Blake Hoeschen '21

Program: Chile Fall Semester

Major: Global Business Leadership, Hispanic Studies

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

I started thinking about studying abroad when I heard about it my freshman year. Traveling the world sounded like a cool opportunity so I did some research. The Chile program aligned well with both of my majors and it looked like it could be fun.

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

Living with a host family allowed me to experience chilean culture directly. They took me to a holiday celebration with their extended family in Santiago. We made empanadas, danced cueca and ate lots of food! It was so fun and I'm so happy to have gotten so close with my host family.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Study abroad was easily one of the most amazing opportunities I've ever had. Life abroad gave me a new perspective on the world and I feel now I am a more globally-minded citizen. There was so much to learn outside of the classroom whether it be over dinner with my host family or traveling the country.

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?

Studying abroad allowed me to experience life in a brand new environment. It definitely put me out of my comfort zone at first which is something I value because it will allow me to approach new environments more comfortably in the future. Taking part in chilean culture and learning about Chile fostered growth in my understanding of intercultural relations, socioeconomics, what it's like to live abroad and more.

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

Take it step by step. The first two weeks were actually very difficult for me despite having taken Spanish since 7th grade. Not only was the language barrier difficult to overcome at first, but I also felt very uncomfortable when I was away from my group. My host parents were very supportive and understanding which helped me out a lot. As my host dad said, "paso a paso" and it worked out great in the end.