Alexia is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Spain
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I knew from the moment I chose to come to St. Ben's that I was going to study abroad. Initially I wanted to go abroad to improve my language abilities. As I explored my options I became more excited about the opportunities to gain a global perspective and experience new cultures. I chose to go to Spain because I knew I wanted to go on a Spanish Language program. While all of the Spanish programs were appealing, I was excited to travel to Europe and return to Spain, as I had visited there briefly during High School.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While I had many amazing experiences during my semester in Spain, I can't forget the memory of my first night in Segovia. I had been flying and traveling for many hours the night and day before, and even after a short siesta I was still tired. My host parents insisted on taking me out for a "paseo" around town before dinner. A paseo is basically a walk through town, but in Segovia everyone goes out about the same time, so it is a huge social event. I even saw other people from my group around town with their host parents. Seeing all the people out around town, and still lit up from the Tres Magos holidays made me realize what a special place Segovia is.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My experience was amazing. That seems a pretty generic word, but there really aren't sufficient words to explain it. I learned, I grew, and I formed relationships I will never forget. For me, living with a host family was the highlight of the Spain program. I loved my host parents. They spent time talking with me, teaching me, and helping me as I settled in to my life in a new country. They are just one example of how much I learned from the people I met and the things I saw while I was in Spain.
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?
Study Abroad has more benefits than I am even aware of I'm sure. My Spanish improved more than would ever be possible without being immersed in the language. I also had the opportunity to teach English while I was abroad, which is something I plan to do in the future. Beyond the concrete, measurable growths I experienced in language and my career, I grew as a person. I am more confident in myself and my abilities after my experiences in Spain.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Jump in! Go for it. Wherever you go, you will be pushed and you will grow. The most growth will come from opening yourself up to change and new experiences. So don't hold back, and make the most of your experience.
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