First Week in Seoul

The first week in Seoul was the perfect time to explore the city and get to know the area around us. One of the experiences that I enjoyed the most was taking in the city life. It really is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong
Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong

Seeing the vibrancy of the city, the people, and the energy of it all was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I think the beauty of these moments is knowing that because it is so new to me I can take in the beauty of what may seem like mundane moment like this.

One of my other favorite experiences this week was when a group of us international students decided to try a Korean night club. We all went to a club that’s called NB2, and it was a lot of fun. All the local people that we ended up meeting were really nice and helpful when we had questions. And although the language barrier is hard to deal with, everyone no matter what loves to dance! And NB2 was a pretty great place for that.

Outside of NB2
Outside of NB2

We also decided to go shopping, and try restaurants near by and some classic Korean foods that were recommended to us by the locals. Overall my first week in Seoul was a lot of fun and exploration, and now I’m excited to start my classes & meet my classmates.


22 hours later and 9 hours ahead: Hallo aus Österreich

It has been over a week since our arrival in Austria and a lot has happened since then. The Austria program is a small but mighty (in good Linfield fashion) group, as there are only four of us in the program. 

The flight to Vienna took us about 22 hours in total and the only hiccup was with Dane, who missed his connecting flight in Montreal. However, it ended up working out nicely because he got Vienna around the same time the other three of us did; Kara, Delanie, and myself. 

In the beginning, the hardest thing to get used to was the 9 hours time change. They say it is always harder going west to east since your body essentially “loses time.”

But we were welcomed into Austria by spending a week in the beautiful Gastein Valley in the region of Salzburg. Most of our time was spent in the small town of Dorfgastein, where we stayed in a B&B and were introduced to a traditional Austrian breakfast every morning. By the end of the week, we all knew how to ask for “Kaffe, Schokolade oder Tee” (coffee, hot chocolate or tea) with our breakfast. 

Plate with a traditional Austrian breakfast that includes cheese, sliced meat, and a red pepper-spread on a slice of bread
Traditional Austrian Breakfast

In the morning we had our conversation German classes, while the evenings were filled with traditional Austrian dishes, beer, and schnaps!

A large pan on a table with Austrian Spätzle, also know as Austrian mac and cheese
Spätzle: Austrian “Mac and Cheese”

One of my favorite and most memorable parts of the trip was the hike on Fulseck, where we encountered killer cows. The mountain belonged to the cows and we did our best to stay away from the animals, though there was one cow that was fond of blocking the hiking trail and not letting people pass. 

Six people in front of a Krimml Walls
Kara, myself, Delanie, Anna (the German TA from last year), Fabian (the grandson of the owner of the b&b we stayed at), and Dane in front of Krimmel Falls

We also visited Krimml Falls, a waterfall of about 1,246 feet. One thing that is very different here from hiking areas in the U.S. is the placement of restaurants and cafes. Usually, in the U.S., they are at the bottom or beginning of a trail. But here in Austria, they usually are at the end of a trail or on other points of interest on the trail.

We then finished up our week in the city of Salzburg with a walking tour. The tour guide was very helpful in pointing out all the prominent “Sound of Music” locations; though this only made sense if you have watched the movie before. We also got a good view of Fortress Hohensalzburg

Photo of old city scape with the Fortress Hohensalzburg on the top right
Fortress Hohensalzburg from a distance

On Sunday, a little over a week after our arrival, we were greeted at the train station in Vienna by our host families. It was nice to finally go home, rest, and get comfortable in a place we will call home for four months.

Bis Später (until later),


The Countdown Begins!

Hello and Welcome to the semester abroad at IAU (Institute for American Universities) College in Aix-en-Provence blog!! (What a mouthful, ha!)  I would like to thank you in advance for following me on this journey – I  am excited to share it with you!

Now, a quick (and what I deem a necessary) disclaimer:

I promise to keep these posts truthful, raw, and sincere so as to best capture and preserve this time in my life. 

– Cassidy Robinson


The Countdown Begins!

We are officially 13 days away from the highly anticipated take-off date of August 30th! As you might imagine, there are a number of emotions running through me right now… Excitement, nervousness, gratitude, happiness, fear, sadness…  with no one emotion reigning more powerful than another.  I don’t think that I have ever felt this many mixed emotions before, and I especially did not expect that I would be SAD of all things! However, after some serious reflecting on myself and where I am at in life, the sadness makes sense.

I feel sad because I already know how much I will miss the people I love, the place I have come to call home, and the comfortable routine I have established.  I will miss the ease of contacting my friends and family, and the familiarity of American culture. Most of all, I will miss the person I am now in this time and place because I know I will never be the same again. That said, I plan to hold on to the overwhelming happiness and peace that I have cultivated over this past year, and use it as a foundation to my growth while in France.

(For those of you who think that I shouldn’t be sad, you’re right! I shouldn’t be bummed out with this amazing opportunity at my fingertips… and just so you know, I truly am getting excited to travel to France to study WINE!!!!  However, please understand that the sadness is just one facet of my emotions right now. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge the fact that it is only three and a half months away from home and I know everything that I will be leaving behind will still be here when I get back! Thank goodness!) 

At this point in the pre-departure stage, I am most focused on getting all of my ducks in a row. That entails everything from traveling down to San Francisco to obtain my long-stay Visa, to inquiring about who my host family is and where they live in relation to the town center. A few other small things that I am working on is finding a debit or credit card that I can use while abroad that does not incur a foreign transaction fee, making sure that I have European adaptors, and that I have the appropriate clothes.

I am not sure if she will ever read this, but I would just like to give a shout out to the Linfield student traveling with me to IAU this fall… She has been so helpful in reminding me to do things, making suggestions on what to bring, and most of all, she has been so kind in making an effort to get me excited for this trip! I look forward to traveling with you, and am already grateful for your familiar face! Thank you!!!

That’s all for now, and hopefully the next time I write will be from a small, quaint cafe in the town center of Aix!

Take care,



Kia ora everyone,

It’s my third week of classes at Otago and they’re very different from Linfield! I have one lecture with about 100 people and another with over 300 people. Assignments being turned in only have your student ID number and attendance in tutorials are taken by ID number. My other paper is very fun and I am really enjoying it so far! The paper is about Pacific Health and the culture of the Pacific Islands. The lecturers are from Samoa and very laid back and funny. Last week we learned how to say Hello in Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. We also learned from a guest lecturer how to do part of the traditional welcome dance in the Cook Islands. All of my papers also have tutorials led by tutors to discuss lecture content and prepare for exams or assignments.

During the first week of school, I signed up for the tramping (hiking) club and the winter sports club. The tramping club has lots of members so to attend a trip you have to put your name into a raffle and people are selected randomly. For the first trip, about 100 people were signed up and only 57 could go. Juliet, some of our other friends, and I were all lucky to get into the Lord of The Rings themed Bushball trip! We left Saturday morning at 6 am on a big bus and drove 4 hours to Wanaka where we ate at Red Star Burgers for lunch. The burger was huge and the best one I’ve had in New Zealand! During the bus ride, we did speed dating where the person in the aisle had to move to another seat for 5 minutes and then move onto another seat. I met lots of new people from Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, and the US. We drove another hour to the car park after lunch where everyone was shuttled to the trailhead. The tramp was about 5.5 miles and only took 3 hours to get to the Mt. Aspiring Hut. Along the way, we played sword limbo and other fun games! When we got to the hut the group leaders made us dinner and the rest of the night was a dance party until 1 am. All the bunk beds were taken so Juliet and I had to sleep on the floor in the main room along with 20 other people. At 8 am the next morning we were woken and ate breakfast before we packed up and cleaned everything. The 3-hour tramp out was beautiful since there were clear skies and no rain like the previous day. We stopped in Wanaka again for dinner and made it back to Dunedin around 9 pm.

Mt Aspiring National Park
Mt Aspiring National Park
Bushball Tramping Trip
Juliet and I ready for sleep after a 4-hour dance party!
Bushball Tramping Trip
Tramping friends!

Another trip I’ve done so far is with one of my flatmates and some of her friends to the Catlins. We left Saturday morning and made many scenic stops along the way to Slope Point. Our first stop was at Nugget Point and the sky was still pink from sunrise making it so beautiful! We then went to tunnel hill, Horseshoe Falls, Matai Falls, and Curio Bay. We spent the night at a backpacking hostel on a farm where my flatmate got to feed the sheep! The next morning we went to Slope Point, the furthest southern tip in New Zealand, and almost got blown away from the wind! Next, we went back to Curio Bay and saw the petrified forest and did the penguin walk. Sadly we didn’t see any penguins but it was still a pretty walk. It was raining pretty hard at this point so we decided to head back to Dunedin. We stopped at a cafe along the way and got some really good hot chocolate and lunch to warm us up.

Nugget Point
Nugget Point
Matai Falls
Matai Falls
Slope Point
Slope Point, the most southern tip of NZ!