I had an incredible experience immersing myself in Spanish culture. My favorite memory was getting to live with a host family, who cooked for me and taught me about lifestyle and culture in Barcelona, Spain. It did not feel like I was just 'visiting' Barcelona for six weeks, it felt like I got to 'live' in Barcelona, attempting to fully take on the identity of a local rather than a tourist. I loved going to my classes as well. I loved getting to see Spanish professor's teaching style and their passion for their heritage and culture. Overall, I had an amazing experience with memories that I will cherish forever.
I did not expect to grow such an appreciation for Iowa State while I was gone. I loved every minute of traveling and classes abroad, but I also gained a lot of perspective. I realized that traveling is rewarding and incredible, but nothing compares to memories with your friends and family back home. I loved being a student in Barcelona, Spain, but I would not trade any minute of my trip abroad for the privilege that it is to be a student Iowa State University.
The most memorable experience was saying goodbye to my host family. We celebrated with traditional Spanish desserts, and my roommate and I each wrote letters to them. They showed us so much kindness and hospitality that I will always be grateful for.
What did you not expect?
I realized how empowering it can be to be fully independent. I was forced to navigate a city and classes in a foreign language, and it was very rewarding when I succeeded. I learned how to be strong and face challenges on my own, and this will serve me well when difficulties come my way. I learned how to problem solve, believe in myself, and not be afraid to ask questions, all of which I will carry into my professional life.
What advice would you give?
I cannot express enough encouragement to study abroad. I think college is such an important transitional time in your life, with flexibility and freedom to go on life-changing experiences like studying abroad. I believe studying abroad is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons, gain perspective, and learn about yourself.
How has this experience impacted your life?
I feel like I am a more appreciative and well-rounded person because of this experience. I got to learn so much about Spanish language and culture, which will be very beneficial as I am pursuing a career in healthcare. I now have more knowledge and confidence to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients, which is so valuable and important to me as a medical professional. I also gained perspective and appreciation for my community in Ames, Iowa. Like I said, I loved every minute of being abroad and am so grateful for all that I saw and learned. However, I realized that nothing compares to sharing memories and experiences with friends and loved ones back home. I know this bettered me on a personal level and I believe it will make me a more empathetic and compassionate healthcare worker one day.
How did you learn about this experience?
I learned about this international opportunity through the use of the Iowa State study abroad offices. I met with them and they assisted me in finding this program and applying. They were super knowledgable and attentive to my student needs.International Connections