Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at

During the Imagine RIT Festival at Rochester Institute of Technology, I visited the Global Village, which is actually a small village with its own post office, marketplace, hair salon, restaurants and housing. The Study Abroad Office is located on the upper level that overlooks the “village square.”

On that first Saturday in May, when the Festival is traditionally held, I had the pleasure of Skyping with students who were spending a quarter at RIT’s sister school in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Having studied abroad myself when the Berlin Wall was about to fall, I had undergone many challenges, including having no Skype or Internet. So my question to them was, “What is the biggest challenge of studying abroad?”

There was silence. I was sure that they were contemplating issues such as language, for even if the classes were held in English, some basics of the local language were needed for such survival activities as shopping and banking.

“There are a lot of stairs,” said one young woman after about a minute.

Stairs? Having never been to Croatia, I had no idea about the construction along the Adriatic coast. That I would learn later from one of the coordinators of the Dubrovnik program.

“I studied in Paris,” was my reply. “And the old buildings had no elevators, so I had to climb up six floors on a spiral staircase daily, not to mention the endless stairwells in the metro stations. So yes, I relate to the stairs!”

Judging from the hilly-to-mountainous landscape captured by a student blogger below, I now see how and why I was able to bond with students over Skype on the topic of stair-climbing!


Hillside Park drawn by artist/blogger Bob. See more of his and other students’ artwork here:

To learn more about students’ experiences in Croatia, click on the following link: