Collin Motschke

Collin Motschke is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Guatemala.


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I've always thought that, as citizens of this planet, we have the inborn responsibility to cultivate deep relationships with our international brethren. Studying abroad seemed like an incredible opportunity for me to engage in this cross-cultural interaction. So, I went for it!

Guatemala was my first choice because I knew that I wanted an experience that was, in a word, uncomfortable. I wanted to go to a place that didn't speak my language, a place that had different houses, a place that made me stick out, a place that would make me constantly ask the question "Why?"

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

Every time I saw a Mayan women dressed in traditional garb, I asked myself the question: How is it possible that fabric, nothing more than thin fibers of cotton, can be so magnificently beautiful?

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

In retrospect, my study abroad experience is a unique form of surrealism. Not the kind of surrealism that resembles some sort of confusing hallucination, but rather a surrealism that is utterly paradoxical. It's distant yet vivid, slow yet fast, long yet short, completed yet incomplete, enjoyable yet educational, difficult yet easy, different yet the same, temporary yet eternal.

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?

To answer this question I'd like to provide a simple analogy: My study abroad experience has given me the feeling that horses probably receive when their master removes the blinders (devices used to direct the sight and path of the horse) from their eyes.

This feeling has positively influenced my personal, academic, and professional development.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

When was the last time you passed up an experience that will undoubtedly alter your life in a positive way?


Do you have questions about studying abroad in Guatemala? Email Collin at