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Thread: Studying abroad

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Studying abroad

    Anyone in undergrad either discover or confirm their love of planning through a study abroad experience and would jump at a chance to either do it again or help others to study abroad? What's your story?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Planning is really local. You have to learn it (or about it) where you plan to work to gain any kind of meaningful understanding of the field. For example, in Sweden every municipality is required to have an Översiktsplan. These documents are strikingly similar to comprehensive plans in the US. The development process, however, is radically different on account of different land development laws and differing cultural views of property rights. So yes, you could go to Sweden and learn about planning theory...but you will still have no idea how things work day-to-day in planning offices in the States.

    Studying abroad is a hoot and valuable for it's own sake. If you have the resources to study abroad then you should do it. Take some classes and have a good time.

    If you want to learn about planning you need to talk to planners. Either though a job shadow, internship, informational interview or lo que sea.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    When I was an undergrad, I took a trip to Bulgaria related to a planning class "Planning in a Post-Communist County".

    It was interesting, we met several planners (the majority were Peace Corp. folks, but some where actual Bulgarian planners), and we met a few students who were, like us, pursuing undergrad degrees in planning.

    Like hallstot said, I didn't learn how their day to day activities went, but we did learn a fair bit on planning theory. It was my first, and most likely only, trip to Europe, and it was to a country off the beaten path and generally forgotten to most Westerners. I enjoyed my time there, and the people were awesome. I'd go back if given the chance, especially now that I have real hands on experience in the planning field.

    If you have the opportunity, go. It won't make your resume stand out any more than someone who didn't get the chance, but it will give you a cultural experience you probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Remember, the trip is much more than an academic experience.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Bulgaria!?!?!?!

    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    When I was an undergrad, I took a trip to Bulgaria related to a planning class "Planning in a Post-Communist County".
    Really? Where all did you go?
    Do you happen to recall any of the readings that you did?

    I live in Varna, Bulgaria.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Go Go Go! My study abroad was in Brazil in 2006. It was an amazing opportunity and exposed me to so much early in my education. In many ways it helped shape my career, as I now work internationally on planning projects in Europe, the US, the Middle-East, Asia and Africa. As for places to study I would personally pick a country that is (a) interesting to you and (b) would be useful as a talking point in interviews. From my experience people love that you have projects in developed and developing countries alike.

    Best of luck and do go if you get the chance.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queenducky21 View post
    Really? Where all did you go?
    Do you happen to recall any of the readings that you did?

    I live in Varna, Bulgaria.
    We went to Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, and Varna. We also spent a day in Nesebar, and Veliko Taranovo.

    Most of our readings were from Dr. Sonia Hirt, the Chair of the Urban Affairs and Planning Department of Virginia Tech. She is Bulgarian, and happened to be in Bulgaria at the same time we were. Unfortunately our meeting had to be cancelled because she had some family issues to take care of.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Bulgaria

    I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Bulgaria is a beautiful. Are you familiar with the protests that are happening now?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queenducky21 View post
    I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Bulgaria is a beautiful. Are you familiar with the protests that are happening now?
    I have read some on the current situation there. I was pretty floored when I read their entire government administration just resigned. Pretty crazy

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