Craig is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I decided a long time ago to study abroad. I knew I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone and venture beyond my self-imposed limitations. I decided on Chile because I knew it wasn't going to be a vacation. I wanted to experience a culture that I knew nothing about. I wanted to become proficient at a different language. I wanted to do something unexpected - Chile fit my description perfectly.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Traveling to the end of the world, Patagonia, became a classroom of its own - even though school had officially ended a few days before. This was the most isolated I had ever been. I discovered that I really could do anything if I set my mind to it, including my first camping trip (5 days) hundreds of miles away from civilization.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It is honestly impossible to sum up our experiences abroad just in one text box. I learned an incredible amount about the culture of Chile, the Spanish language, and about myself. The only way you'll be able to get a better judgment is to hear someone who went on the trip explain it in person. Their energy alone will be evidence enough to let you know that the experience was unforgettable - and that we'd hop on a plane in an instant to go back.
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?
Living abroad for four months changes your perspective on so many things. Growing up in the Midwest gave me one viewpoint of life. Chile taught me another - neither is more 'correct', they are only different. You can use this lesson to your advantage every day for the rest your life. Coming at a problem from different perspectives often allows you seek more creatives solutions.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
First of all, branch out. Talk to an ambassador. Talk to a friend. Google different types of music from Chile. Google images from Patagonia, the Atacama, Santiago. Take a chance! The benefits far outweigh the risks.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Chile? Email Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org