Read a Few of Our Fall Semester Favorites from the Badgers Abroad Blog!

Badgers who wrote for the Badgers Abroad Blog (BAB) this past semester, share their experiences.  The Badgers Abroad Blog is administered by UW-Madison’s Division of International Studies. To contribute, please e-mail

Jenny Parker


Jenny Parker is a student in the Professional FrenchMasters Program at UW-Madison. As part of the program she is required to do an internship in a francophone country. Because she already spent five years in France she decided to do her internship in Senegal this year.

“I got to see the day-to-day living of a family with eight kids. I also learned how to cook Senegalese food. ” – Jenny Parker

John Wells

John Wells graduated from UW-Madison in December of 1973. He had studied East Asian studies and taken five semesters of Japanese before deciding to start a new life in Japan. He has lived in Japan ever since, and currently lives with his wife and son. He also teaches at a local university.

“I had contacted the Professors teaching Japanese before I left Japan and they were so kind to allow me to sit in on their classes. I was able to speak to the students about my experiences studying Japanese and how life in Japan is today.” – John Wells

“What I did not realize is that even the hottest of days of a Wisconsin summer would be nothing in comparison to the seemingly never ending days of a Japanese summer.” – John Wells

Read more from John Wells


John Krippinger

John Krippinger is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison. This past summer, he participated in an engineering internship in Penang, Malaysia.

“The most valuable part of my engineering internship was being able to work along side people from Penang. This gave me invaluable experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and mindsets. Given the rapid globalization of many engineering firms, I believe that having this first-hand experience working and collaborating with people outside of the United States will certainly be a valuable asset.” – John Krippinger

“In Hat Yai (much like Penang) only one rule applies on the roads: pedestrians always always always yield to cars and motorbikes (natural selection at its finest)…” – John Krippinger

Read more from John Krippinger


Karen Bien

Karen Bien is a senior, double majoring in political science and history. She spent this past spring semester studying in Copenhagen, Denmark. Karen was the recipient of the ScanDesign Foundation Fellowship Program Scholarship.

“My experience was made so much more culturally rewarding because I was able to spend money on activities I wouldn’t have otherwise, like going out to eat, traveling to the Danish countryside, seeing a movie, and going to sports events.” – Karen Bien

“My friends and I would make internationally-hemed dinners. It was such a great way to get to know people and such a large part of Danish culture.” – Karen Bien

Read more from Karen Bien



Mandy Chan

Mandy [Sioman] Chan grew up in Macau, China; she came to UW-Madison in 2008 to  study computer engineering.

“One will never know a culture or country unless he lives and joins in the community there. We all grow up from different cultures and backgrounds. Through interacting with people from different backgrounds, you will get a great deal of new points of view and being a more understandable and open-minded person.” – Mandy Chan

“Growing up in Macau, such a multicultural place, made me always want to know more about the other cultures and meet people from difference backgrounds. Especially in this era of globalization, I believe being international and knowing more about other cultures will be very helpful in my career.” – Mandy Chan

Read more from Mandy Chan


Helen Beckner

Helen with some students

Helen Beckner is a sophomore majoring in international studies. Through the help of the Latin America, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies (LACIS) department, Helen was able to fund a two-week volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic. Helen, along with a small group, worked at an orphanage in Monte Cristi. She taught English through the Orphanage Outreach program.

“Forty-two percent of the country is at poverty level, which means a household income is less than two American dollars per day. Sometimes a family will send the son to the orphanage to be educated and well raised, while the daughter helps out in the home. Other parents may not see a female as having much value around the house, so they send their daughter to the orphanage.” – Helen Beckner

“Despite the children’s lack of resources, parenting, and technology, I could see that these children were intelligent, imaginative, appreciative of what we had to offer, and eager to learn.” – Helen Beckner

Read more from Helen Beckner