Three Blocks, Three countries: The great experience of Ekua studying abroad

Programs for this blog post

Open Campus Block

Authored By:

CIEE Berlin

Can you imagine living in Singapore for six weeks, then Berlin and then Madrid? Can you imagine getting to know three different cultures, languages and, at the same time, meeting students from different universities?

CIEE offers study abroad programs in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The Open Campus Block programs are special- students can design their program by choosing three different locations.That's why we spoke with Ekua Quagraine, a student from Kansas City, MO studying Interna-tional Business Management and International Relations at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Ekua is currently finishing her second block in Berlin and preparing her bags for her next destination: Madrid. We had a conversation with Ekua to learn more about her experience.

  • Could you tell us about your experience in Block I? Where were you and how would you describe that experience?

I was in Singapore for Block I and it was an amazing experience. I had never been to South-east Asia before, but it sparked my love for the region and I can't wait to go back. I was able to visit other nearby countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand, learn about Singapore's complicated history and get a better appreciation for Asian culture. 

  • What was the best moment of that first destination?

The best moment of my time in Singapore was going to Tanjong Beach on Sentosa Island with my friends. It was the epitome of Southeast Asia and study abroad, combining beautiful surroundings with amazing friends.

  • What advice would you give to a student thinking about going there?

Singapore is a beautiful place, with rich and diverse architecture, history, culture, cuisine, religion and much more. The small island offers so much and can be hard to take in, but try to find time to explore at least some of it. It's also very different from the US in terms of hy-giene, but you have to let yourself go and experience it to the fullest (e.g. eating at a hawk-er center).

  • How has your experience been in Berlin so far and what are you looking forward to?

Berlin has been very different from Singapore. The European influence makes it much more like the United States than the Asian influence of Singapore, so it's been almost a transition back to normal. I've been able to explore some of Berlin's historic sites and it's been an eye-opening but great experience. I'm looking forward to exploring more of the city's neighbor-hoods and traveling more around Germany and this part of Europe.

  • What drew you to this destination?

I wanted to study in Europe because I have loved my previous travels here. Berlin is full of history and new developments, so this combination seemed great to me. Also, Berlin is very conveniently located for travel to other interesting destinations. I'm only here for Block II and will be moving to Madrid for Block III.

  • Are you excited to visit Madrid? Have you been there before?

I am extremely excited for Madrid! I’ve never been but it’s been on my to-do list since 2018, so I’m ready to explore it! The culture, people, and location makes it such a gorgeous desti-nation and I am sure I’m going to love it!