Johanna Holub is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The best cultural experience I had in Chile came from attending a university with actual Chilean students. I know this is unique to the program, and something I never would have wanted to trade for the world. It was great to make friends and see them on campus every day, it really made me feel more like a part of the culture. I had the opportunity to participate in the university's 85th anniversary celebration, and "competed" in their talent show with a dance we choreographed. It was a ton of fun and I gained so much by attending Universidad Adolfo Ibanez.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to study abroad because I love to travel, and I knew it was really the only way to get my Spanish to a level I felt comfortable using on a daily basis. The Chile program was attractive to me because I had previously travelled to Peru in high school, and wanted to learn more about South America and its culture. Also, the difficulty of the classes available to me we're appropriate to my level.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Unforgettable! It is an opportunity that I think everyone should take advantage of, and an experience that is unique to every person. There is no way that you can go abroad and meme back exactly the same person. It is fun, you will meet great people and make lasting friendships, as well as experience a new culture while traveling!
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
I think I am more culturally aware of the culture I live in, as well as more sensitive to the fact that other cultures are different, but it does not make them worse than my own. I now know what it is like to be an international student, something I never would have learned without this experience. I believe that I am more open to new experiences and trying things that in the past I would have avoided. I am more willing to use my Spanish not only in class, but with my friends and others who speak the language- it's great!
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
My advice would be to not worry so much. I was very worried about this, that, and the next thing before I went abroad, and looking back I wish that I had taken a minute to breathe and relax. My other advice is to learn the metric system.... It really would have been helpful to know how much a kilogram is, or how tall I am in centimeters! The other advice I have is to get a light-weight suitcase that is as big as possible-you will need ALL the space!