ExplOregon: Life is Out There!

ExplOregon is a great way to meet new people, explore Oregon, and participate in fun activities! Be sure to join in on some of the fun! There are so many adventures to go on and so many people to meet! Get out there and get involved! Check out our Get Involved Page to learn about other opportunities on campus. There is always something fun going on!

Check out upcoming activities and learn more about ExplOregon right here on their blog

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Students hiked the famous Skinner’s Butte this past September! Right after a fun hike, they explored the 5th Street Market right here in Eugene!

 

 

 

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ExplOregon visited Lone Pines Farm here in Eugene Oregon! After picking out the perfect pumpkin, students carved their pumpkins for the true Halloween Spirit!

 

 

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Students tested out their skills at solving puzzles and critical thinking to escape the Trapdoor! Trapped in a room with different clues, they had to discover the way out while working together! Think you have the skills to do it? Join us next year!

 

 

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Love Marine Life and the Ocean? This year, students got a chance to check out the beautiful Oregon Coast and see some Marine Life on the Sea Life Cruise and Oregon Coast Aquarium! When on the coast, don’t forget a jacket! It can be a bit cold!

 

 

 

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Tag you’re it! Everyone got to play a friendly game of Laser Tag! Not sure what that is? Come try it out the next time ExplOregon goes and join in on the fun!

 

 

 

 

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Let’s get active and go ice skating! Bring your coat and mittens, and let’s skate away! ExplOregon goes on ice skating trips that you don’t want to miss out on!

 

 

 

 

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Jump high and reach for the sky! Ever wanted to be in a room full of trampolines? Do you love jumping into a sea of soft spongy foam? Join us the next time we go to11050203_1683711205184948_2099120160595334308_o Get Air in Eugene!

 

 

 

 

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Hop in! The water was great in this awesome raft! Come raft with us on our next adventure! Interested in more outdoor adventures? Check out the Outdoor Program and ExplOregon for more events!

My UO Life: A Blogpost by a Current Exchange Student

Rei Suzuki is a current exchange student at UO from Waseda University in Japan.rei 3

As an exchange student, I have really enjoyed the Duck life at UO. Time passed very fast, I can’t imagine it has been almost 8 months since I came here to Eugene. Studying, chatting with friends, playing rugby, drinking and staying with my host family are all the elements making my study abroad program a memorable rei 1one. I want to introduce what my UO life is like: mainly about club sports!

rei 4September 15, 2015 was the day all exchange students from my home university came to UO. After 2 weeks of orientation for international students, my first term started. The first term was really challenging for me because adjusting to the environment here took much more time than I expected. The reason was that I belonged to the rugby club, so I have not only to study, but also spend time on practice after classes and almost every weekend for games. It was super hard in the first 2 months but, on the other hand, it gave me huge opportunities to make a lot of friends and to have great experiences going to California, Washington and Idaho for games to represent the UO. We went to all of the states stated above in vans, depending on where we were going, on average taking 6 or 7 hours.

On the way to the cities stated above, I used them to increase my slang vocabulary. Owing to the travel time, I was able to gain English skills in active conversation. In my opinion, school English is totally different from casual English. From that perspective, joining a club or any organization outside of your classes is really important. As a senior exchange student, I want to leave advice for future exchange students that you should join any club activity or community. It will make your program fruitful.

If you are interested in UO rugby club, here is the link. http://blogs.uoregon.edu/rugbymen/team-info/

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Studying, Working, and Volunteering During my Exchange Year: A Blogpost by a Current Exchange Student

Lisa Maier is a current Exchange student from Germany, studying Art History and Cultural Anthropology. Besides her studies, she works at a student volunteer at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Before I came to the University of Oregon, I did not know what to expect from American college life. When I arrived in Eugene, the enthusiasm about a whole college year lying ahead of us was a great feeling, although we had to figure out a lot – so many things were new. A new country and university, new people, and a new apartment with new roommates. I was not the only international student who realized that the feeling of vacation is going to end soonand that we will find ourselves in an everyday life routine for the next 10 months. With everyday life comes the reality – in particular realizing that life is going to be more expensive than we have all thought. The rent is one thing, but I was surprised about the prices at the grocery store. Compared to Germany, it is a lot more. In addition, all the textbooks, and some of the student fees we have to pay ourselves. I thought I should better get a job to get along the next 10 months, because I also wanted to travel around Oregon and the country.

During one of the events at the International Student Orientation, I spoke to people from the UO Career Center and they told me about a list with all the student jobs on campus. I was hoping that there might be some jobs that are related to my studies in art history and cultural anthropology, as there are two museums on campus. However, a first look on this particular list on their website was not what I expected. I have no work study, which was required for most of the jobs, and I did not have a resume. I was also intimidated by the requirements and worried that my English might not be good enough compared to the Americans who would apply for this job.lisa hiking

At one of the International Student Orientation events I saw a former American exchange student, who I had met in Germany when he was on his exchange. We talked a bit and I told him that I was looking for a job. Unexpectedly, he told me about a friend who is working at the admission desk of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on campus. I dropped off my application two days later. With the help of my roommate, I also figured out what a resu
me should look like. After the job interview, I was offered a job! However, I could not get paid because I don’t have work study. Although my main intention for applying was to earn money, I quit my search for a paid job and accepted the volunteer position. I believed it was more important to have the opportunity to gain experience in a field I am really interested in for the future.

I started working there the second week of school, for one shift a week which turned out to be a nice complement to my classes and studying. As you directly communicate with the museum visitors, it was challenging and a totally different experience than school life. And of course, everyone asked me where am I from, because of my accent. This is one of the things you cannot avoid and get used to. Over the time I became more self-confident in speaking with the visitors, along with getting to know all the different aspects of the work. Thinking back to these early weeks, I realize how this does not worry me at all any more. What I like in this job is that I am meeting people outside of the college world; the citizens of Eugene and visitors to the town.

Recently, my boss asked me if I was interested in volunteering in the collection department of the museum. They were not looking for anyone, but she thought it would be interesting for me as an Art History student. After a talk with the collections manager, I became a volunteer at the collection. Since November, I work 6-8 hours each week in the museum’s basement. I get to decide my own schedule, and can pick projects that interest me.lisa

I am very pleased with and thankful for the openness of the people in the museum who made it possible that my exchange year became enriched by this work, besides studying and living here. Especially when you study Art History, it is important to gain work experience during your studies and improve your resume. But most importantly, I enjoy the work in the collection and the different projects I am involved in. It is different from all the readings and papers we have to deal with, although it takes a lot of my free time. Eventually, after two terms of volunteering at the admission desk, I now get paid for my work.

There are many possibilities to get involved in work areas one might be interested in for the future, but which are not advertised. I was lucky that I spoke to the right person at the right time and that I had people who helped make things possible for me. Students should keep an eye open for possibilities to speak to people or departments whose work we are interested in (just email someone for an informative interview!), to talk to people about working or volunteering to gain experiences. This is what I have learnt from this whole story I told here. I am not sure if things work the same in Germany or other countries, but as I have seen how it works in Eugene, it can work all over the world. We should not be shy but try everything, we want to. If it does not work out, at least we have tried! It is up to us to make the best out of this moment, this year and our life.

Rock-Climbing, Waterfall-Sighting and Exploring Oregon: A Blog Post by a Current Exchange Student

Angel Lomeli Ramos is a current exchange student at the University of Oregon. He studies computer science and mathematics, and his exchange program began in January 2016.

I’m Angel, an exchange student from Mexico, and during my time in Eugene I have been trying to get involved in the activities the UO offers. Along with my 12698191_1712809958941739_3814909051848083797_o
undergraduate classes, I have attended the exchange coffee hours with Hilary and Paolo, the International Sudents Association coffee hours, Language Circles at the UO Mills Center, German Club sessions, bouldering (rock-climbing) classes at the Campus Gym, and ExplOregon trips around Eugene, and I have had a lot of fun in each one of these activities.

A few weeks ago, we went on an ExplOregon hiking trip to Silver Falls. We first met at the student gym and took a 2 hour bus ride all the way to the Silver Falls State Park. When we arrived, we received a small lunch pack and heard a bit about the history of the park from one of the guides. We then followed the ‘Trail of Ten Falls’ which weaves through the dense
forest and comes across ten different waterfalls. IMG_2739The beautiful scenery, the fresh natural air, and the amazing weather made of the trip a wonderful experience. The highest waterfall measured about 175 feet and we were able to walk behind some of them.  The guide mentioned he likes to walk the trail in different times of the year, since it changes depending on the season. There are some water streams that are dry during the summer or frozen early in winter, making it a different tour every time even for him.

After the long hike, we had a delicious meal and talked with the new friends we had made. Most of them were international students as well! More than one fell asleep on our way back. I am glad I went on th12711135_1712812158941519_3530687173637745632_ois awesome trip and will definitely consider on going to next ExplOregon trips. I think It is the best way to know Oregon and make new friends.

 

Joining the Taiwanese Student Association: A Blog Post by A Current Exchange Student

Naomi Chen is a current exchange student at the University of Oregon. She has been studying at UO since Fall Term 2015 and is very involved in campus activities.

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Before I came here, I contacted my schoolmate Connie who also came to U of O as an exchange student. It was the first time I went to America so there were a lot of things I didn’t know. We tried to search for a lot of information before we came here. We found that there is a TWSA group on Facebook. We were so excited and they had the orientation in August.

Before the orientation, I encountered the rental contract problem. I e-mailed the Duck Village’s leasing office; they always ignored my question and did not reply to me for almost half a month. I was really worried. I messaged Linda who is the president of TWSA. She told me how to solve the problem and gave me many suggestions. It felt heart-warming.

During the TWSA orientation, we got one brochure that included a lot of traffic, food, market and school information. It helped me a lot and made me not so anxious. I really appreciated that TWSA made a lot of efforts for the new students. If you had any problem, you could just post your problem on the TWSA Facebook club page. There were a lot of schoolmates who were willing to answer your questions. It was really nice.naomi3

Because I accepted so much help from TWSA, I hope I can give them some feedback. At the BBQ event, I invited many friends to come and promote our event at the table. During Taiwan Night, I knew lots of committees were too busy to finish their work. I helped them to make some banners and thought about some attracting articles to appeal mornaomi1e people to come to Taiwan Night. We posted the article on Facebook and the Wechat channel. We faced some problems because our article has the national flag of Taiwan. Some of the Chinese students are really sensitive about politics; they asked Oregon life association, who helped us promote our event to stop helping TWSA. This is the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. We reported to school and fortunately the school gave us a lot of support. We also sold out our Taiwan Night tickets. Everybody who came to Taiwan Night all had fabulous memories.

naomi2I really like it here because we have a very friendly international office. If you have any problem, they will try to help you as soon as possible. Your advisor also will give you many suggestions. Don’t be shy to ask for help; there are many resources waiting for you. Not only TWSA and the International office, but the International Student Association can help you a lot and give you a lot of fabulous m
emories at the U of O. Enjoy your life and school here and go Ducks!

 

February Exchange Coffee Hour

It’s almost Valentine’s Day here in Eugene and we are feeling the love in the exchange student group. We gathered this week at Marche Cafe for coffee, cookies and conversation. It was a lively discussion, with our exchange students discussing finding on-campus jobs and internships. With summer approaching so soon, lots of students are deciding what their plans will be for summer, whether they are hoping to stay in the US or looking forward to returning home.

Staffmembers Paolo and Hilary are asking that exchange students will contact them with ideas of topics for a workshop series next year. We are hoping to plan some presentations and activities for our new exchanges next fall. If you have an idea of something you would have liked to learn at the beginning of your exchange, please fill out this form and share your feedback with us:

Exchange Survey

Your ideas will improve the exchange experience of our future students and are very much appreciated.

Need an idea for what to do this Valentine’s Day?

Join ExplOregon on their Brewfest adventure

 

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January Exchange Coffee Hour

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On January 20th, some of our exchange students got together for coffee and conversation, as we do every month. New winter arrivals mingled with students in their second term and those who had already been here for several years. We discussed differences between the education system in their home countries and what they are experiencing here in the United States, extracurricular activities, as well as homework and how everyone is adjusting to their new classes.

Countries represented at this coffee hour: Mexico, Finland, France, Greece, Japan, Ecuador, Czech Republic, Germany, and Norway!

The only disappointment was that the cafe had run out of cookies, so we were unfortunately snack-less. Next time we won’t make that mistake! Hope to see you all at the next one.

 

After a Year of Life in Oregon: A Blog Post by a Past Exchange Student

Dora Yang (Yang Ting-Ru) was an exchange student at UO from 2014 to 2015. After she finished a year program and returned back home to Taiwan, she realized the journey in Oregon had a tremendous impact on her life.

After a year of life in Oregon, I came back to Taiwclass selfiean for my senior year of college. At first, I was surprised that I didn’t have a hard time fitting into my culture after a year when I sank into a totally different one. Actually it was a common myth for those who travel abroad for a while then have an anticipation of being incompatible once they got back. That’s why I was confused at that time. As I started school and became a Taiwanese student again, I felt more and more uncomfortable that I couldn’t fit in the environment like before. I realized I’m somewhat different from others. After I talked with some friends, they said the same. I finally understood, even though it took me 5 months to prove it, and I’m still content with this answer. Yes, I’m a different person after my journey in the U.S last year.

Apparently, I can’t always get the important message right from what I was doing until after or maybe until someone reminds me of it. I applied for ISAB (International Student Advisory Board) in the first term abroad. Even though it might be terrifying, I believed that I could learn something new and make some cool friends there. By the end of dormyear, I got much more than that. Not only the friendship, but also the information of being in an international-friendly school. I felt supported from the school, the staffs and the students around me. It empowered me to follow my heart, to make whatever change I would like to see. It was hard to do when I was a student in Asia. Since I had the chance to study in the U.S, everything just changed, and that was definitely amazing.

I also had the “educational shock” in my beginning period of school. I was suffering from discussing with classmates, presenting my personal view in the class, speaking foreign language in the class and lots of reading assignments to do. That was so hard for me that my classmates maybe didn’t notice. I couldn’t perform as well as other students. Most of time, the only thing I could say during discussion was “uhm… I don’t know”, and it madlunchroome me so frustrated. Luckily, I met Risa, she was also an exchange student but from Japan. We shared our similar hard time in the class, talked about the cultural differences and our similarities, and participated in different events to relax from the stress such as joining Coffee hour and ExplOregon events, watched the sport games, went to the concert… and so on. We were so appreciated and we had lots of memories in U of O, whether unpleasant or pleasant, we made it through the hard time and became close friends. I didn’t hate my classes, instead, I loved them so much. I was improving by learning, finally, I loved the environment in the class, the interaction between professor and students, I loved the ideas we came up with after discussion. I loved to speak French in my 1st Year French class, I loved to visit my professor at office hour to figure out something I missed during the class. Those chances were so precious that I rarely had in Taiwan.O

Moreover, the friendships I have built there were the most precious gift I had in my life. When I was not familiar with the local environment and culture first I arrived in the state, my temporary host family was so hospitable to me. As I moved into the dorm, my roommate and most of my dorm-mates nicely talked to me or invited me to the dinner and the movie night. During the year, the international friends I met and the classmates who helped me in the class were so supportive that it made me feel like I was not alone in Oregon. Especially to the friends who hosted me during my backpacking trip for one month before I officially left the U.S. in summer, I took various transportations to 5 different places in OR and CA. Once I arrived at each place, they picked me up, showed me around and welcomed me like their family were absolutely heart-warming and unforgettable memories. Those touching, challenging, and satisfying memories bring me to the reality now: why can’t I experience the same enjoyment in my home country? The answer would be yes, I can experience the same, or even more fabulous actually. All because I’m on the way to be a better person every day by accumulating various experiences. The fabulous ones in the last year won’t fade away, because it already became an essential component of my life. I won’t change myself to fit in an environment that I don’t like, I will only be my true self to gain the opportunity I deserve and take advantage of being different from others. It will always remind me who I am.

Wish you have a great time wherever you are and Go Ducks!

End of Term Dinner at McMenamin’s

Here in Eugene we are in the last week of the term before final exams. For years, Oregon students have affectionately dubbed this week: “Dead Week”. However, last night the exchange students were able to spend a lively evening together before they move full-time into the library. To celebrate the end of a term and all the new friendships made during our time together, we met for dinner McMenamin’s Cafe in Eugene. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and laughed a lot. Some students even played pool and shuffleboard!

It was great to see everyone one last time before some of us leave the U of O for our home universities and others head home for the holiday break. Thanks so much to everyone who came. For those students who are traveling home, we wish you safe travels and a well-deserved break from exams and papers. For those whose study at Oregon has come to an end, we’re so happy you spent the term with us. We’ll miss you! At the same time, we are looking forward to meet the new students who are coming in January!

 

Wake Up and Live, your Dream is a Reality: A Blog Post by a Current Exchange Student

IMG_2545These last few weeks have been all about handling things. I had administrative problems, many readings and assignments, but many great and fun moments too! Many is the key word here, especially when you feel it’s getting to be too much. The first paragraph has my first thoughts on the topic, and the second is what I wrote after coming back to it.

Don’t wait til you have enough time, til you are in a good shape or mood, til you are fine, til you have the energy…or you won’t do anything except the things you have to do and it will eat you alive. Go out as soon as you have the opportunity, be opportunistic, say “yes, let’s do this” and see where it leads you even if it ends up at Domino’s Pizza or eating garlic pasta or a birthday chocolate cake at 3 in the morning (does it always end up with food?! I guess so…) Go out even if it’s just out of your room to talk to your roommates who just got home, out of your apartment to the library to study, to try out for a sport you never played before, on a hike even if it’s raining… Because you may end up laughing after a bad day, meeting a friend in the most boring moment, actually joining the softball team, seeing incredible landscape that take your breath away…etc. All of those things will be the ones that put your life together eventually, that give you energy, that make you happy despite everything else.

Well, I still agree with all of that, it’s a mantra to always keep in mind and try to follow every time you can but that’s not that easy. The thing is you can’t ignore what you have to do and if you don’t take time for these things, they will stick to you like gum under your shoes… and nobody likes that feeling! All is a question of balance but I have to admit I struggle to find it. The perk of studying abroad is that you constantly have to choose between exploring, enjoying, making the best out of everything and settling, studying, doing the normal stuff of everyday life. It’s like you’re on holidays in some overexciting place and in your regular habitat at the same time and sometimes it drives me crazy. I’m constantly running out of time and it stresses me out. I realize that this experience is full of pressure: pressure to become bilingual, pressure to enjoy yourself every minute of every day, pressure to see everything around you, to do everything you want, to meet and to know everyone and also to succeed. That’s too much! I know this is not what people expect to hear (or more accurately what they expect to read), because as soon as you begin to talk about the other side of the mirror they think you are sad, angry, homesick, unhappy, or negative. But, you can’t be, you have no right to be, because you’re lucky to be here. Yes, I know. Pressure again.

I’m happy and I’m grateful. Everyday I try to see the positive side of things (more than I usually did in France). That’s just the truth, because when a dream comes true, it’s not a dream anymore. It becomes reality, which we embrace. Let go of all your made up ideas about studying abroad: this is not a perfect dream, this is a life experience. The problem is that when you dreamed about something for such a long time, you often overthink it. I did and I still do. You can miss the living part if you’re not patient, and if you want everything right away. It’s impossible to be everywhere doing everything with everybody, unfortunately. I have to let go of all these pressures that I put on myself and relax. Yes, I’ll miss things, but what’s important is how I will feel about it in the future: bad about what I didn’t do or good about what I did instead?

 

I have a friend who always asks me: “what will you remember in 10 years?” I think this is a good way of thinking because it pushes you to go out and explore. But is it always good to constantly think about your future self thinking about your past self?! That’s a lot of thinking and I’ve already enough of it with my present self. So what about saying “feel the moment” instead of “enjoy the moment”. And if it feels good or if it feels right, then that’s where you need to be, not thinking about it, just living it.

Alice Poyet (France)