Hi! I’m Maddison and I’m a rising sophomore at the university of Alabama majoring in public relations and minoring in Spanish. The first week has come to a close on the friendly island of St Maarten, this week has been go go go and doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon with excursions, classes, and familiarizing my self wit the group there has been more going on than I possibly imagined everyone else may be on island time, but I certainly have not gotten to that point yet. St Maarten is certainly not as I expected it unfortunately they have not fully recovered from the hurricanes and many businesses has suffered due to the hurricanes and COVID. As in every place there are many areas were you wouldn’t eve know a hurricane had been there. The vast difference between the Dutch and the French side truly is mindboggling a complete difference experience going to the French side while staying on the Dutch side. From a Public Relations sense my approaches would e very different as the French side is a slower ad more relaxed “island time” experience versus the Dutch side which is busting at the seams with night life. St Maarten is called the friendly island for a reason I have not had a negative or rude interaction with anyone here ad I thought it was going to be a lot different in that sense.

Our excursion of seeing the entire island really helped me grasp a sense of the different lifestyles, cultures, and more as you can’t really decide our approach to things in class and projects until you see it all. In class with our teachers wan what we saw and how we could apply it to public relations and my main notice was how different each side of the island was and how for the French its a much more relaxed, and islandly whereas the Dutch is advertisements everywhere and a lot of nightlife. One of my favorite excursions so far was going on the tour of Phillipsburg where we got to walk around, shop, and socialize with locals. It was a real fun and relaxing experience everyone was so kind and laid back. I also got to see this gorgeous street called St Maarten Old Street which had cute shops, a little prop car, and a little French cafĂ© I’d love to go back too.

Its surprising we have only been here a week, ad now that I’m here I’m much more relaxed ad can’t wait to start this educational and fun journey being a freshman coming on this trip I was very worried I’d be severely behind and not know what to do. Being here with the teachers and this group we have become close fast, and I have more confidence in my abilities. I was also worried not knowing the language or really anything about the island, but here you learn so much so fast studying abroad. I was also worried about being away from my family and my cats, I of course miss them here and can’t wait to keep them updated and tell stories from my travels, but the hotel has cats here to keep me company as well. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip holds