Grace Hesse

Grace is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Spain

Major: Global Business Leadership

Minor: Hispanic Studies

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

I knew I wanted to study abroad since my freshman year at CSB and have always loved traveling. Spain was my number one pick, because I loved the aspect of being able to live with a host family and really immerse yourself into the culture. As a Hispanic studies minor it was extremely important for me to improve my Spanish skills to their best ability, and I felt Spain would be a fun program to do just that!    

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

Living with a host family in Spain really made me become one with the Spanish culture. I had to adjust to different meal times, social outings, and overall conversation topics. It was a challenge at first, but I would not change any aspect of my family experience in the slightest. These moments with my family is when I learned the most Spanish and really felt part of Spain.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

It is nearly impossible to encompass all that I have to say about my wonderful experience abroad in this one box, but I will do my very best. This program introduced me to the greatest Bennies and Johnnies as well as the citizens of Segovia. Living in such a quaint little city really made me become involved with all things Spain and understand that there all types of people in this world. Living in a country where they do not speak your language is both humbling and rewarding, it was a true learning experience and made me step out of my comfort zone each and every day. My abroad experience made me realize the beauty in all different cultures and to become more confident in myself.

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?

It really makes you depend on yourself and enhances your cultural perspectives of the world. Being abroad taught me that not everything is going to go smoothly and that you have to trust in your intuition and be confident in your decisions. I came home a completely different person, I am no longer nervous to introduce myself to others. I had to do it in Spanish in Segovia, so how can it possibly be any harder to do so in English back in America?
This experience has strengthened my view on the CSB/SJU community, because the Bennies and Johnnies that travel with you become your family. I learned about different cultures in my journey's throughout Europe and have discovered that every single one has beautiful attributes.
Personally, I know that my Spanish has improved and having gained this fluency will help me in my minor. As well as in academics, gaining experience in Spanish will also help me in the business world post graduation. The memories I made abroad will last me a lifetime, and I know when I'm old and sitting in a rocking chair I'll be telling about my tales abroad when I was a "youngin".

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

Do it. I know it's scary to leave friends, families, and familiarity behind, but I can assure you that there will never be an opportunity quite like this again. The experiences you gain,the people you meet, and the lessons you learn about yourself are some of the most important that you will have in your life.