Real Talk: Studying Abroad for a Year

So, as my last blog revealed, I’m studying for a year in Leuven, Belgium.

From the start of the study abroad search process, I knew I wanted to study for a year. I’ve switched schools and neighborhoods a few times in my life, so the idea of getting away for a year didn’t really freak me out. On top of that, I have been able to travel with my family before, so you could say that I’m an amateur version of Anthony Bourdain (with less grey hair).

Before I left for a year, I thought the idea of a year-long program was not only incredible, but practical. I could spend a year really getting immersed into a country’s culture while still having ample time to travel.

I saw all my friends come back from abroad and only wished they could go back, so I thought I’d avoid those feelings all together.

When I got here, my program and the city of Leuven went above and beyond my expectations.


Photo by Hühnerauge |Flickr Creative Commons

I live in a house with 67 other students and have actually made some amazing friendships. We share meals, go out together and spend time laughing and enjoying each others’ company. Every day felt like warm and inviting. I was so excited to come home in the afternoon, because there were always people sitting outside.

It was like my first year at Loyola all over again, constantly meeting new people and always saying yes to new things.

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My Return to Leuven

After spending an entire academic year abroad in Belgium, returning to Loyola was definitely an adjustment, from reuniting with old friends or swiping for meals again.

But, unlike many other Loyola students who study abroad, I was fortunate enough to be able to return to my host country only four months after departing it last June.

The reason for my travel? To visit my long-distance boyfriend, who I met during my studies in Leuven and who is currently still living in Belgium.

I was only able to stay in the land of waffles and chocolate for about five days—but I was able to rediscover the magic I once knew there, as well as find new treasures in this hidden gem of Europe…


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Greetings, all! My name is Vitaliy Nikolaenko. I am sophomore commuter student at Loyola University Maryland. Currently, I am a B.A. candidate in economics and history, a blogger for A Hound’s Life, and a contributing columnist at The Greyhound.

Born and raised in Eastern Ukraine, in the city of Kharkov, I was a boy whose fate was uncertain and whose future established great doubts. 

Years later, I would be sitting before a screen illuminating a dark, dusty study composing a brief introduction about my life’s journey as it occurred (or perhaps, describing the experiences in a more vivid, exaggerated fashion)…  

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A special place

Hello everyone! My name is Katie. I am a communication major specializing in digital media and minoring in political science.

Unfortunately this will be my last year of writing for A Hound’s Life, because I will be graduating in May with the class of 2017!

I grew up in New Jersey (yes, we have the best bagels in the world; no, I do not pump my own gas; and yes, the Statue of Liberty is in fact considered to be Jersey territory). It does not get much better than Jersey for me, but I do have great love for Charm City and the people I have met here. 

Loyola is a very special place with very special people who I will treasure this year and look back on fondly for years to come.


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Who am I?

Hello, Hounds! My name is Victoria, and I’m a sophomore speech-language hearing science major from Naples, Fla.


I knew I wanted to come to Loyola when I was 8 years old. Both of my older sisters are alumni, so I had been to my fair share of move-ins, family weekends, and lacrosse games before I even enrolled as a first-year last fall.

It’s almost a family tradition at this point; we are Greyhounds at heart.

In my short time here, Loyola has led me to my passion, allowed me to find my niche on campus, and has given me the resources to pursue the things I truly love.

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A New Direction

A little over a year ago, I was merely a high school student with no clue where my life fam-visitwould take me—aside from leaving my small, peninsular town on Long Island. Today I know who I am and what direction my life is going in.

My name is Alyson Forgione, and I’m a sophomore at Loyola. I’m an elementary education major with a minor in special education. I wrote for this blog last year, and am excited to see what this year brings…

Even now, with three years still remaining of my college career, I know the direction I want the rest of my life to head in; I want to be a second grade teacher.

A teacher who someday influences others the way my own teachers influenced me.

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Jumping into Junior Year

Hey, everyone! My name is Kelly, and I’m a junior classics/history double major from Cleveland, Ohio.

(Everyone: “Hi, Kelly!”)


I’ve gotten that sentence down-pat because I’m an Evergreen (Orientation Leader) here at Loyola, which means I’m very used to giving people a quick summary of my life.

(If you were wondering, my fun facts are that I can whistle through my tongue and that I know more about figs than most people care to. Side note: This is what happens when you’re a Classics Major. You pick up a bunch of “useless” information.)

What do Evergreens do, exactly? Well, in addition to helping plan and run Summer Orientation and Fall Welcome Weekend for new students and their parents, I help my group of first-year students at our weekly Enrichment Sessions, where we talk about ideas such as diversity and justice while also addressing common issues for new college students, like time management and homesickness.

I love being an Evergreen because I love being able to help new students find their way here and helping them to see why I love Loyola so much.

The beauty of Loyola is that it’s a small, liberal arts school in the Jesuit Tradition, where the people who work here are in your corner, and will push you as much as they support you. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

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New Kid on the Blog

Hi fellow, future, and former Greyhounds!

My name is Tim Attolino, and I’m a new blogger this year.

A little about me: I am a senior political science major/public relations minor from the lovely shoreline town of Milford, Connecticut. I was lucky enough to spend the spring semester of my junior year in Auckland, New Zealand. 

You may have seen me around campus in my usual spots around campus: at the round tables by Starbucks, the front row in Reitz Arena, or in the stands at Ridley Athletic Complex, wearing a backwards hat at all times.


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Halo from across the pond!

Halo from across the pond!

I’m Juliana and I’m a junior at Loyola. My major is global studies and my minor is sociology. I’m really interested in human rights, justice, conflict, and my dream job would be to working at the International Criminal Court, or really anything that keeps me moving around the world…

Which is why, as much as I love my studies and my life at Loyola, I’ve said goodbye for this year. I’m actually writing from Leuven, Belgium, where I am spending the year studying at KU Leuven.

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