Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Greta Treiber spent spring 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She discusses her connection with her host family and her tips for other students looking to learn abroad. By honing her Spanish skills, Treiber furthers her intercultural competence as she pursues her master's in arts education.
Minors: Spanish, racial justice in urban schooling
Graduated: May 2019
Studied abroad in: Buenos Aires, Argentina, spring 2018
How did you choose your program?
I wanted to go to a Spanish-speaking country to complete my minor and further develop my language skills and exposure to a different culture. There were a number of options to study in Spanish-speaking countries, with Spain being the most popular, but I wanted to go somewhere that wasn't in Europe and had a minimal amount of US influence to have a completely immersive experience. The city of Buenos Aires is also very arts-focused with a large street art scene, which was important to me given my major and passion for the arts.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time abroad?
One of my favorite memories while abroad was having late-night conversations with my host mom, often over cookies and wine. I learned so much about her opinions of the country, the government, and daily life, and also so much about her personal life. She became a second mom to me, someone that I could talk, sing, dance, and laugh with and that relationship was ultimately the best part of my experience.
How has studying another language and culture changed the way you approach the world?
Studying in Argentina was an incredible way to further develop my language skills and it showed me how diverse a culture that is often lumped together under "Spanish-speaking" can be, especially when compared with my time abroad in Nicaragua during high school. As a future arts educator, it's taught me firsthand the incredible amount of depth within cultures across the globe, especially within the arts, and the possibilities to demonstrate that reality in classrooms in the United States.
How has learning abroad enriched your life?
I'm about to pursue my master's in arts education at the University of Minnesota and my Spanish skills will be important as I begin my career in teaching to better support Spanish-speaking students and to allow other students a window into a culture different than their own for the greater development of empathy.
What advice do you have for students who are thinking about studying abroad?
Being abroad puts you outside your comfort zone constantly, which is incredible for growing as a person, but it isn't easy. Create a little bit of a routine for yourself, whether that's journaling before you get out of bed in the morning or going on a run each day; it will be great for your mental and physical health and allows you to be your best self each day, even on the days that are difficult.
This interview was conducted by an undergraduate student in CLAgency. Meet the team.