Andrea Moran

Andrea Moran

Go Overseas Writer

Member for

7 years

After studying abroad in France, the Netherlands, and Denmark, Andrea decided to combine her love of education and other cultures by teaching English in Chile. She has previously coached diverse Bay Area students in English writing, and is recently TEFL-certified. Keep up with her on Twitter @andream_m and Google+.

Travel Experience
15+ Countries
Andrea Moran

From walking around Berlin trying to find interviews to landing in Aarhus during a winter snowstorm, I can’t pinpoint a single best memory. The entire year was constant movement.

I was one of the two Americans in our group of 18 people from around the world. One student had already reported in Afghanistan, while others were fairly new to journalism, and were in this program through their grad school. It attracts people from all walks of life, and that's what makes it so memorable.

You take the same classes, live, travel, party, and study with this group for 10 months. It’s intense, but by the end, you’re a solid family.


The first semester in the Netherlands is VERY theoretical. I don't think many of us knew this going in. Classes are heavy in economics/politics/history and assignments are less journalistic and more essay/analysis papers. It was a little frustrating for a lot of us because we wanted to write articles and not take exams/read textbooks. And unlike U.S. schools, in the Netherlands you take 1 class at a time for 3 weeks, and then onto the next.

In Denmark, the program shifts to in-the-field. The spring semester is less structured than the fall because you have very few classes. A lot of time is spent preparing for the two big assignments: "Euroviews" and "The Final Project."

Euroviews is the magazine and online story you'll produce. You're given 3 weeks to go out and report. We were given a choice of 3 countries, with the topic, "Sustainability and Climate Change". I went to Spain to write about water scarcity. The biggest challenge is working almost completely on your own. There's little/no feedback from professors in Denmark after you select your topic and go!

Setting up interviews, language barriers and managing the looming deadline is challenging. I don't know Spanish, so it was hard finding sources in smaller towns. The Final Project can be any story you want. I went to Paris to cover housing rights and homelessness.

In the end, the best part of this year is the people you will be with- hands down. From piling 6 of us in a tiny car for a roadtrip Germany, to the ritual Friday beers at Steff's bar, this group will become your family.

There is no "typical week" in this program. One day you're studying for an exam in a Utrecht coffeeshop, the next week you're sitting in the press room inside the EU Parliament. Three months later you're trying to pronounce "skjoldhøjkollegiet" (the name of your new dorm) to the taxi driver in Aarhus. If you don't like anything close to a routine, you will probably enjoy this year.

And my final advice: get a UV sunlamp for those first few months in Denmark.

-Andrea M.
Europe in the World, 2009-2010

Yes, I recommend
Andrea Moran

This program caters to a broad range of people.

Our Spring 2008 group had students who had never been out of the country and chose to live on-campus, while some more advanced French speakers lived in homestays or in off-campus apartments. The living options make it easy to tailor everything to your comfort and independence level. I was in an off-campus apartment, which meant more freedom, and being able to cook your own food. We had an amazing outdoor market in front of our place every week, so it was popular to shop there.

On-campus people had meal plans with the school, so they were a bit more limited. (Living on-campus also had a 2am curfew/lockout, so beware of that.)

My only words of wisdom are to understand that this is an American-heavy program. Since you're surrounded by dozens of fellow Americans in classes and housing, it's easy to bond with them and forget to explore what makes the French tick.

I'll always remember the night my friend and I were sitting elbow-to-elbow in this crowded Basque restaurant in the 11th arrondissement. The people next to me heard us speaking English and asked us how we liked France. We talked with them for the entire dinner. These kind of situations really made the semester memorable, and probably wouldn't have happened if we'd been a huge group of Americans.

Take advantage of the support and cultural activities AIFS provides, but remember to get out and break free from the group when you can!

Yes, I recommend

My Interviews

Hogeschool Utrecht - Study Abroad Program in the Netherlands
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