Ethan Sturm-Smith '24

Program: Spain Semester

Major: Global Business Leadership

Minor: Finance

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

I wanted to study abroad to get outside of my comfort zone and see the world. I thought that I could learn lessons living there that I would not get to experience here in the Midwest. I have always known I wanted to study abroad, and that was one of the reasons I chose to come to CSB+SJU. I decided to study abroad in Spain because I wanted to go somewhere that spoke a different language, and having host parents that did my laundry and made all my meals was a huge plus.

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

During my time in Spain, I was a volunteer at a local soup kitchen. When I was there, I would help prepare the food before it was handed out. This was an amazing experience for me because I was able to help the less fortunate in a different country!

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Overall, I would say that my experience was nothing short of amazing. I would recommend this opportunity to everybody if they have the chance to do it. There are ups and downs, but to be honest, I don't remember the downs because it was such a transformative experience.

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?

I would say one of the benefits of going abroad is letting go of the things at home. You are so busy experiencing a new culture (which is a good thing) that you kind of let go and are just present in the moment abroad. I would also say that my problem-solving skills and planning skills improved while I was abroad. This is because I wanted to make the most of the experience, so I had to plan all my trips and figure out transportation, food, lodging, etc.

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

Ask questions and know it's okay to be nervous. Have a lot of fun and enjoy every day.