Carter Potthoff ’24

Programs: Chile Semester, Tanzania Spring Embedded, & Chiapas, Mexico Spring Embedded

Major: Hispanic Studies and Biology

Minor: LLAS

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

I chose to study abroad because I have a passion for traveling and learning about new cultures and ways of life around the world. I studied abroad in Beijing, China in high school and have wanted to continue studying abroad since. I chose the Tanzania program for the wildlife research aspect of the program. I chose Chile because I have a passion for learning about Latin America and wanted to improve my Spanish and understanding of Latin America.

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

Living with my host family in Chile was the most impactful experience of my life. I immersed myself into Chilean culture by literally becoming part of a Chilean family. I went to family events and truly became part of the family and built lifelong relationships. I still talk with my host parents and host aunt almost every single day and I don’t plan on stopping that.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Chile is my home away from home. Never in a million years did I think I would become this attached to another country, but I now have a family in Chile and relationships that will never cease to exist. South America was full of adventure and adrenaline for me, and I constantly pushed myself out of my comfort zone, which is essential for growth. I was able to also explore Argentina and Brazil and see that vast contrast of cultures in South America, which was incredible.

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?

If you can fit a semester in, it is an incredible opportunity that gives you a greater opportunity to immerse yourself and embrace life in another country. Academically, you can learn a new language and dive deep into learning and living in a new culture. As for professional development, being proficient in another language is an excellent tool to have and most study abroad semester programs include an internship or volunteer aspect that can greatly aid in professional development and connections in the work force.

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

Three words: JUST DO IT! You won’t regret it, it’s worth the money, and you will learn so much more than you can even imagine, about yourself, a new culture, and the world. My study abroads have been the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.