Hi everyone! Over winter break, honors student Olga Pou-Felix traveled to Nicaragua on a study tour focusing on the geography of coffee. Read the interview below to find out about Olga’s adventures abroad! Thanks Olga!
Major, Year, & Fun Fact? Spanish – Secondary Education Concentration, Geography minor, freshman, Fun Fact: I’ve been to seven countries (but would like to go to WAY more places!)
Where did you study abroad? How long? I went on the Nicaragua study tour for two weeks (January 2nd-16th) with Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan.
What interested you in this study abroad program? Professor James is really passionate about the fair trade coffee industry and he would mention it in class (Olga was in Dr. Hayes-Bohanan’s Honors First Year Seminar: Geography of Brockton last semester). Just hearing about his experiences made me want to experience them as well. Also, I am a travel enthusiast and just love adventure!
What is your favorite memory from your trip abroad? My favorite memory was probably hiking up to a waterfall, Peñas Blancas. The view was breathtaking.
What surprised you most about your time abroad? I was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality that I found in our homestays. It’s one thing to be in someone else’s country but another thing to be in their home. When you’re in their homes they work as hard as they can to make you feel like you’re at home, which was something that I did not expect but really appreciated.
How has your study abroad experience benefited you? I have not only reached a new level of gratitude for what I have, but the trip has made me more aware of my purchases and how I am spending my money. Going there made me want to be more aware of what I am investing my money into and the chain effect of my spending.
What is the biggest life lesson you learned while studying abroad? In general, not only in coffee now, I realize that there is someone out there who is working for everything that I am buying. As consumers whenever we purchase anything we have to realize that we are investing in something that could be extremely negative, that could be life-threatening to the person making that good, or could be positive and establishing their future and building community development; which is why we need to be educated consumers.
What were some fun things you did during your time abroad? I climbed up a volcano and then sled down it (halfway on the board and halfway on my face – but it was fun!). In general we did a lot of fun hikes and we played games and painted a mural in a human trafficking shelter for children. We played volleyball and soccer with them. Working with the kids was not only fun, but impacting as well.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking of studying abroad? Just do it! You learn not only a lot about another country, but a lot about yourself as well. It opens up your mind to a whole new horizon. There’s a whole world out there and some people don’t even realize it.
Where else would you like to travel to one day? Everywhere! I would like to go somewhere in Asia, I would love to go to Japan one day. I definitely want to keep exploring South and Central America and the Caribbean as well.