Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Student's Perspective-Matthew in Fiji

This week we have a student's perspective from Matt. Matt studied abroad this past Spring 2014 for the semester. Matt chose to take his journey with Education Abroad in Fiji and if it doesn't just look and sound absolutely amazing. I hope you enjoy reading about Matt's time in Fiji!
My name is Matthew Grieser, I am one of the Education Abroad Ambassadors for the Education Abroad Office located on campus. While studying in Platteville can be fun and all, studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures and yourself as a person along with some new interests. I studied abroad in Fiji in spring of 2014 and it was the best decision I made while going to college.
Traveling to an exotic location for vacation is always great, but studying abroad is so much more.
If you spend a semester abroad you are able to live in a foreign country for five months. This opens
opportunities that would never be available to people just on vacation. Some of these opportunities
include staying in rural villages with locals and really learning their culture and traditions, learning some of the local language, and be considered a local yourself. There are so many things to do in Fiji! I’m a biology major and while I was there I was able to study Marine Science courses and take field trips out to island reefs and learn about marine life which is very difficult to do in Wisconsin. I was also able to go zip-lining for the first time, climb several mountains and go on some amazing scuba dives! Along with all of this there are many more awesome things to do in and around Fiji, who doesn’t like sitting on a beach at a resort for the day!
School at USP is similar to school at Platteville. There’s block scheduling with some science
courses having labs and every class having a tutorial; which is a class where you go over things you talk about in lecture. Classes meet two to three times a week, plus lab and tutorial if you have them. The campus is located in Suva which is the capital of Fiji, however it’s not right downtown so it feels like you are away from the big city. Although it is very easy to hop on a bus or in a taxi and get downtown in five minutes where there is an abundance of restaurants and shopping centers. Studying abroad for a whole semester can sound intimidating; however it can open you up to so many other opportunities for the future and make you learn so much about yourself as a person that if you have the chance it is hard to say no. For me personally, studying abroad was the best decision I ever made, it gave me great opportunities, it showed me what direction I wanted to take in life and it opened me up more as a person, changing me for the better as a result. If you study abroad you won’t regret it, and hey, you might even have a little fun too!
If you desire more information about Fiji or just studying abroad in general feel free to drop by
the Education Abroad Office in Royce Hall and talk with myself or many other people working in the
office, they are a great resource for information! My office hours are Mondays from 2:00 to 3:00 and Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30.


Matthew Grieser
Education Abroad Ambassador
University of Wisconsin - Platteville

You can tell from reading what Matt wrote above that he really had his life changed by Education Abroad and made some lifelong friends along the way. The Fiji program Matt went on is one of UW-Platteville's main six programs and it is becoming increasingly popular. I'm sure Matt has plenty more to talk about from his time spent on this program, so feel free to come in, see Matt and hear a little more about Fiji!

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