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From Mexico to Poland: A Student’s Transcontinental Adventures

By UNCG Study Abroad student, Michael Shannon

Spending a semester abroad in Monterrey, México is one of the greatest experiences anyone can have, and being able to follow it up with a semester in Wroclaw, Poland is something I never could have dreamed would turn out this well! Last semester I found myself in the wonderfully warm desert, a place I had never been to before. Sure it is warm in North Carolina, but stepping off the plane on my first day and breathing in the 107 degree heat was an experience all its own and one I can honestly say I am missing. Especially as I find myself, this semester, with a major change of scenery - the icy cold.

During fall semester, I spent Mexican Independence Day in warm Guanajuato with a group of exchange students. It was the most wonderful celebration I have ever had: from the fireworks and the children spraying shaving cream everywhere to dancing right alongside of a mariachi band, as we danced through the streets with our GIANT sombreros. Every moment was something exciting. I toured old medieval buildings from the Spanish Conquest, and even stood on top of the statue of Pipila. (Which was promptly followed by stern looks from the guards). The loads of tacos, screaming the “Grito”, and Michael Shannon (far right) and friends in sunny Mexico dancing the night away no matter where we found ourselves, made for an experience that all of the exchange students were talking about for months to come. And one I will remember for the rest of my life.

This semester, however, I have experienced a different course of events. I have gone mountain climbing and hiking up mountains of snow. I even had a really interesting weekend on an international student trip I went on. We all went up to this mountain, which was a three and a half hour hike with all our stuff up to an alcove, where we hung out in a mountain cabin for a weekend. It was good times all around. We hiked up to the top of a real mountain, sled off the roof of our cabin (since the snow was so high it went past the roof in some spots). At night we’d spend time together in a main lobby room drinking warm beverages and

Michael (far right) adjusts to the climate in Poland

talking and dancing till we all fell asleep. Everyday there was an adventure: from the snow deeper than me to the avalanches we could see down the mountain.

Overall, I have had a lot of adventures between México and here in Poland. I have been to the typical desert regions of México with cacti to the white, sand-filled beaches with the bluest of water; I have seen Poland covered with snow, and in the warmer 50 degree weather, Prague and even Paris. And now that the weather is warming up, I am hoping there will be many more adventures to come.

INTERLINK Students Engage in Community Service

Submitted by David Parsons, Director INTERLINK Language Center/UNCG

INTERLINK students combined learning about therapeutic use of animals with manual "volunteer" work at the Kopper Top Center farm near Julian, N.C. Students had an opportunity to see dozens of cats and dogs interacting harmoniously, along with horses, goats, ducks, chickens, etc., and to learn how the center works with individuals with and without disabilities. The Center is relocating, and INTERLINK students helped to move heavy lumber and fence sections, and clean up in preparation for its "re-opening".

INTERLINK students from left to right: Mehmet Donmez (Turkey); Theophile Tamini (Burkina Faso); Yen Han Chu (Taiwan); Sofiane Hamani (Niger)

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