A Week in Boston

Monday I got on a plane at 6am to catch a flight from Barcelona to Rome in order to make my 10am connection to Boston. I touched down at 230pm and tried to catch my bearings. The attendant at the information desk had such a strong accent that I felt like I still hadn't left Europe. I had never been to Boston and it was quite a surreal experience to leave the familiarity of Barcelona, Rome and Prague and come back into one's own country, but to a foreign city all the same. The sense of belonging I feel in Seattle (where I'm from) wasn't the same even though the passport checker said "welcome home" as I passed through customs in Logan International.

I've never had the opportunity to spend much time on the East Coast, but I quickly fell in love with the city. Granted, the weather had just recently turned for the better and the snow had melted, but it was exactly, yet not at all what I expected. The people in Boston couldn't be nicer--an abrupt difference from what I experienced in Manhattan during the summer of '09.

I was in Boston for a conference, the Forum for Education Abroad where I met many of the high-rollers in the study abroad industry. I went knowing I had a lot to learn, and I left knowing I have a lot to contribute. Because it was my first year, and this was a rather, high-brow event, I made sure to do more listening than talking. Even so, it was great to be among a thousand people as passionate about international education as I am.

My colleague and VP Operations, Bill Martin attended with me, and it was a great opportunity to put our heads together and go over strategy for the next year. We've identified a number of opportunities for improvement in both WSA and the field as a whole, so check back often to see what we're up to!


Katrina Alford, Concordia University - Irvine

Happy Backpackers

This past weekend, I traveled to Budapest with WSA with a couple of friends from my university abroad, and I couldn't have asked for a better trip! After arriving at the hostel, we met Bogi, our tour guide for the weekend, who was instantly friendly and welcoming. Throughout the weekend, Bogi was an amazing guide! She showed us some great places for shopping and food, as well as the top sights around the city. You could tell she loved her job and never passed up an opportunity to share about her hometown and some of its history. She was so friendly and was sincerely interested in us as individuals and did everything she could do accommodate our priorities for the weekend (whether it was food, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing, etc.) I would highly recommend WSA's guided tours for any student studying abroad who wants to explore more than their university's city!

Katrina Alford, Concordia University - Irvine ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015

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