Ashley Forstrom is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Spain
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad for many reasons: Both of my older sisters had experiences studying abroad in Spain and other countries and their stories inspired me. I love travelling and experiencing all aspects of different cultures (food, religion, language, people). Finally, I chose to be a Hispanic Studies major and what a better way to learn the language/culture than to study abroad!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I ran the "media-maraton" (half-marathon) in Segovia. This was something that I never thought I could do, but not only did I have the support of my fellow study abroad friends, but I had the support of my Spanish host family and the Spanish citizens cheering me on the entire way. It was definitely one of those experiences I will never forget.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My study abroad experience was unforgettable. I was able to learn a language, learn about a culture, make 17 new best friends and travel. I was also able to explore what I can call MY hometown of Segovia, gain another family (my host family), gain confidence and ultimately learn more about who I am.
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?
The benefits of spending a summer abroad are numerous. One is able to learn more about a culture, make some of the best friends that they will always have, gain confidence and learn about themselves, travel, and finally, do things they never thought they could or would do. Overall, I would say that I have changed in all aspects of my personal, academic and professional development. These changes are ALL beneficial. I have gained so much more confidence in myself, learned patience and to try many, many different things. I've learned how to connect with people across cultures and learned how to balance my studies and free time in another country. Professionally, I feel like my inner leader has emerged.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would simply tell them it was one (if not the BEST) experience of my life. I would tell them that I would take advantage of any of our study abroad programs because each one has something unique and special to offer. The right one is just waiting for them.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Spain? Email Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org