Brigid Conway '24

Program: Spain Semester

Major: Psychology

Minor: Hispanic Studies

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

I chose to study abroad because I find so much value in education and learning through experiences outside of the classroom in addition to in the classroom. I also have always dreamed of living in another country, and this was the perfect opportunity to have that experience with a great group of students/friends. I decided on Spain because I have always been interested in learning the Spanish language, and I am a Hispanic Studies minor. Additionally, I wanted to be in a host country that I loved while also being able to travel to other countries during my time abroad, and Spain was a great location for that.

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

I took part in the Feria de Abril in Sevilla, and I got to experience this both with my host family and with my friends. I had never been a part of something so culturally immersive and unique before, and I enjoyed the local food, music, and experiences I had during Feria.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall study abroad experience was a great four months filled with local immersion, language learning, building relationships, and travel. I bonded with my host family, became very familiar with what was once a foreign city and foreign language, and overcame challenges that I had never encountered before.

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?

One benefit of a semester abroad is that you get to truly live in a new country, not just vacation there. You get to see how different people live their everyday lives, and you get to develop a new everyday life for yourself as well. It’s also beneficial because it makes you learn how to adapt and overcome challenges and changes, and it makes you a stronger person with a better perspective. Study abroad has contributed to my development by giving me the chance to appreciate different lifestyles while also learning to better appreciate things I might’ve taken for granted. Academically, studying abroad has massively helped me to expand my Spanish language skills, and I also learned a lot about the history of Spain. I also can now make better professional connections because I can better communicate with Spanish-speaking people, and I have learned a lot of problem-solving skills that I can bring to the professional world.

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

Seize every opportunity you have! Some of my favorite memories happened because I stepped outside of my comfort zone and said yes to things that I wouldn’t have necessarily said yes to in the past. It will be a very hard adjustment at first, especially if you are living with a host family. The discomfort of being with new people in a new place will be very overwhelming at first, but it will end up being such a positive experience.