Andrea is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Minor: Hispanic Studies and Psychology
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. I knew that I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country to help improve my Spanish skills and become more immersed in the culture. I chose Chile specifically because I was drawn to the diversity within South America. Chile offers a wide range of activities and is the perfect fit for anyone who loves adventure.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One of my favorite cultural experiences during my time in Chile was having Once with my host family every night. Once is a common nighttime tradition in Chile and serves as their evening meal. Every night I would sit down with my host parents and eat bread with palta (avocado), cheese, and meat. I quickly started looking forward to Once every day because it gave me the chance to spend quality time with my host parents and take a break from my busy schedule.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My study abroad experience was truly once in a lifetime. It was an incredible semester, and I would do it again in a second. Chile has so much to offer, and I was able to do so many different things I never even imagined. I was able to go skiing, surfing, visit the desert in the north and hike Patagonia in the south. I was able to make lasting relationships with my host family as well as make Chilean friends. My Spanish improved greatly and there were always opportunities to practice my Spanish. Chile also offers a volunteering aspect which was a valuable experience. I was able to spend time helping at a local elementary school, teaching students English as well as having the students help me with my Spanish. Between all of the different adventures and travel opportunities, the volunteering component, practicing the language, and even forming lifelong relationships, Chile has everything to offer and made my experience worth every minute.
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?
There are so many benefits to studying abroad. Studying abroad was one of the hardest things I have ever done but also one of the most rewarding experiences. By studying abroad in a Spanish speaking country, I had to quickly step out of my comfort zone in order to communicate with those around me. I learned that a little confidence can go along way and that I didn’t need to stress over every grammatical structure. Studying abroad has taught me so many things about myself and the world, and these are things I never would have learned in a typical classroom setting. At times the classes were difficult especially with the language barrier, but every small victory in the classroom or with my Chilean friends or host family made every struggle worth it.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Absolutely study abroad! Find a program that fits your interests and schedule! Talk to others who have studied abroad and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. There are so many great opportunities that studying abroad can offer so take