Understanding Cultural Differences
Traveling internationally to study another language comes with challenges of unfamiliar dialect, culture, and independence, but students who have taken the leap insist that others should do the same.
In this question-and-answer series, seven students and alumni of the Spanish and Portuguese studies department share how their learning abroad experiences enriched their lives both academically and personally. For some of them, scholarships made the opportunity possible.
These students reflect on their time abroad and describe how they see the experience impacting their futures. Whether it was visiting a palace in Granada or late-night conversations with host parents, these experiences helped produce globally-minded citizens with the tenacity to immerse themselves in another language and culture.
This story was written by an undergraduate student in CLAgency. Meet the team.
Become a Global Citizen
Ali Oosterhuis chose a learning abroad program in Ecuador that she knew would challenge her—and it paid off. “No other experience will teach you so much about the vast diversity that exists in the world,” she says. Read Ali's story.
Three Opportunities Abroad
Joseph Rojas learned abroad in three countries and three languages. He discusses how his experiences in Brazil, Venezuela, and France informed his career path. “Adaptability and flexibility are two of the greatest skills I learned as a result of studying abroad.” Read Joseph's story.
The Beauty of Human Connection
Issraa El-Khatib spent summer 2018 working an internship in Toledo, Spain and taking a course on Christian, Muslim, and Jewish art. She talks about the significance of connecting with classmates, professors, a host family, and her religion. “As a Muslim, it gave me a sense of familiarity and pride in a country that had seemed so foreign to me before,” she says. Read Issraa's story.
The First Step in a Globally Focused Career
Margaret Anderson spent spring 2018 in São Paulo, Brazil participating in traveling seminars to the São Paulo state coast, the northern state of Bahia, and to an indigenous village in São Paulo City. Her learning abroad experience was crucial to bridging the cultural differences that she expects to find in her future career. Read Margaret's story.
Gain New Perspectives
For Jacob Dixon, studying in Maputo, Mozambique confirmed a desire to teach Portuguese and opened up interests in the greater Lusophone world. Support from the Institute for Global Studies and the US Department of Education made his program possible. Read Jacob's story.
Study Abroad Leads to Unimaginable Growth
Regan Luker discusses her learning abroad experiences in Toledo, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal and reflects on how they informed her career path in international business. Her time abroad pushed her to “forge deeper relationships with those who come from another culture.” Read Regan's story.
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 participate in learning abroad. By honing her Spanish skills, Treiber hopes to further her intercultural competence as she pursues a master's in arts education. Read Greta's story.