Majors: Spanish, Public Relations
Program: International Studies Abroad
Where: Mexico, Peru & Argentina
When: Fall 2006
Favorite Course: Advanced Spanish Grammar
Best Excursion: Iquitos, the Peruvian Jungle on the Amazon
Favorite Dish: Tuna Crepes or Scrambled Egg and Cheese Torta, both from Mexico
Next Destination: I won’t know until I buy the plane ticket!
How did you fund your study abroad experience?
I never let my financial situation stop me from studying abroad. I would have gone even if I had to take out additional loans. However, thanks to Temple’s Global Scholarship and the Institute of International Education’s Gilman scholarship, paying for my program was easy. These were the first two scholarships I had ever applied for, and I was overjoyed when I learned that I won them both. I strongly encourage all students that qualify to do the same. Applying for those scholarships was not very difficult, and it is all definitely worth it in the end.
How was the experience of studying the language in the classroom prior to studying abroad different from the experience of studying the language in and outside of the classroom once you were abroad?
Nothing compares to studying Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country, especially if you have the chance to visit more than one Latin American country. I feel far more well-versed and prepared to communicate with natives. There are various Spanish dialects, and I had the rare opportunity to learn many of them while studying in Mexico, Peru, and Argentina. I would have never gained such knowledge had I limited my education to in-class teachings. Everything from shopping, navigating the city, and living with host families contributed greatly to my speaking ability. Learning Spanish in high school and college was definitely an excellent start but my acquisition would not have been complete without my study abroad experience, what I consider a necessity for anyone studying a foreign language.
Who will you remember most from your study abroad experience and why?
It has been months since my semester abroad ended, and I still stay in contact with all the other students from my program. Considering the nature of my program was a tour of Latin America, the only constant from the beginning to the very end was the group. Of course we had our moments of friction, but we were a family. There were only nine of us, and we grew very close during those three and a half months.