Samantha Ernst is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Spain
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I knew I wanted to go to Spain when I came to CSB/SJU so the decision was never really a question of where I was going to go, but how I was going to get there. It was really important to me that I was able to go to a school with a reputable study abroad program and CSB/SJU offered just that. While I was in High School, I visited Spain for 3 weeks and feel in love. The language and Spanish culture were two of the main reasons why I wanted to go to back, so when I heard Segovia was the host city, I was 100% sold on the program.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While I was in Spain, I had the opportunity to make a lot of friend outside of the group I went with and also Uni. Therefore I think my experience culturally was a little bit different then some of my peers. Simply hanging out with the locals and being a part of their group was the most amazing cultural experience I could have asked for. I never once felt like I didn't belong and they always were sure to explain thing that maybe I wouldn't have understood fully otherwise. It took my understanding of the Spanish culture to a whole new level!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
MY overall experience abroad was fantastic! I won't that everyday was peachy, because like anything you have to learn how to adapt to new thing; however it made me a completely different person. The thing I loved most about Spain was the language; however it also was the thing that was the most difficult at times. Studying abroad changed the way I perceive thing and also understand them for the better. If I could go back right the second, I would no questions asked! Since I have been back I tell everyone it's something that they should do and I truly believe it is.
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?
As I mentioned above studying abroad made me a better person. The benefits and what you take away from your experience out way everything you think you might be worried about. I have never met anyone who says they regretted going, I've only heard "I wish I would have".
You learn to be independent and flexible. You also learn to be patient and you grow up. My time abroad really helped me to define who I am and what I want in life.
Now since I have been back I know that in the future I want to work overseas. My experience taught me so much more than I can even explain; essentially I could write a book! :)
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
My advice, DO IT. I promise you will not regret it. It is the most life changing experience. I love CSB/SJU, my family, my dog etc., but all of that will be here when you get back. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and as cliché as it sounds it is so true. Life happens and things change, so take this chance while you can; I know that I would not be the same person I am without what I learned in those very short 4 months.
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