UMD: A Globally Connected University

Fareeha Quaiyum

Program: UMD-Summer: Cuba (FMSC) 
Term: Summerterm 2018
Major: Public Health Science

My study abroad experience has taught me that I am able to adapt and get comfortable even when I am put it in uncomfortable situations. There was also no wifi or internet in Cuba. I thought I would go insane without using my phone for 10 days. I found myself paying closer attention to things around me after I was not able to plug myself into electronics. It was refreshing to live in a world without technology for a while. I learned a little bit of Spanish along the way since my host mom did not speak any English. I had to pay close attention to her body language which gave me clues to what she was trying to convey. My host mom treated my roommate and I like we were her own daughters. I was far from home but I felt as if I quickly made a new one.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: I would definitely grab the chance as soon as you can. It really is a remarkable experience that you just can’t explore while living in the states. Observing different cultures helps you to practice being more open minded. It's a skill we all need to have. I would also make sure to pack medicine that may not be available to purchase overseas (incase you have an emergency).

My most memorable experience living abroad was meeting my host mom. I had a few personal issues with my digestion while on my trip. Every night she would come to check up on me and would have me try out her home remedies for my stomach. She was so worried about me, I could tell. Her remedies seemed to work around day six. My body felt so much better with her help.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: ​ There are always ways to help fund your trip. Don’t think it’s impossible. There are people who want you to go on that trip and will help you make that happen. 

Where I traveled, we did not have wifi to just call back home. My parents were terribly nervous since I was not able to reach them until the 5th or 6th day. There were small wifi parks that were available but my phone was never able to connect. If I desperately needed to reach my parents, I asked my friend if I could use her functional wifi card for a minute or two. My classmates were more than accommodating. 

 

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