Angela is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad to gain a cultural experience and grow as a person and a student. I decided to go to Chile because I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and Chile seemed like the best fit for my personal and academic goals. I had also already traveled to Spain and Guatemala, and I wanted to experience another part of the world.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Every day was a cultural experience because I lived with a host family. One of the most rich cultural experiences was participating in the celebration of Fiestas Patrias, the celebration of Chilean independence. It was filled with Chilean customs; typical food and drink, dancing and games, typical Chilean attire, and spending time with family and friends. I learned a lot about the culture, and it was a very fun week of festivities with my family.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had a wonderful experience studying abroad in Chile. I had a very caring and generous host family that treated me like a daughter from the very beginning. I became very close with my fellow Bennies and Johnnies, and I am so excited to maintain those friendships at CSB/SJU. I also became friends with many other students from Chile, from different parts of the United States, and from European countries that I look forward to staying in touch with. Overall, it was an irreplaceable semester filled with cultural learning, academic learning, personal growth, and new lifelong friendships.
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?
Being abroad allowed me to significantly improve my Spanish language abilities. I feel very confident in my ability to communicate in Spanish and I plan to use my skills to volunteer in an ESL program in the St. Cloud area. A semester abroad separated me from my best friends which gave me the opportunity to form strong friendships with the people on my trip, my host family, and other friends at the university. Study abroad is an experience that has given me another perspective and made me more culturally knowledgeable, which is valuable in the professional world. I have gained language skills, people skills, cultural knowledge, and matured and developed as a person and a student, all of which have furthered my professional development.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I suggest that you embrace every opportunity wholeheartedly. You will get out of the experience as much as you put in to it. Immerse yourself in the language and culture, embrace your family, be open and friendly to everyone. Stay connected with your family and friends, but don't waste too much time missing home. Go out and experience the place you are. Take risks!