Bobcats abroad: Culture, communication, soccer are common themes

Three members of the Bates women's soccer team traveled abroad for the 2016 winter semester. Juniors Alexa Adams, Kyla Rabb, and Rebecca Titcomb, who traveled to various regions of the globe, shared their experiences:

Adams (Williamstown, Mass.) took her studies to Nepal. Adams spent a month conduting research on the local economy in the town of Dho Tarap, located in Dolpo. Dho Tarap is considered to be one of the highest human settlements in the world, at 4,200 meters, and it took Adams four days to walk there.

Adams said playing futsal and exploring the capital city of Kathmandu were some of her favorite activities. Her biggest adjustment was the limited water and electricity due to the region's dry season. "In my homestay, we only had running water in the morning for 10 minutes and there was no power for 12+ hours each day."

The biggest thing she'll take away from her experience, she said, are "the lessons I"ve learned from the people that I have met, the places that I have visited, and the culture that I have had the honor of being a part of for the past 3 and a half months."

Rabb (Stamford, Conn.) spent her time in Valencia, Spain. Although she spoke limited Spanish when she arrived, her understanding and knack for the language improved quickly by being immersed in the Spanish culture.

"My favorite class was my cultural conversation class. We learned a lot of slang kids our age use along with other everyday useful phrases," said Rabb.

The Rio in Valencia was her favorite place, noting that the community there was very active and social with people playing sports, running, and having picnics with friends. Rabb was also able to attend a professional soccer match during her time away.

"I am thankful for the experience of being pushed outside of my comfort zone. I enjoyed having to navigate a city in another language while having to balance making friends and doing well in school," said Rabb. "There were a lot of instances in the beginning where I felt completely lost, but you learn to make the best of a situation and eventually find your routine."

Titcomb (Henniker, N.H.) traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark. The neuroscience major described her experience as "adventurous, eye-opening and fun."

In her European Clinical Psychology course, Titcomb traveled to Vienna to meet with psychologists who use many different therapeutic techniques. While there, she was also able to see the old home and office of Sigmund Freud.

When she wasn't in the classroom, the center defender enjoyed exploring the streets of Copenhagen and other European cities such as Budapest and Prague. While in Budapest, she was able to go caving under the city.

"There is so much to learn about so many different cultures around the world and each culture has something positive you can take away from it," she said. "I've also learned about how important it is to keep in mind that countries are made up of people and that we shouldn't generalize about entire populations."

"The study abroad experience is truly once-in-a-lifetime," said head coach Kelsy Ross. "Being able to connect with people through sport is a special part of the abroad experience."