Erin is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Spain
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Since high school I had intended on studying abroad when I was in college. CSB|SJU's study abroad program was something that influenced my decision to attend CSB. As a Hispanic Studies major, I knew that I would choose one of the three programs that the OEA offers in Spanish-speaking countries. The opportunity to easily travel to other locations in Europe was a huge factor in my decision to choose the Spain program.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The most significant cultural experience throughout my time abroad was the opportunity to live with a host family. It gave me the opportunity to truly live like a Spaniard in my day to day life- from the meals I ate, to meal times, from the topics of conversation to the language used in conversation- all was authentically Spanish.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was far more than I ever imagined it would be. I spent four months traveling and living in a different culture, immersed in a foreign language and surrounded by new people. It challenged me in ways that I didn't expect and as a result caused me to grow and learn in ways that I never anticipated. I saw many places, formed new friendships, and gained another family and another home.
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?
Though the classroom time was valuable, I learned more outside of the classroom than I ever knew possible. Traveling and living abroad allows for a new sense of independence and confidence. The opportunity to learn first-hand from other cultures allows for broadened perspectives, as well as a greater understanding of one's own identity.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The opportunity to study abroad is not one that should be overlooked, it will impact you more than you would imagine. Be sure to challenge yourself, it is the only way you will grow. It is also really easy to get caught up in all the awe of study abroad, but introspection is also important. Be attentive to how your experiences impact you and your perspective- it might just surprise you. Lastly, appreciate every moment- it goes so fast!