Allyson Kohler is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
A cultural experience that I went through was being a "gringa" in a South American country. There is no "blending in" so it provides a lot of attention in both a positive and negative way. Knowing I would never leave home without being noticed, allowed me to be conscious of myself as an American woman and how to positively portray myself on a daily basis.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I chose CSBSJU for their widely known Study Abroad programs. I wanted to go abroad because I am in love with different cultures and immersing myself. I chose Chile because I want to teach in Latin America someday and I wanted to improve my Spanish.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I would describe it as a chance to travel with your fellow classmates, experience a different culture, and create lasting relationships. It allows you to try new things, see amazing sights, grow and learn more than you ever have. Being abroad brings out a side of you that you've never known before.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
My experience affected me in a way that few people can understand. I created a life in South America with new friends and new family. It pushed my limits and I got through them. I am a stronger person for going through all that I accomplished. I had to survive in not only a different place, a different continent, a different home in a different home and language. It was a lot to handle, but it was the most enriching experience of my life.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
My advice for future Study Abroad students would be to find a program that interests you the most. A place that could benefit your future or fits your current passions. Limits will be pushed and boundaries will be crossed, but those are the moments that make your abroad experience a time for growth, personal awareness, and more enriching.