Charles is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Major: Global Business Leadership
Minor: Hispanic Studies, Philosophy
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
As a Global Business major, I feel that getting hands-on experience in another country is crucial to working in the international market today. Because of my minor in Hispanic Studies, I had my eye on choosing a Spanish-based program. Due to my strong interest in the outdoors, and my desire to live along the coast, Chile caught my attention.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The first weekend after I arrived to Chile, my host family had an 'asado' (barbecue). At the time, my Spanish was still quite slow, and I couldn't understand everything my host family would say to me. However, they made sure to include me on everything they did, and it was an incredible experience. They truly welcomed me into their home and made me one of their children; a member of their family. This just illustrates how important family is to Chilean culture.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Studying abroad in Chile accumulated to some of the best months of my life to date. I was surrounded by good people, beautiful sights, and new opportunities every day. I was given the chance to improve my level of Spanish, and create friendships with people I never could have imagined meeting prior to. From snowboarding in the Andes mountains, to hiking Machu Picchu, to sand dune boarding alongside the ocean, the experiences I was able to have in Chile were innumerable. I would never trade a single second, memory, or dollar that I spent abroad. The things that I learned abroad, both about myself and the world in general, have helped me grow as an individual, and as a member of so much more.
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?
I hope to use Spanish in my future profession, being in Global Business. I found that taking courses in another country, and learning to see the world through a new perspective, has really changed how I see the business world. Personally, Chile offered me insights into my own life that I don't believe I would have found on campus here in Minnesota. I feel as though I was given ample opportunities to really step out of my comfort zone and push myself to grow more each day.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Always be in search of new opportunities. Don't find routines, don't follow the beaten trail. Being abroad, living wherever you choose to go, may be the only time in your life that you are there. Don't waste time doing things over and over. Walk new streets, meet new people, try new foods, etc. Studying abroad is what you make of it, so make the most of it.