now appreciate even New York City’s public transit system, as they at least respect the idea of “rush hour” – designated hours where there’s barely enough air to breathe on public transportation. Regardless of the time of day, there are ALWAYS thousands of people cramming on and rushing off of metros and buses in Santiago. The first day I rode the metro, I couldn’t believe how many people came flooding out at my

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 11:11

Outside the Classroom Learning in Ireland
Submitted by Anisha Mallik

A fulfilling study abroad program is made up of lots of different components – and some of the most important go beyond the classroom. For example, a big part of my study abroad experience was the service-learning project I participated in for five weeks in Dublin, Ireland, through the Global Diversity Program. Based on my experience and academic background, I was placed into a volunteer-run organization called Fighting Words. Fighting Words is a center for children, young adults, and adults with special needs to receive mentoring, help with skills development, and tutoring in creative writing.

Along with one of my fellow Global Diversity classmates, I served as a writing tutor for children. We would go to the center two to three times a

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 11:27

Lessons and Languages Learned in Germany
Submitted by Melanie Malsch

Since many students go abroad for language immersion, I wanted to share my rather unique experience and some of the lessons I learned along the way. When I studied abroad, I was able to practice two languages in addition to the German I went to Berlin to study. How, you may ask? Well, the full story requires a bit more explanation...

At the beginning of my freshman year, my parents were assigned to a two-year job post in Central Asia. Since I wanted to be a part of their overseas experience while still staying on my academic track, I decided to study abroad in Europe for a full academic year. Before this I’d only ever taken Spanish, and my plan had always been to study in a Spanish-speaking country for the spring of my junior year. However

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 09:51

I Left My Heart in Greece
Submitted by Anisha Mallik

On my program last semester, I had the opportunity to live and study in three different countries. We started out in Greece, then went on to the Czech Republic, and ended in Ireland. When I speak about my time abroad, I am often asked which country was my favorite. Although every country had its own unique experiences to offer, my answer has consistently been Greece. I fell in love with the beauty of Paros, and was further enamored by the people I met in Athens.

We spent the first two weeks of the program on the Greek island of Paros. It was a beautiful and homey place to begin our semester abroad, and a great way to get to know the other students on the program. We went on hikes and excursions to nearby islands. My favorite one was when we hiked up the cliffs on

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 12:49

Day 1 in Spain: It’s Not All Glamorous
Submitted by Hailey Wattman

When people talk about their study abroad experience, they often describe it as the absolute best time ever - but it’s important to remember that studying abroad is not all glamorous. Travelling is often awkward and hard, but it’s empowering to embrace these moments and realize that they make your experience all the more real. I distinctly remember one moment from the night before my flight to Spain, squatting next to my overweight suitcase and staring at its one broken wheel. “This will be fine,” I thought to myself.

It was not fine. It turns out, luggage feels a lot heavier when you’re dragging it instead of rolling it - especially when the other wheels break in the airport. Fast-forward to an indistinct number of hours later, and there I was -

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 12:41

Intern Spotlight: Meet Melanie Malsch!

Hallo! I’m Melanie, I’m a junior at Pitt. I’m double majoring in International and Area Studies and Environmental Studies and minoring in German. There’s no better place to learn about all three of these topics than Berlin, so I spent my entire sophomore year there taking courses in European foreign affairs, energy policy, and intensive German. I took seminar-style classes at Freie Universität Berlin through their European Studies (FUBEST) program taught by German professors.

One of my favorite parts of the program was how strongly FUBEST stressed the importance of cultural/outside-the-classroom learning by providing several levels of excursions. We took German class field trips frequently, participated in at least one Friday excursion each week, and embarked on a weeklong trip halfway through the semester. Listing the all the course

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 12:04

Intern spotlight: Meet Hailey Wattman!

Hi! My name is Hailey and I am a senior here at Pitt, originally from the west Philadelphia suburbs. I am pursuing a double major in Communication Rhetoric and Spanish with a Global Studies Certificate. My first abroad experience was early in my academic career - I studied in Havana, Cuba the summer after my freshman year of college through the Pitt in Cuba program. I studied Spanish Language, Cuban Culture, and Latin American Cinema at La Universidad de La Habana entirely in Spanish, with few English-speaking students around. It was truly a unique and challenging experience.

After coming back to the United States, I knew that just one 6-week program wasn’t enough. In the winter of my junior year, I packed my bags for an entire Spring semester in Madrid, Spain. By participating on a Pitt-Recognized Program, ISA Madrid, I was able to meet

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 11:24

Intern Spotlight: Meet Anisha Mallik!

Hi everyone! I’m Anisha and I am a junior this year. I’m from the Scranton area, and I am studying Politics-Philosophy and Economics. Last year, I had the awesome opportunity to study abroad for the entire Spring semester. I was a part of the very first cohort for the Global Diversity Program. We spent five weeks each in Greece, the Czech Republic, and Ireland! We were in the island of Paros for two weeks, and then we spent three weeks in Athens. We then traveled to Prague and Dublin. It was a very unique program that allowed us to view Europe in many different lights. Since it was a Panther Program, I traveled with other Pitt students, as well as with a Pitt faculty member. He taught us a course on Race and Ethnicity in a Global Perspective, as well as one in Gender Equality in Europe. We took those two courses through all three countries, as well as one country-specific course taught by local faculty in each place. In Greece, we took a