Gabrielle is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Student Athlete: CSB Tennis
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The main reason I chose to study abroad in Chile is because I wanted to go someplace I otherwise most likely would never have visited. I have traveled to Europe and plan on going back at some point in my life, but I would never have dreamed of traveling to such a foreign place. I decided on Chile because of the opportunity to better my Spanish, as well as the chance to be completely immersed in a culture so different from what I am used to.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The most impactful cultural experience I had in Chile was living with my host family. While it was intimidating at first to be living with another family that didn’t speak any English, it ended up being my favorite part of studying abroad. My Spanish improved so much because of the fact that I was exposed to the language both at home and in school, and I got to experience first-hand what a typical Chilean family is like.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was amazing! I loved all of the adventures I got to have while abroad. From skiing in the Andes Mountains to hiking through the Patagonia region, there was never a shortage of things to do. However, I also was able to spend lots of time with my host family and in Viña del Mar, growing closer to and connecting with them and their city. By the end of my time abroad, I felt as though I had become a real Chilean because of the fact that I was so immersed in the culture.
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?
While abroad, I gained confidence in myself and in my Spanish speaking ability, knowledge about a culture I knew very little about beforehand, lots of stamps in my passport, and lifelong friends. I am so thankful that I had this experience and would do it again in an instant.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do it!! I was very hesitant about leaving, especially since my Spanish was not as strong as I felt it should have been prior to leaving. However, I learned so much more than I thought possible and met so many amazing people that it was completely worth it in the end.