Amy is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because college is a perfect time to experience new things, put yourself out there and meet new people. My minor, Hispanic Studies, had an input on my desire to study abroad and also why I chose Chile. While abroad I was able to finish my spanish minor and really push myself to use and extend my knowledge of the language. I felt like this was one of the only opportunities I may have in life to travel and spend time in South America.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
My host family had a party for Fiestas Patrias, which is Chile's independence day. They had all their family and friends over for the day and we played games and had an asado (bbq). This definitely made a lasting impression because it was as though I was actually part of their family and I had the chance to experience what a normal chilean family does to celebrate every year. My family had a tent set up in their backyard, which is typical for Fiestas Patrias, and my host mom made a sign and named it La Gringa after me. It meant a lot to be included in this tradition and experience it first hand.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was life changing. It pushed me to expand my comfort zone and do things I never would have imagined doing. I met great people on my trip, many of which will be lifelong friends, and discovered so many new things about myself. I had the chance to travel to amazing places and really experience the culture.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
A huge benefit of spending a semester abroad is becoming more independent. I know now that I can do anything on my own if I set my mind to it. The fact that I spent a semester speaking spanish set me ahead academically by finishing my spanish minor and now having the possibility of using spanish in my career once I graduate.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
My advice for students considering studying abroad is to really research the different programs and to know what every one has to offer. Find one that could benefit you in your future or involves something you love. It's a huge step in life and may seem like it'll be too hard or too long of a time away from home, but it's something you will never regret and you'll be thankful for for the rest of your life.