CEA Directory

Find alumni ambassadors by:

Abbey Edmonson

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

Where do I even begin? My favorite course was Mass Media in London. Basically, the course was meant to compare the similarities and differences between American and British media. A lot of the class time was spent going on excursions around London and/or meeting people involved in the media. We got to speak with several impressive people who had a lot of great information for us! One of our more decorated lecturers was Josh Berger, the president of Warner Brothers Entertainment! This class definitely provided me with a more diverse network and a more confident approach to speaking with professionals. I also happen to major in Journalism, so studying media was right up my alley.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

I’ve grown up in Mississippi my entire life, and I now go to college in the same state. I haven’t ever experienced living anywhere other than Mississippi for periods longer than a week. Of course, I’d gone abroad before, but it was only ever with a guided tour and family members. Going abroad long term, completely alone, I’d never felt more like myself. I didn’t know a single soul coming into it, and I think that that was really good for me. It made me realize how small my worldview was, and it also made me appreciate what I had back at home. Of course I missed my friends and family, and of course I was excited to see them again, but actually being on my own for the first time ever was like a breath of fresh air. It put a lot of things into perspective.

 

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Abigail Haley

Alumni Ambassador
1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
During my first few weeks in Paris, I made sure to head out on my own as often as possible. This exercise in self-confidence had me learning the French language, style, and manner before ever even stepping foot in the classroom. As I adjusted to my new learning community I found the CEA Staff to be valuable resources for my cross cultural journey. They introduced me to places, dishes and activities that were beyond my knowledge as a traveller. I also developed some close relationships with fellow students who gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and into the local culture.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad (and my favorite course of my college career) was 19th Century Art: Impressionism and Post Impressionism. This art course was catered to the city, and often took place in museums, exhibitions and installations. This interactive way of learning made the city come alive. It reminded me that places at home are worth exploring as well, and gave me an appreciation for places and things I'd dismissed as mundane instead of familiar. This new perspective reinvigorated my passion for making the arts accessible for everyone; I enjoyed this class so much I want others to experience the same joy through learning.
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Alexandra Isabell

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has personally and professionally enriched me because it changed the way I interact with others and even the manner of my self talk. The experience of going abroad allows one to become closer to themselves by observing themself in a new environment. I learned how to intereact with people different from myself, sometimes without sharing a common language! I learned how to respect the space of others even when the definition of respect changes between our cultures. There is so much that I learned abroad that I carry with me each day. Most importantly, it is curiosity, compassion, and a love for people and art that reminds me of my time abroad.

 

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

Honestly, because I can't stop thinking of Paris. I traveled from CEA in the Marais to CDG and home to the USA on May 11th, 2018. A year later I cannot be more gratful for my experience with CEA. I miss my professors and the material they taught with intention and passion. I miss doing something new, and something scary every single day, but having the best day ever. Since my time abroad, I find myself speaking about the experiences and the cultural value I have pulled from them constantly. I reccomend study abroad to every student I have the chance to and I would love to be able to do this more formally as an Alumni Ambassador for CEA. Lastly, I want to be an Alumni Amabssador because I want to put the 1,000s of brilliant photographs I took abroad to use and share more of my insight with future CEA students.

 

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Alexis O'Sullivan

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

While abroad, I had an internship. Through my boss, a Parisian native, I was able to learn the best spots to eat and shop. By getting insight into their food and fashion, I was able to better understand the local culture. I also loved to sit at a cafe, people watching and practicing my French with the waiters. Observing Parisians from a cafe, a quintessential part of Parisian culture, helped me immerse myself in my new home.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experienced has shaped me both professionally and personally. It inspired me to take a position at the study abroad office at my college so I can help others have the same incredible experience that I did. It has helped me on job interviews because I have many unique experiences to discuss It also helped challenge me to be more responsible and independent. It made me more comfortable with being myself and doing things on my own.

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Alice Johnson

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture? 
I came into Florence with no idea what to expect. I hadn't traveled much before going to Italy and the only culture I experienced in my life is the native Alaskan culture from my hometowns. This experience was unique in the fact that I was living within the culture. I was not just living in an Italian apartment but also meeting new people from around the world every day. I met Italian people my age and was able to tell them about American "culture" while they recommended the best places to go to eat, etc.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course while I was abroad was my Family Business class. My teacher was very interactive and I responded to that style well. The class information related to me because I am taking over my family business and I was able to receive insight into how to go about that. Also, I was able to read about a family business then go and see it. For example, we read about the Ferrari family business, then the next weekend, as a class we went to Modena and visited the Ferrari museum.
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Alicia Bowers

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Experiencing the local culture abroad started with getting to know my host family, asking questions about their day to day lives in Seville, the traditional cuisine and the holidays they celebrate. Additionally, I attempted to be involved in school activities as much as possible, I joined a recreational volleyball team at UPO there I met a lot people including some local people who were from Seville who became my friends and intercambios. Lastly, I made sure I attended local festivals like Semana Santa and Feria this is where I was able to really immerse myself in the local culture.

2.  Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

During my time here in Seville I had time to think about how I would like to leverage my experience abroad, one of the ways I would like to do this is encourage other students study abroad, especially students of color and low-income students. I think study abroad is something more students should experience in college. I would like to be a resource for other students who are considering studying abroad.

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Anastasia Kingsley

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your best tips for practicing language while abroad? 
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions. Most locals will appreciate your effort to speak their native language with them, even if you mess up. The best way to really become comfortable and fluent with a language is to practice speaking it, so take every opportunity you can to practice in different settings, whether that’s in the classroom, with your host family, or out in public. And be confident! Don’t rely on that one friend who you *think* is better at speaking than everyone else. Give your best effort yourself. 
Also, if you live with a host family, take advantage of conversations you can have with them. In my experience, I found that I had the most diverse kinds of conversation with my host family about everything from politics and religion to culture, food, and music, if you do it respectfully and with an open mind. It’s a safe space to practice both speaking and listening, and to pick up so much new vocabulary.

2. What would you say to others who are considering studying abroad? 
Study abroad can be a life-changing experience, but it really depends on what you make out of it. You have the opportunity to grow as a person, but it all depends on your attitude. The world is a really big place; anywhere you go you’ll find amazing places to see, things to do, new foods to try, people to meet and you’ll do unexpected things you never thought you would do. More than just taking a culture class or learning a new language, study abroad will make you more open-minded, give you a new perspective on the world, and help you understand other people and cultures better. 

3. Favorite class?
The Transition: From Franco’s Dictatorship to the Democracy of Today’s Spain
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Angela D'Amato

Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad? 
I would tell a friend to study abroad because it is a life-changing experience. There is so much more to the world than just America and what we're used to. Not only are you able to learn about a new culture but you also find out more about yourself. It doesn't matter where you study because no location is the same and each place will teach you many different things that you can't learn anywhere else. Study abroad has been one of the greatest experience in my life and I highly recommend looking at all the different places that are available and seeing where the world could take you.
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Anjali Patel

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I experienced many cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K.. Some of those differences I found while I was in London include drinking tea, differences in words, the quietness of British people, the amount of drinking, etc. For the most part, I was not surprised by these cultural differences because I had and have family who live in London and have gone there a few times before. However, I did start assimilating to some cultural norms, such as drinking tea. I was never a fan of tea until I went to London and almost everyone British person would offer me to. From then on, tea became a part of my every day routine. Drinking was also something that I knew about but I did not know the extent to which it went. My internship would have work related events where people would get so drunk that they would go to the hospital or pass out at the event. I have never been a big drinker, so no matter where I went I limited how much I drank but I assimilated to the cultural norm. These are just some examples of how I experienced the local culture while studying in London.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experienced changed me for the better. I became so much more open as a person when I didn’t used to be before. In London, many of the students would strive up conversations with me without even knowing me and that boosted a lot of my confidence. Also, have an internship and being in a professional setting allowed me to open up, as well. Career wise, the fact that I did an internship abroad will definitely look good on my resume. Just the fact that I studied abroad will look good on my resume. This will make my internship search a whole lot more easier because I have differentiated myself from 95% of the other applicants.

 

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Anna Sullivan

Alumni Ambassador

1.How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Whether it was walking alongside Galway's lively Shop Street or exploring nearby abandoned castles, I made a goal for myself to find the hidden gems of the city. I also sought out recommendations from my Irish housemates and from other locals to immerse myself in the culture.

 

2. What do you had wish you'd known before going abroad?

Before studying abroad I wish I would have known the amount of on-site support CEA provides. In Ireland, my on-site director held multiple events for our group to bond and he was able to be contacted at anytime. He provided enough support for all of his students to feel comfortable exploring the local culture while providing resources in case we were homesick and to learn about the Irish culture.

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Becky Fox

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course was Cultural Values & Stereotypes: Spain & the U.S. This being partly because of the course but mostly because of the teacher. Mary Alice organized it in a way for us to discuss what we're observing. We were taught concepts and theories, but most of the class involved discussions. I learned a lot about the culture in Sevilla, in Spain, and around Europe. We would start every class, with the question, “Did anyone encounter an interesting cultural experience?” This allowed us to really think about what we were encountering and ask ourselves why we thought it was different. I loved comparing stories with everyone in the class and learning about the small cultural differences we probably wouldn’t have noticed, if not being asked this question. This class was something spectacular. I am a Sociology major, meaning a lot of my classes delve into other cultures and people. Though, I have not been a part of a class as successful as this one. Yes, I was physically in another culture but it was more than that. We were taught to be global compassionate citizens and to really appreciate the differences we were encountering, whether we liked them or not.
2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad with CEA?  
There is a lot I would say but first, I would talk about the staff and especially the on-site staff I had. I was blown away with the help I got before I left, and even more blown away with the assistance I got while in Spain. Not only did our on-site staff care about making sure we could get around and have our things in order; they cared about us. I was greeted warmly every day by our on-site staff and they were likely to strike up a conversation with you about how you were doing or what your plans were for the weekend. We had our CEA excursion to Morocco. This trip opened my mind and my heart to the cultures around me, even those I might haven’t even known existed. If it wasn’t for CEA I wouldn’t have had this opportunity, and if it wasn't for our staff it wouldn't have been as special. They knew just how to prepare us and pose questions we could really think about, while we were there. Overall, I would express my gratitude for CEA and the unique sense of family I got while being a part of this program.
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Benjamin Shoemaker

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad?
My favorite course was my computer engineering class. It's one of those classes that you know has been gifted by the lucky stairs: the teacher is nice, you enjoy the class, and you clearly just met your new best friend from Germany.

2.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
Personally, my study abroad experience has shaped me to be a dynamic person that is no longer stagnant on the whistle blow. It has taught me that when they raise that whistle, you have to be ready to go.
As for my career, it has definitely taught me to be a better leader. Leading a class exercise is one thing, but navigating Prague decisively and clearly with the people in your group is a whole other challenge and I am proud to usefully bring that to the table at any job.
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Brianna Bence

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course by far was International Marketing with Damien Kelly. Our class was relatively small with about twelve students, and not only was the course extremely interesting, but he made it so much fun. Marketing is my field of study, and as I am interested in the international workplace, this course made sense for me to take. Not only did I learn so much, but I was challenged with real-world situations to think through and activities and field trips with the class that made the information stick so well. One day we just went to a nearby store and answered questions about how it was set up and the marketing they used, while another day we played a "game" for the entire class about trading and using resources and time wisely in order to gain an advantage. Although we worked hard and had multiple presentations and exams, I learned so much more about marketing, and am so grateful for the lessons learned through International Marketing.

2. Talk about how you experienced the local culture while abroad

Two days after arriving in Dublin, I visited a local church right in the city, and this ended up being an incredible way to experience the local culture and immerse myself in the Dublin way of life. Most Sundays I ended up spending at least half the day with these new friends, many of whom had lived in Ireland their entire lives. We would go to pubs, have a backyard barbecue, see a new Irish movie, and explore the local restaurants and cities. This was an amazing way to get a view into the life of a Dubliner and to get to live alongside them as well. One of my friends and I also decided to set up a weekly "tea time" in the city, and by the end of the semester we had been able to visit eleven different tea shops throughout Dublin. Tea is a huge part of the Irish culture, and this was a really neat and unique way to be a part of it and feel like a local as we sipped our pots of tea and bit into our fresh scone with butter and homemade jam. One of my favorite things to do on nice days was simply to take a walk to Phoenix park and join the families, couples, and students on the grass and bring a book to read or study. Little things like these made me feel so much more at home in my new environment, and it helped me adapt so quickly to the Irish culture.

 

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Bridgette Stolyar

Alumni Ambassador

1. What do you wish you had known before going?

Have. No. Expectations. Your experience will be a thousand times more positive if you aren't anticipating what almost every single person anticipates: "Oh my gosh, will it be the best time of my life or will I struggle to find friends and feel lonely?" That is not something to worry about at all! Once you allow yourself to be open-minded and receptive to friendly people, making friends and enjoying the culture only gets easier and easier. Studying abroad is the most beneficial thing you can do for your individual character, just relax!!!!

 

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

Studying abroad will give your life a whole new meaning with different experiences, memories, hardships and successes. Studying abroad with CEA will make your journey smooth as butter, as they will help you with every single step, including assistance with courses at your home university, provide your housing options, and offer scholarships to help with your finances. Beyond that, CEA makes being alone in a foreign country less stressful at the host-country by helping you get acclimated to your neighborhood and the city, plans incredible trips that are included in your tuition, and the on-site staff is always ready to answer any possible question you could have!

 

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Brigid Nealon

Alumni Ambassador
1. Talk about how you experienced the local culture while abroad?
I decided to study in Aix-en-Provence to improve my French language skills. Every time I stepped out the door, I was immersed in the French culture, language, and lifestyle. I ate French food, spoke with French people, and shopped in French stores. I had the incredible opportunity to authentically live a lifestyle other than the one I was so comfortable living in.
2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?  If you are ready for an adventure far out of your comfort zone, study abroad is for you. If you want to improve your language skills, study abroad is for you. If you want to expand your knowledge, study abroad is for you. You will learn about the world and about who you are. It is challenging, but worth it. The more you put into your experience, the more you will take away from it.
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Brittany Fernandes

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Prior to my study abroad experience, I always pursued unfamiliar endeavors with an undercurrent of uncertainty. Throughout this semester, each endeavor I pursued moved me further outside the bounds of my comfort zone. These experiences helped me to develop confidence and a sense of independence. I also saw myself adapting and being flexible in the face of unforeseen events, whereas in the past it could be a source of concern. Through the immersive experience of my home stay, I was able to experience French culture directly and improved my French fluency. The exposure to different perspectives through my classes at SKEMA and my home stay allowed me to develop tolerance and open-mindedness. Each opportunity allowed me to ask the questions necessary to understand the perspectives that led to the different interpretations. These various traits are invaluable to a current job seeker within any career field.

 

2 .If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

Selecting CEA as your study abroad provider allows the necessities to taken care of. CEA provides guidance over the course of your application, program acceptance, and during your time spent abroad. Through CEA, the housing options are situated relatively close to areas frequented by the area’s locals and the area’s student population. The CEA organized excursions that will offer participants the opportunity to visit regional sites of interest that may be more difficult for students to visit independently. The Program Director is also an amazing resource if problems occur or if you have any questions. When I mentioned my interest in volunteering within the community, our Program Director was able to introduce me to an organization’s local director. I was able to start the following week! CEA is a provider that will get you situated in your study abroad location. Throughout the semester, you will constantly have access to resources and professional staff who will help you make the most of your experience!

 

 

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Caitlin Cain

Alumni Ambassador

1. What do you wish you had known before going?

One thing I wish I had known before studying abroad would be to really make sure you are financially secure and really plan a budget for your trip. Bigger cities in Europe are very expensive and while you will encounter very cheap flights and suddenly you want to travel everywhere every weekend, you have to take into account how much actually being in the cities (fun, food, hostels, transportation) is going to cost. Those things add up quickly. Nearing the end of our study abroad my roommate, who did not budget efficiently enough at the beginning of our trip, ended up running out of money and had to cancel trips and stop going out around Sevilla with us because she could no longer keep up with the payment schedule she had set up with CEA. Before you go abroad look at the higher end of the budget that CEA gives on the website and shoot for that. Pick out the top places you would want to travel to and plan a budget accordingly.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me into a more confident, independent, and capable person. It helped me improve my skills with intercultural and cross-cultural communication as well as with my language skills. Because I was living in a complete different country in a completely different culture, I feel I am able to problem solve faster and more efficiently using different methods and have found myself to be way more adaptable than I was before. I have been able to find my way around foreign countries alone with a language barrier, with little knowledge of the customs, where I did not know a single person, and I was robbed or lost. As I would like to be a study abroad advisor as my career learning to communicate effectively across cultures and to learn a language and just being apart of a study abroad program including all the traveling I did was extremely helpful to my future career goals.

 

 

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Cate Lewellyn

Alumni Ambassador
1.  What are your tips for learning the language? 
I would recommend that US students try to interact with the local students. It may be difficult to put yourself out there, especially with the language barrier, but you could make a lifelong friend while improving your language skills. Additionally, I would recommend living with a host family. Although I enjoyed the apartment I stayed in, living with fellow Americans does not give you as much of a daily opportunity to practice speaking a foreign language as a host family would.
2. What would you say to students considering studying abroad with CEA? 
You should study abroad with CEA because they have the best resources. Whether it be help with your student visa, questions about local culture, or program costs, there is always someone readily available to help. CEA Alicante was a smaller group of students, which I liked better because I got to know everyone really well. CEA helps create a home away from home for you, something that other programs sometimes don't get right.
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Destiny Evans

Alumni Ambassador
1.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
I am more outgoing and not so timid after going abroad. I feel like now I have more of a voice and opinion.

2. What are your tips for practicing the language?
Try your hardest to not speak your native language, switch your phone to the language that you're practicing.
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Eliza Jason

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 
My favorite course abroad was History of Art II. I selected the course to fulfill a General Education requirement at my home university and expected to do merely that. What I found was that this course not only ignite a love for art, it allowed me to experience my temporary home in a beautiful and unique way. My instructor, a Czech woman, was undeniably passionate about what she was teaching. From the initial moments of the class her excitement was contagious. Each class period, she would lecture for the first hour or so of the class, and then the remaining one or two hours was spent walking around the city to view local architecture, visit museums, or attend exhibits that physically illustrated the concepts she was teaching. Throughout the semester, I marveled at my newfound appreciation for art and architecture. In my weekend travels I was excited to visit a particular museum to see a piece we had discussed, so I could return and share with my professor. I was highly impressed by her ability to express complex words, phrases, and topics in English, her non-native tongue.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
My study abroad experience has impacted me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined. I am a Media Communications major with a Writing minor and my career goal is to use media and its influence to positively communicate with one another and the world. My study abroad experience broadened my career objectives to include the global scope. Because of my international education I have considered how I might incorporate my love for travel and cultural exchange with my passion for sharing with one another through media. I have begun researching post-grad media opportunities abroad and considered how useful they could be for my professional development. My study abroad experience empowered me to be an independent, brave, and well-traveled global citizen who understands that the best way to create peace in the world begins when we respect the cultural practices of one another. I now see the interaction of global awareness with my personal vocation and plan to use it in positive ways.
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Emma Hammerson

Alumni Insider
1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 
While abroad I truly immersed myself. I am fluent in Spanish and that aspect definitely contributed to my immersion in Spain. I would go to coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants frequently and just sit and try and talk to the waiters and servers to get to know the area and locals. Additionally, I lived in a "casa" and therefore we had house parents. I would talk to them often and always asked about Sevillano life, customs, and traditions. Lastly, I took most of my classes at the Universidad de Sevilla and there I introduced myself to the Spanish students and made friends with quite a few of them which helped me get to know the local culture.
2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was Women in Art which I took at the University of Sevilla. This class was my favorite for a multitude of reasons. My professor was passionate about art and all of the artists we learned about. My class was small, and therefore more intimate, and it was more discussion-based which really helped my speaking skills. Additionally, my professor took us on field trips once a week around Sevilla and pointed out all of the different aspects of art in the city. We also went to different museums, like Bellas Artes, and I loved having someone help me understand the art in the museum. I would recommend it to anyone!
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Gabrielle Ciuteikis

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Outside of attending university at the University of Seville, I was able to maximize my experiences in Seville thanks to the CEA staff. Living with a host family was a great option for me. Every evening we would eat dinner together. This gave us an opportunity to talk about our daily experiences, and also to share our hidden gems of the city. My host-mother would often take us out to “tapear”, to have tapas, several times during the semester. Each time we went out, I let her order what she knew was good at these specific places. Her daughter also introduced me to leisure activities including snowboarding. It was mind-blowing to find out that the Sierra Nevada was only a couple hours away from Seville. These little experiences accumulated to one beautiful cultural immersion. 
 
I also made friends at “intercambio sessions”, where Spanish university students came to the CEA center to practice their English while we practiced our Spanish. It was a pleasant way to make Spanish friends, since it may be difficult to do so sometimes. My “intercambio” friends were very welcoming in Sevilla. They showed their local perspective of the city. There were many times where we would just get a tapa, or enjoy a walk in the park while practicing Spanish! I learned so much history about Seville’s customs and traditions through my friends and was fortunate enough to experience Holy Week and Fair of Seville with them. Since these two holidays are the most important in Seville, it was nice to learn more about these traditional holidays from Sevillens themselves. 
 
Lastly, I made sure to do my part in immersing myself into the culture. Since Seville is known for people “living on the streets” because they spend so much time out and about, I did it myself. I spent a lot of my free time in romanticized parks that always had new flowers blooming, and by the river that always brought peace to mind. While drawing in one of the parks early in the semester, I met an Argentinian student that was also an international student in Seville. We coincidentally became close friends which was another fun way to experience the culture there. We were both international students, but whenever we would spend time together walking around or in museums, my friend Juanita would always tell me about similarities she sees between Argentinian and Spanish culture. This was an unexpected great way to learn more about Sevillen culture.

 

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students? 

One of the most important pieces of advice to carry around with you during the study abroad experience is to not be afraid to speak the language. The CEA staff are very supportive making sure that if you have the desire to practice the language, they will always engage in the conversation. The professors at both the CEA center and any other university you attend classes in are already accustomed to students learning and bettering their skills in the foreign language. They are here only to help you, especially knowing how much effort you put to come all the way to a foreign country. 
 
In my case, I felt very comfortable speaking to staff and professors just because I know they are here for us students. On the flip side it was difficult for me to break out of my shell while talking to locals in daily scenarios like ordering at a cafe. I think that the dialect being very different than what I am used to intimidated me. I knew that I should be taking advantage of my time here, therefore I just tried to speak my best. Being able to practice Spanish in class and outside was an opportunity only available while studying abroad. Living with a host family had also helped to hear colloquial Spanish. We would talk about a range of topics at the dinner table which expanded my vocabulary just by spending time with the family. You will be surprised as to how much you can improve your foreign language ability by consistently listening and practicing with the environment around you.
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Hannah Valente

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was History of the Papacy with Eric Walters. The amount of history that this course involves is incredible. As a Theology Major in Rome, I could not have taken a more amazing course that has allowed me to truly understand the Papacy beginning with St. Peter and up to Pope Francis!

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me into a person who loves to travel and explore new cultures. As I was studying abroad, I applied through Providence College to teach for 6 weeks in Sydney, Australia. Without how comfortable I felt studying in Italy and traveling around Europe, I would never have the confidence to apply for this Fellowship. With the skills I acquired abroad, I truly feel like I can do anything, even maybe move back to Rome!

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Jeremy Dolezal-Ng

Alumni Insider
1. Talk about how you experienced the local culture while abroad.  
The local culture I experienced in Seville was eye-opening and exciting. One of my favorite things in life is food, so getting to experience Spain's famed tapas dishes was incredible. Being able to explore small servings of spanish tortilla, croquetas de jamon, and patatas bravas on the first day was a great introduction to the local cuisine. 
Another fun cultural experience was getting to enjoy flamenco shows. CEA provided students with an excellent showing of Flamenco in the Triana neighborhood. We were able to watch 3 performers show us how it's done and engage with them with cheers and applause. On my last day in Seville, my family and I located a free flamenco show in the central neighborhood. The dancers and singers put their heart into each performance as a crowd of all Sevillanos enjoyed it.
2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course was ARCH 460- Architecture and Painting in Seville. I got to learn about why Seville looks the way it does today. Not only that, we got to learn a bit of history of the city through connecting famous painters like Velazquez and Murillo to the development of Spanish culture. Probably the best part about the class was the way I got to study. For our final exam, one of the parts was a walking final where we went around random areas of Seville and answered questions about the buildings. To study for this, I walked around the whole city with my friend, enjoying different Tapas bars as we strolled and pointing out key elements of the Seville architecture around us. We weren't confined to studying in a library or reading a book. Our class knowledge was all around us.
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Jonathan DeMarco

Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
My study abroad experience has shaped me in more ways than I ever thought it would. You hear of kids coming back from their time abroad calling it “life-changing” and you roll your eyes thinking “we get - you were in Europe,” but it truly is a transformative experience. I am so independent now, far more outgoing and willing to meet and talk to anyone. I am more confident than I ever was, I can plan and execute travel with ease, and I see more clearly now what is important to me in my life. My time abroad has influenced my career path as well. I know with certainty now that I want my job to include travelling, and not just office work. Not only is the life experience incomparable to what I may have learned in the classroom setting at my home university, I am a more versatile student now because I have learned to balance academics with travelling with budgeting with cooking and maintaining an apartment.

2. What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?

The way that we live as Americans, means that almost everybody you know will graduate with a degree and then move on to their full time job with 40 hours a week and two weeks off a year. When in life will you ever have the chance to spend between 4 months to a year in your destination of choice to truly immerse in a different culture and have the opportunity to do all the travelling your wallet will allow without consequence? It’s an experience that will shape who you are for the rest of your life, teach you things that 10 years of university could not, and let you find out who you really are and what you really want to do in life. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I recommend without hesitation to everyone.
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Jonathan Heller

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course was probably either Spanish Civilization and Culture or International Business. I loved learning about the history of Spain and how Franco's dictatorship still affects Spain to this day. That being said, in International Business, it was so interesting learning about how businesses I am familiar with and often use, have tried to expand themselves across the globe, and either failed terribly or succeeded greatly. It was also interesting to learn how much research truly needs to go into the globalization of a corporation.

 

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

I would first tell them about where I studied and how much I loved Barcelona and Spain as a whole. For CEA specifically, I would tell them how accommodating CEA is to everyone's needs and how they tend to people's issues or feedback in a quick and efficient manner. I would tell them that Fridays are off, which allows students to travel on weekends and gives time to explore Barcelona. Professors are nice and are very understanding that while we are there to study, they understand that we are also there to experience the culture and the new environment.

 

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Kaitlyn Reif

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

The most important thing about learning another language is to swallow your pride and to just practice, practice, and practice. Everyone says that submersion is the best way to learn a language, and it truly is. I 100% underestimated how difficult it is to learn another language, so living in Spain was a good reality check for me to realize how little Spanish I truly knew. To learn another language, you need to accept failure immediately, and I mean this in the best way possible. Accept that you are going to mess up, say the wrong words, and even forget words, but do not get embarrassed or discouraged. Making mistakes is part of learning, and you need to know that you are not going to be a perfect, fluent speaker right off the bat. Try, try, and try again. Do not be scared to practice another language because locals do appreciate you trying and learning. Many times, the locals were just as bad at English as I was at Spanish, so it was fun to try to communicate in one another’s language. Practice makes perfect, so do not be shy!

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I surprised myself with how much I loved my archaeology class. This class was about the ancient societies that developed and thrived around the Mediterranean. I already love history, but as I mentioned, I initially did not know much about Europe. This class helped me with learning the geography of Europe and its history as well. As I traveled, this class helped me with the history of the cities that I visited. I honestly do not think that I would have enjoyed Athens or Rome as much as I did had I not taken this class and learned about the history behind these ancient towns and their people. My archaeology class was only about 20 students and was split with about half of the students being locals and the other half being study abroad students from many different countries. I enjoyed getting to know my classmates just as much as I did learning.

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Kate Moo

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I took two courses in Rome: one centered around engineering (Principles of Engineering Materials) and one culturally-centered elective (Art & Archaeology of Ancient Rome). Though I enjoyed the former, the Art and Archaeology course was definitely my favorite! The course was structured so that every class (except for two sessions) took place on-site at a museum or archaeological/historical location in or around Rome. In three weeks, we visited the Trajan Forum, Hadrian’s Villa, the Pantheon, Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla, Ara Pacis, Old Jewish Ghetto, Vatican Museums, and many more…all at no out-of-pocket cost at the student. The assignments in the class were also creatively-centered and focused on what each student wanted to investigate, whether it be a statue at Palazzo Altemps or an aspect of ancient Roman culture. In all, paired with a passionate and extremely knowledgeable instructor, Art and Archaeology was an immersive and highly effective course that not only taught the subject matter in a chronological and thorough manner, but gave us the opportunity to explore countless cultural marvels of Rome.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Studying abroad for over a month in a foreign country opened my eyes to the richness and uniqueness of other backgrounds. Prior to my departure, my pre-conceived notions of Italy involved one of fashion, art, and food, but experiencing the country in both urban and rural, positive and negative settings helped me realize that such aspects of culture are really the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Beneath the surface of these superficial facets of culture are issues and notions of education, manners, ideology, economics, and the perceptions or treatment of the country’s past. Looking for such influential characteristics shaped my understanding of why other nations are what they are, it and drove me to want to learn more about the world’s other cultures. Additionally, though I wanted to work outside of the United States before studying abroad, my experience reinforced this desire. Living in an American college town, it can be easy to perceive the world, or at least one’s personal world, as the bubble of one’s own experience. Exploring Italy’s history and current events brought to light the interconnectedness and influences shared between other countries, and I wish to partake in this global sharing of knowledge in my future.

 

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Katelyn Huyser

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course?
My favorite class while at SKEMA had to be Organizational Behavior, because I loved my professors, the material, the projects, and the classroom diversity. The professors knew the topics very well and were more than willing to give extra instruction if needed. I thoroughly enjoy learning about psychology and business, and this class was the perfect combination of both. We were required to do a semester long research project related to behavior in the workplace with another student from a different home country. Through this, I learned a ton about working with students from other backgrounds who have different work ethic and more diverse ideas. By the end of our research on gender differences and leadership in the workplace, my partner and I came out with a great friendship, more knowledge on our topic, and a better understanding of effective communication.

2. What would you tell someone considering study abroad?
Unlike most things in life, with CEA you get specific guidelines and helpful instructions to help you through the process of setting up your location, housing, and visa. It may seem intimidating when you look at everything you need to do, but once you get started it’s all straight forward and always works out in the end. There will be hard moments as you’re in an unfamiliar environment away from home, but every second of the experience is beyond worth it. The city you choose to live in will quickly become your home and the other CEA students will become like family. This is one of the rare opportunities in life where you get to live in another country, make friends with people from every side of the globe, and travel to different cities every other weekend. Study abroad is a chance to live a life you create for yourself. It’s a life where you get to know the local shop owners and buy homegrown products at the market every morning. It’s a daily opportunity to practice a different language or learn creative ways of conversing with the café barista. There are people out there waiting to be met and a world that is eager to be explored.
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Kayla Reed

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

One of the most significant ways I experienced local culture was via cuisine, because almost every day I would go to a French café or bakery. One of my favorite meals I ate abroad was traditional Niçoise food in the heart of Nice with my French class. I also experienced local culture by attending local festivals, like Le Fete du Citron in Menton. Seeing locals celebrate their own culture was a wonderful way to further my appreciation for the south of France!

2. How has study abroad experience shaped you?

Study abroad truly shaped the person I am today and continues to impact the person I strive to become. Although I traveled before my experience abroad, study abroad genuinely opened my eyes to the vastness of the world. So many unique people and cultures manifest throughout the world, and for as long as I can remember I have wanted to experience as many of these cultures as I can. By studying abroad, for the first time I was able to completely immerse myself in a different culture which provided me with the incredible experience to learn about and fall in love with southern France. Ultimately, studying abroad fueled my desire to dedicate my life to seeing and experiencing as many cultures as I can while hopefully inspiring others to do the same. International studies and travel have always been my passion, and studying abroad absolutely solidified my personal desire to explore the world as well as my hope to have an international career.
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Kelly Nizolek

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has definitely helped me grow and made me more prepared for the working world, as well as on a personal level. Studying abroad helps to give you the true and valuable experience of learning and speaking a foreign language, it helps to teach you how to manage your time as well as take on multiple responsibilities, such as planning trips, making time for school, meeting new people, experiencing new things, etc. Lastly, you also become more independent due to the fact that you are living in a different country away from the comfort of your home/home country. Even though you don't necessarily see the career/personal benefits that you get out of studying abroad because you are just so focused on being in the moment, studying abroad really does shape you and change you for the better that will be a major catalyst in your well-being beyond your study abroad experience.

 

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

I would say that CEA is a phenomenal program that has an incredible staff who are available to assist you 24/7. Walking into the CEA building every day for classes, you are greeted by the staff at the front desk who truly care about your enjoyment throughout the study abroad process, and then you also have amazing professors eager to teach you in the classroom. CEA creates a program that makes it so easy to meet other students from all over with the orientation programs, organized activities, and trips, as well as living arrangments. I personally always used these resources to my advantage, whether it be asking about a weekend trip, a good restaurant, etc. I asked one of my professors a fun place to go snowboarding with my friends for the weekend, and we took his advice and had the best time. If you have any questions about anything, the CEA staff and professors are more than happy to help provide assistance and advice to ensure you have the most fulfilling and prodigious experience of a lifetime.

 

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Kelsey Fredricks

Alumni Ambassador

 1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I dove right into the local culture upon arrival, but I guess you could also say that it encapsulated me from the start. In fact, I vividly remember my first night in Galway. Instead of catching up on sleep and taking the night to relax into our surroundings, the other CEA students and I went out into town, where we happy-go-luckily explored the cobblestoned, music-filled streets and kicked off our journeys as new residents of Ireland. The lights that decorate Shop Street shone brighter than ever before, sparkling in unison with our spirits. This night still feels alive now, six months later, like how thrilling my life felt nearly every day and night in this vibrant city. I became close friends with many Irish students while abroad, who did not hesitate one bit to take me into their arms and circle of love, friendship and loyalty, like the symbols of the famous Claddagh ring. I also own this ring myself, which rested on my finger from spontaneous trips to the nearby bay, evenings spent exploring the local craic (fun) and now as I type on my keyboard in full reflective mode of that one time I just so happened to live in Ireland.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

 I really enjoyed this course called “Contemporary Irish Literature,” which served as my English seminar. The lecturer was equal parts entertaining and informative, and he focused more on classroom discussions than lectures. I also liked that I was the only American in the class, and that there were two other students from France and Spain, as this further exposed me to the Irish culture and allowed me to communicate with only European students. We were often set into groups of three, where we would make lists, brainstorm ideas and analyze the book of the week, most of which were compelling Irish texts––in my opinion, at least, as a foreigner. Two of my other classes did not purely revolve around Irish literature, so I always looked forward to this seminar at the end of the week. (However, pro-tip: try to consider the days on which other students may not have classes, since my friends frequently wanted to travel or hangout on Fridays, which is when this class was held.) Also, other literature courses often lacked in classroom discussion, which was really difficult for someone who loves to engage in conversation, especially when the material was so interesting that I just wanted to gasp and discuss it with others.

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Kiara Perez

Alumni Ambassador
1. How did your study abroad experience shape you?
Since being abroad I've realized that it has been an experience that I didn't think I so badly needed. Things from, friends, food, cultural experiences all gave my body an amazing shock. I could have easily spent this semester solely going to class and then returning back to my apartment and letting the days go by, but that is not what study abroad is about. When this amazing opportunity pops up in your life, you really have to take advantage of it. I've been able to adapt to a new location within days and seek something to do most of my days. I truly believe that when I go back home I will be vouching for everyone to go study abroad, it changes your outlook in life and makes you itch for more adventures and has you planning your next trip before you even leave.

2. What are your tips for learning the local language?
I came to Paris to perfect my French. Attending a school that solely taught in French has been very helpful but at the end of the day I needed to do more to make sure it would stick. I make sure to order my food and ask questions in French, even when the locals detect my accent and would switch back to English, I stand my ground and continued speaking in French.
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Lauren Hammond

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

CEA made the process of applying and preparing to go abroad so easy. I never felt lost in the process because there was always someone checking up on me. I could call, email or text the Sevilla site specialist at any time and could expect a timely and complete response. All the resources you need are on the online portal and your parents even receive the information. Having my parents connected made it less stressful to prepare for going abroad. Once in abroad, our CEA center provided excellent classes and professors, many resources and activities, excursions to places that I may have never traveled myself. The center was the perfect home base and the staff was really there for us 24/7! I couldn't imagine it any other way!

 

2. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I experienced the local culture by spending as much time as possible out exploring the city. Sevilla has so many beautiful streets and places I would have never found if I chose to stay near the touristy areas. Adjusting my schedule to fit around Sevillian norms like siesta, late dinners and spending almost all of my time outside helped me experience the local culture. One of my favorite places to spend time was at a local park. There I was able to observe locals with their families and friends or carrying on about their day to day life. Eating at restaurants that were frequented by locals was another one of my favorite ways to experience the local culture. I found that trying new foods and drinks is one of the best ways to connect with a culture. These experiences, while daunting, became some of my favorite memories!

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Lily Anderson

Alumni Ambassador

1. What ways did you find to become immersed in the local culture?

The Alameda neighborhood in Sevilla is rich with bars, cafés, playgrounds, trees, beautiful buildings, and most importantly, PEOPLE! So many people stroll down the large, urban boulevard while heading home from mass, eating ice cream from Freskura, playing with children or dogs, or chatting with friends. For four lovely months, I was one of those people. By enjoying coffee from small cafés, chatting with fellow customers, strolling the narrow streets, and learning about the history of the area, or walking with a neighborhood friend and his dog, I was able to feel like part of the beautiful Sevilla tapestry. The neighborhood is young and hip, while still being rooted in deep Spanish tradition.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I was lucky in my ability to take classes at both the University of Sevilla and the CEA Center. My favorite course was taught by the wonderful Professor Álvarez through CEA. By analyzing the history, economy, politics and culture of Spain, we studied gender roles in present day Spain. No class taught me as much about the valiant liberation of the Second Republic, the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, or the oppressive regime of General Franco. By utilizing all of this through a feminist lense, we learned about how women were involved and impacted. Additionally, Professor Álvarez went out of her way to expose us to cultural events in the city, take us on walking tours regarding women in Sevilla, and introduce us to a Syrian refugee who impacted all of us in the class with her beautiful story.

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Logan Palmer

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
During my time in Rome, I tried to find every opportunity I could to experience the local culture. I told myself that I would try one new thing at every restaurant I went to, I explored local farmer’s markets with my classmates, and I experienced the Italian nightlife. I found ways to connect to Rome’s local culture mainly through food, as I ate freshly made pizza, pasta and supplì (stuffed fried rice balls essentially). I also rode the subway and the city’s many other forms of public transportation to get around the city. I found myself at Stadio Olimpico, where I watched A.S. Roma play football and take home the win against Genoa one night in April and I went across town to visit Eatly one afternoon. By immersing myself into Italy’s culture, I was able to feel at home there and it opened up my mind to the world around me. Often times, I would walk around the city and use the little Italian I had learned in order to order gelato or say excuse me. Rome’s local culture was fast-paced, yet friendly and delightful.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was my Cross-Cultural Management (CCM) course. This course struck me as particularly interesting and it turned out to be my favorite (even over Food & Wine) because of its application to real life and the new perspectives I received from it. In Cross-Cultural Management, we were able to learn from a real professional who has worked across cultures in various parts of the world. Not only did we learn about specific cultures and how members of that culture typically function in a business setting, but we were able to see how different cultures work together and how managers come together to make these relationships work. CCM was my favorite because as I was taking the class, I was also able to walk outside and be immersed in a different culture where I could see first-hand how one specific culture actually functioned and how that lined up with what I was learning in the classroom. I also enjoyed this course because it helped me realize that I want to pursue a career in global management, where I can work and live abroad in differing cultures.
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Madeleine Garza

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were the ways you experienced the local culture?
Living downtown, I interacted everyday with the local culture in Grenoble. To be completely honest, I had the preconceived notion that the French population do not like Americans or those who speak English. What I realized was quite the contrary. Each time I attempted to speak with strangers, even though they could tell I did not speak French fluently, they were more than happy to help me improve my vocabulary and skills. I learned how to get medicine at a pharmacy, I learned how to order my coffee, and many other simple yet necessary things that I never learned in a textbook. Also, living in the student residence hall, I encountered several local students from Grenoble who were extremely kind to me. Another way I experienced the culture was by walking through or by markets every day. I went to one market so often that the owner recognized my face, said hello to me, and asked me how I was doing each time he saw me. Food is such a crucial cultural aspect in France, and the fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, meats, fish, and more you find at the markets are a taste of local life. The Christmas Market must not be forgotten! What a wonderful experience it was to enjoy hot wine on a cold day while shopping around for different trinkets, handmade crafts, or foods accompanied by music. I experienced the culture not just by interacting with the population but diving into everyday life as a lifelong native would.

2. What would you tell a student looking to study abroad?
If you are looking to study abroad, I honestly cannot imagine where you can find a friendlier group of people who are there to help when you need them than with CEA. Each interaction I or my mother had with anyone working with CEA was comforting and informative, because they knew exactly how to tell us what we needed to hear and help us get to where we needed to be. The beginning stages, preparing to go abroad, can be stressful, but they provided the service, documents, and information to make the process a breeze. Every document needed for the Visa Application was provided, and they walked us through each step to ensure our success. Then, once I got to my destination, which was Grenoble, France, my on-site program director was kind, thoughtful, passionate, driven, and ready to take on any problem we had or to laugh with us over a cup of coffee. CEA is a wonderful organization geared towards providing students with an easy path to achieving unforgettable experiences abroad. I loved every minute of my study abroad program, and I am sure you will, too.
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Madison Sudweeks

Alumni Ambassador
1. What got you interested in being an ambassador for study abroad?
I want to help other students have their own life-changing experience studying abroad like I did. I know that I have grown so much through this experience and I know there are so many students at my university and across the country that would benefit from the experience. I feel that as a first-generation college student, I can connect with others who wouldn't normally think studying abroad was in their reach and show them it's possible. My life was changed forever because of CEA and I would like to give back to the organization that helped me achieve this dream.
2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was my International Service Learning course. In this course we learned about current issues in Spain and specifically Seville, and then got to observe these issues in practice while volunteering with a local NGO weekly. Through this experience I was able to connect with the refugee population of Seville, a population I never would've been able to meet otherwise, and make connection with refugee children in order to practice our Spanish skills. I was able to take advantage of this opportunity to start teaching English classes at the center as well. This class exposed me to the issues facing Spanish society and helped me better understand Spanish society as well.
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Margo Ward

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture?

Being aboard is much more than going to a different country and learning. It's about learning about their culture and traditions. While I was abroad, I experience the local culture by participating in cooking classes, going to sporting events, eating at local restaurant, and communicating with locals. Some of my favorite memories from being abroad is getting to experience the local culture because it's something different than what I am used to. Once you experience a different culture, it opens up your mind.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me by allowing my mind to grow and it has taught me to more independent. After traveling through Europe I am able to look past the US ways and keep an open mind to other people and other cultures that I don't think I would have been able to do if I didn't go abroad. By that, I think that can also help me with my future career by being more open minded, communicate with all types of people and have better people skills. Going abroad has many benefits that I could have imagined.

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Matthew Baldini

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I experienced the local Czech Culture through the food, history, and people. The Czech cuisine is hearty, and some of my favorite dishes consisted of meat and potatoes such as their signature cultural dish Goulash. Others dishes I enjoyed including Svickova, a dish served with meat and bread dumplings in a creamy sauce and cranberry topping. For dessert, nothing beat Vetrnik. Since words cannot do it justice, I recommend try it for themselves. Museums featured prominently in my itinerary while abroad. The Czech painter Alphonse Mucha was popular, and for good reason. His larger than life depictions of Slavic tradition, called the Slav Epics, were a unique window into the past. The Charles Bridge is a national landmark for the Czech people representing when their capital city of Prague was the cultural center of Europe. Being able to walk across this bridge gave me a deeper appreciation for the Czech cultural identify. Interacting with the local Czech people was an eye-opening experience because their social norms are quite different than what I am used to in the States. They are much more reserved in nature. However, that does not prevent them from showing kindness and generosity.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was Prague Art and Architecture because it encouraged me to experience a side of the Czech culture I would not have other wise. I visited a local exhibit displaying the Czech artist František Kupka. Kupka started out as a Realistic style painter but progressively transitioned into primarily abstract paintings. The art exhibit show cased the chronology of his works. His most famous abstract painting the Amorpha, Fugue in Two Colors surprised me with how much human movement can be expressed through abstract figures. 

 

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Megan Styborski

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

When I first arrived in San José, I think I spoke maybe three words in Spanish. I had studied French in both high school and college, but never any Spanish. I have four big tips for learning a new language while you’re abroad. First, try to learn some before you depart, especially key phrases and vocabulary. Second, bring flashcards with you from home and use them as much as possible. Third, practice as much as you can! It’s easy to talk to friends in your program in English, but try practicing your language with them instead. It also helps a lot to make local friends and practice with them. At first, it’s a bit hard and awkward, but the improvement will blow you mind, and you’ll make life-long friends abroad in the process. Fourth, if you can, use Netflix. At my destination, I watched in English with Spanish subtitles, and it did wonders for me! If you think that you’re ready for it, you can also watch in a foreign language with English subtitles, or just watch in a foreign language alone! You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up.

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

The first thing I would say is that it’s one of the best ways to kick off a life full of travel. It’s so cost effective considering how long you’re there and how much you get out of it. And for those of you who say it’s too expensive or who think there aren’t many options for your major, don’t worry. I have the answers! First off, yes, studying abroad can be painfully expensive. But it doesn’t need to be! There are so many different destinations and program types, and those factors can have a big impact on the cost. I personally couldn’t afford most of the options in Europe, but I still found a way to go! I barely spent more money abroad then I would’ve at home, and some students save money by going abroad. For those of you who have difficult majors, there are work-arounds! My major was in the health sciences, and I had a lot of difficulty finding an option that was both affordable for me and useful for my major. So instead, I used my time abroad to work on my minor and my honors coursework. I ended up getting an affordable experience while also getting an academically valuable experience. It’s completely possible on both counts. In addition to all of that, studying abroad does so much for you as a person. You mature in so many ways, from traits like confidence and independence to being able to live off a backpack full of bare necessities. You develop a global awareness and understanding that is completely irreplaceable and highly valuable for the rest of your life.

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Megan Vande Linde

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your tips for learning the language while abroad?
If you’re studying another language while abroad, you have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself completely. Lean into that immersion. During my year in Spain, I changed my phone and Netflix settings to Spanish, listened only to Spanish music, watched TV (even game shows!) in Spanish with my host family, spoke almost exclusively with my new friends in Spanish, and attended weekly language exchange sessions. The more contact you can have with a language, the more natural it will begin to feel, so seek out every chance you have to practice! While I was with English speakers, I listened to the conversation and tried to find the phrases, words, or ideas that I would be unable to translate into Spanish. Once you identify your weak spots, you can begin to work on those areas specifically. When it comes to studying for your language classes, use the same techniques that work for you in your home university while studying your target language. In my case, that means lots of color coding, homemade study guides, and flashcards, but everyone has their own system!

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad? 
My experience with CEA was incredible, not because everything went perfect all year (a perfect year is impossible even at my home university), but because the CEA staff was one of the most attentive and compassionate groups of people I’ve ever met. Whether they were patiently helping me choose my classes, suggesting activities around Granada, or planning and leading those incredible excursions on the weekends, Begoña, Jorge, and Antonio did an incredible job in making everyone feel wanted and welcome in Granada. On top of the amazing staff, the CEA excursions are enough reason in themselves to convince you to go with CEA. During my year abroad, I traveled to Ronda, Cordoba, Seville, Morocco (twice!), Madrid, Toledo, Nerja, Las Alpujarras, just to name a few, all of which is included in your program fee. CEA didn’t just send me to Spain and drop me there; they made sure I had a great time, stayed safe, improved my Spanish, and got to know Granada too.
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Melissa Greenberg

Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
I would say that the experience is worth having, not just to improve on language skills or have aesthetically pleasing pictures for social media, those are just a bonus, but to find out more about a culture and yourself. You learn how to live life completely on your own, and overcome challenges such as breaking language barriers or becoming more local as time goes on. You get to make friends and memories that will last a lifetime, and along with life lessons that you thought you would never have to learn. The program itself is inclusive and takes you on adventures all over the country while expanding your food palette, and also opening a door to numerous opportunities.

2. What are your best tips for learning the language while abroad?
Learning another language can be difficult at times, but the best way I encountered was conversing with locals as much as possible. While in France you are surrounded by French speakers, therefore the best way to learn is to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the community. I spoke to everyone while I could, even the unconventional "Uber" drivers, because they love to teach the language and help you learn since they know it is not easy. Also studying phrases you've never heard before or listening to songs with more conversational French is the sort of thing that helped me expound on my language skills. My French professor also took us out to learn in a more interactive manner, such as meeting natives at a cafe or learning how to cook in French. Overall, attempting to use the language on a daily basis despite the mistakes that may be made is the most efficient way in my opinion, because over time you become more comfortable speaking and can pick up on different slang and accents.
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Michel Pinard

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Experience a different culture is an unique opportunity for personal growth and cross-cultural understanding. Adaptation might be difficult at the beginning, and nostalgia might strike sometimes, but one cannot let those things play a crucial role in the everyday life while abroad. One of the key factors to a positive experience is to be always busy, academically as well as socially. Buenos Aires is an extraordinary place that needs to be enjoyed by going out to museums, attending concerts and art festivals, going to outdoor markets, having merienda at a local café, talking to locals, taking colectivos as often as possible, walking, biking, just to mention a few. Travel to other places within the country is also important in order to develop a better picture of the country as a whole, its people, its culture, and going beyond the historically centered perspectives of Buenos Aires. Argentina has numerous interesting destinations for all tastes that deserve time to be discovered and enjoyed beyond the city limits of its capital, and certainly beyond the classroom and homestay.

 

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

It is not a simple choice since I truly enjoyed all the classes that took in the Universidad de Belgrano. However, I would say that the class titled Cultural and Social Changes in Argentina was the one that I found more interesting. The professor's teaching style added to her personality and the already interesting curriculum made this class my favorite. Thanks to it, I fostered my self-awareness and started to question more socially-constructed concepts and historical perspectives, while gaining insight to different issues related to politics and economics that have impact in the everyday life of citizens in Argentina.

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Miranda Haasl

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While abroad, I was able to intern at a local school. This helped me get to know some local people a little better. I also took plenty of time to go by myself to cafes and bars and just talk with locals. I truly adopted the local lifestyle, siesta and all. I tried all kinds of new foods and drinks, and pushed myself to say yes to all the experiences out of my comfort zone.

 

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

The biggest tip I can offer is to completely dive in headfirst. If you're living with a host family, practice as much as you can with them. I didn't have a host family but my friends did and I got to practice a little with them too. Also don't be afraid to just try it. You'll probably make some mistakes, but most locals and people are more than willing to politely correct your mistakes when you're making the effort to try.

 

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Nicholas Ciacca

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Before coming to Madrid I had been to Alicante, in the south of Spain. I expected the culture in Madrid to be similar, but to my surprise, it was completely different! I fell in love with the city immediately, the architecture and the immense history made it really fun to walk around. To fully immerse in the culture and experience as much as I could I forced myself to do a number of things.  

First, I tried my hardest to speak and understand the language. This made it possible to understand the people and hear their stories, as well as hear the different Spanish accents and learn how each one came to be. I was able to speak with the old and young, and most importantly my fellow college students at UC3M. This to me was very important. 

Second, I was always outside. Going outside in the city and seeing as many things as possible was essential to fully take in the city of Madrid. Going to the local markets such as El Rastro and San Miguel really showed me what Madrid is all about. Also traveling the rest of Spain was very important because the Spanish culture is so diverse. CEA did a beautiful job by showing us cities such as Granada, Sevilla, and Toledo, showing us all the important historical places in each city. 

This was how I experienced the local culture while abroad, and I loved it so much I went back last week!

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

There is no other experience like living in a different country for six months, and CEA makes it a thousand times better. They bring around the whole country, immerse you in the culture while being close to students just like you from all over the United States. The staff and advisors are awesome and the experience is truly life changing. CEA makes sure that the experience goes smoothly, from finding you a wonderful apartment to finding you wonderful roommates. If you have ever thought of going abroad, DO IT, and do it with CEA! 
Also, my friend came to visit me for a week and she had so much fun hanging out with the CEA guys and living the Spanish life that she went abroad with CEA the next year!

 

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Olivia Gutierrez Padron

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I enjoyed all of my classes abroad because I feel like they offered very different learning environments and curriculum from what I am used to. However, my favorite was Management Communications. I found the professor to be very passionate about what she was teaching us. The class offered materials to be analyzed by people with all kinds of background. She covered all learning styles in the assignments so it was enjoyable to learn and retain the material. She also included a lot of self-reflection so you can relate your life and career goals to what was being taught in the classroom. I greatly enjoyed this class and would gladly take it again.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

This was a truly once in a lifetime experience that taught me not only life lessons but also taught me a tremendous amount about myself. I considered myself a resilient person but that was truly put to the test when being in such a challenging environment like being on your own in a foreign country where I didn't even know the language. I learned a lot of problems solving skills since you can't always access things that are easily available to you in the U.S. and because you are living with total strangers. More than anything I expanded on having an open mind. Taking in everything around me and being free of judgment to try and truly understand the culture and the locals. I feel myself being a more grateful person thanks to this experience. Career-wise it made me learn that I perhaps don't want to work an average office job. I might want to travel more and learn more about others. I have a pretty flexible major, communication/ marketing, so I think this might be a possibility.

 


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Parker Ornellas

Alumni Insider

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While abroad in Aix-en-Provence, I was fortunate enough to experience a rich and thriving French culture right in front of me and easy to partake in. The first way I like to experience any culture is through food and drink. In Aix there were many restaurants and cafes catered to English speakers, however, these types of places were not the type to offer cultural growth. I found that going to authentic French cafes and restaurants where people speak little to no English was the best way to engage in the culture and better my language proficiency. On the topic of food, buying from the local markets and engaging in conversations with the vendors made me feel right at home in France as well as yielded some delicious produce. 

 

2. Language Tips

Studying another language can be extremely discouraging sometimes. One day I felt I was improving immensely and the next I felt completely comprehensible to a native French speaker. When this happens it’s easy to succumb to the overwhelming urge to only speak English, but it’s essential not to give in. Only practicing another language in a school course is not proficient enough to improve. It’s extremely important to practice outside of the classroom setting. I was lucky to befriend two French university students who helped me with my grammar and taught me useful lingo. I also listened to french music and had designated times when my roommate and I would speak to each other only in French.

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Peter O'Neill

Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I took a photography course while in Prague, and I still think it's some of my best work. Being in a densely populated city let me, as a photographer and storyteller, be free with my artistic ability. Additionally, I also took a videography course that had me document a formerly homeless musician and tell his story.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My time in the Czech Republic really cleared up who I am, and who I want to become. My flaws were highlighted during my time, and as a response to identifying what I lack in, my work ethic improved. Since finishing my semester abroad, I am more confident in both myself and my work-capabilities.

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Phoebe Charney

Alumni Ambassador
1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture?
I experienced the local culture by trying new foods, meeting new friends, and going to the places people loved. I visited several historical landmarks and museums. I also went to several different markets.

2. How has your study abroad experience affected you? 
Studying abroad has changed me personally by allowing me to become more adventurous in my day to day life. I got to see life in a whole new way. Certain countries appreciate things differently and I found that fascinating. I stopped taking things for granted.
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Rachael Satz

Alumni Ambassador

 1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While I was abroad, I experienced the local culture by getting involved in the activities that CEA offered. I did the AICAP activities: Intercambio Español, Hidden City Tour, Reshaping The City, and Changemakers. I also experienced the local culture on my own by going to the Palo Alto Market and interacting with locals in general.

 2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

 I would tell them that CEA is the best program to do because they offer you free activities to experience Barcelona in a different perspective, the apartments they give you are SUPER nice and they honor your roommate requests, the CEA center is very nice and is close to the main part of Barcelona, they are quick to respond and help you with any issues you might have while studying abroad, and they offer you an $1,000 dollar flight voucher that can be used towards your flight to Barcelona or any trips that you might do while in Barcelona.

 

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Rachel Bornstein

Alumni Ambassador
1. What ways did you find to experience the local culture? 
One of my favorite activities in experiencing and living the local culture in Granada, Spain was the tapa experience! In Granada, you can get FREE food with a purchase of a drink (only 1-3 euros!) Tapas are a very Spanish thing to do, where you go out with your friends around 8-10pm for a “tapa” in place of a large dinner, and eat small appetizer-sized portions of food paired with a drink. I LOVED that the dining etiquette in Spain doesn’t include tips! I also loved going to some of the MANY cafés close by and scattered around the city on the weekends to have a Spanish breakfast— café and delicious toast or a pastry!

2. What are your tips for learning the language? 
Live with a host family! If you’re living in a region where English is not spoken proficiently, it's a big change because you may live with a family who knows little to no English—this is good! It will be easier to improve your skills if you are at least an intermediate-student in your target language, as you have the minimum amount of knowledge to practice using it everyday. If you are an absolute beginner, I won’t deny that it may be difficult for you at the start. For this, I recommend you really pay attention in your grammar classes and practice applying what you learned as much as you can with your host family and writing in a journal.
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Sara Doss

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

While in Barcelona, I took an entrepreneurship class and it has to be my favorite class I have taken in my college career. My teacher, Carlos, was an amazing teacher and sparked my interest in a career in entrepreneurship. I learned what being an entrepreneur truly meant and how I can open my own business in the future. He also helped to want to pursue a specialization in International Business. I am so glad I took this class abroad so that I could see the aspects of business in a country outside of the United States.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad career has helped me shape my wants for a career by showing me that there is more to this world that the United States. It made me become more independent. It has helped me to open my options and seek jobs in other states/countries.

 

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Sarah Franco

Alumni Ambassador
*Ask me about my internship!
1. What were ways you found to explore the local culture?

I loved Florence, Italy. It was a very lively city filled with many things to do and see. I took full advantage of my summer abroad. I enjoyed the easy going nature of the Italian culture, especially the food and lifestyle there. I interned at a cooking school and it had international customers with whom I was able to interact with and share travel experience with. Florence was very international which helped when making new friends. The food and wine class I took helped me learn about the culture even more than I would have one my own.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
I now know exactly what I want to do, now that I have been abroad. It helped me refocus my goals, and since I didn't know anyone one going into the program, it helped me learn how to do things on my own and made me more eager to leave my comfort zone, meet others, and branch out.

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Sarah Woods-Killam

Alumni Insider
1. What ways did you find to experience the local culture?

Being in Argentina was an amazing, unforgettable experience. I feel that I was able to immerse myself in the culture by constantly speaking Spanish with anyone I could outside of my classes (taxi drivers, people on the bus, shop keepers, etc.). Additionally, I went to as many Tango classes and Milongas (social dancing) as I could, which helped me improve as a dancer as well as learn about the history and beauty of Tango. I engorged myself on carne asado, empanadas and dulce de leche which are common foods in Buenos Aires. I chose to stay with a host and I know that I will always be in contact with her because she's wonderful. I walked around as many neighborhoods in Buenos Aires as I could to learn about the beautiful city.

2. What do you wish you had known before going? 
I wish I had known how big of a city Buenos Aires was. I didn't have any particular notions about how I was going to get around considering I wanted to save as much money as possible, but the city has great public transport. It just means that I had to be careful about including travel time whenever I needed to get somewhere. I also wish I had brought a raincoat for myself because I didn't realize how rainy it could be during the 'winter' there (which is in June/July/August). 


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Savanna Lenker

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

I would tell prospective students to:  

 1) Don't get overwhelmed, professors are understanding and just want to push you to step out of your comfort zone to practice the language. 

2) Don't be afraid to ask questions, your professor and host family will be very willing to help you. 

 3) Practice the language whenever you can. Whether it is saying hello to a stranger in passing or talking to your taxi drivers, all of these conversations help increase your confidence in your language abilities. 

 4) It's okay to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and making mistakes is part of learning every language.

 

2. If you 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

Studying abroad with CEA was the whole package. We had a small group of students that bonded over the course of our time together. I had an amazing host family experience, which allowed me to further experience the food and culture of Costa Rica. The CEA facility was an amazing resource to get school work done, hang out with friends, and cook our lunches. The built in field trips were well planned and allowed us to experience more unique places. The communication before I left the U.S. was prompt and straight forward. 

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Sophia Spooner

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 
I absolutely loved Fashion Marketing and Merchandising. Every other week we went on a field trip to such interesting places. I got to experience the Gucci Gardens, Stefano Ricci, and even an expo convention on fabrics! By stepping out of the classroom, I felt that I absorbed more information than just being taught by a PowerPoint.

2.  What would you say to a student considering study abroad with CEA? 
CEA is there for you. Through applying to be in the program, obtaining your visa, being in a foreign country and even when you return home. They organize documents that you need to have to be abroad in great detail, plan trips for you and your classmates to explore the country and have well-rounded and experienced professors to help you make the most of your four months. In addition, the employees want to know you and make sure that you are enjoying your time abroad. Because they really do care about everyone having an unforgettable semester.
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Steve Maravillo

Alumni Insider

1. What was the best part about studying abroad?

My experience abroad indefinitely widened my cultural and interpersonal state of mind. It also helped me gain a greater understanding of the beauty and dynamic of international travel and diversity. My favorite part about studying abroad was the connections and friendships I made with individuals while abroad. Although I learned plenty of useful information in the classroom, a lot of my learning took place within my interpersonal and intercultural relations with students, civilians and workers that were Paris natives. My top travel tips are to immerse yourself into the culture of the city and country of your study abroad experience. In my experiences, the best way to accomplish a successful intercultural immersion is by meeting individuals native to the country, with a strong familiarity of the culture and society of the given country that will ultimately educate you in a form greater than a classroom setting. Although I wasn’t quite fluent in French, it was very easy to make friends with local Parisians, and was immensely rewarding in the learning experience and expansion of interpersonal connections.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

After my study abroad experience, I shifted my career goals and interests to better suit a more international and global vision of work. My career goal is to go into Epidemiology, but I am strongly interested in potentially establishing my career outside of the United States because of how impactful my study abroad experience was. During my abroad experience, I found immediate comfort in the concept of living and learning abroad, to a point where I am now yearning to return to that lifestyle and am very interested in potentially living outside of the United States for a much longer time span after my education. After returning to my home university, UC San Diego, I was hired to work as a Student Assistant for the Study Abroad Office on my campus, and have since spoke on behalf of my experiences abroad and the key components of the importance and impact of international education and travel on students like myself. Additionally, my experiences abroad encouraged me to become involved in the international student population at my university, in surrounding myself by students from every continent as well as in sharing my own experiences abroad as an American student. Another impact of my experiences abroad took place in my fundamental understanding of friendship and companionship. Before studying in Paris, I had very poor communication and relationship skills and found it difficult to speak to people and make friends. I was fortunate enough to make numerous friends during my abroad experience, which beautified my experiences abroad in a tremendous way. The experience was life-changing, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities I had in being able to study abroad.

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Susan Jones

Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I spent as much of my time wandering as possible. If I was not in class, I was in a park, or at an open market, or on the bus or tube to get to someplace. I wanted to soak up everything I could in the little time I had.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

I am a different person today because of this experience. I could write an entire book about the self discovery that this opportunity brought me. I grew so much as a person, which surprised even ME because I was 45 at the time and thought I had done most of growing. Not the case. I see the world in different ways now and I feel like I could express that to others.

 

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Tali Pilip

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
I experienced local culture while abroad by making some of the Parisian customs my own. One of the really big things I was able to experience that I will try to bring back to the U.S. with me is their pace of living. In the U.S., especially coming from the Silicon Valley, we very rarely take moments to slow down and enjoy our days. When we take breaks from work or school, we stay at home or go out to grab a quick bite to eat with friends, spending a majority of that time on our phones. The Parisians, however, use their prolonged mealtimes to take a break from their days, and to really have those long, meaningful conversations that can last several hours after a meal is finished. I also learned how to be more independent, in sitting on the terrace of cafes, slowly enjoying a coffee, and watching Parisians go about their daily lives.
2. What was your favorite course while abroad?
My favorite course abroad was the History of Parisian architecture. It was such an interesting way to learn about and to visualize the history of the city, while learning about what the future plans for Paris are as well. My favorite part of the course was our weekly excursions in which we would visit a site such as the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Centre Pompidou. On-site, we were able to not only apply concepts that we learned in class, but also to experience Paris through its incredible architecture. As I was also taking a fashion class at the same time and spending a lot of my free time in art museums, it was extremely interesting to see the juxtaposition between historical periods and how their art, fashion, and architecture either complemented or contradicted each other.
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Taylor Coulson

Alumni Insider

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experienced shaped me today into a person who is patient, independent, intrigued, and down to adventure. Even though I got sick while abroad, there was so much to offer in Barcelona that I couldn't turn down just because I was feeling a little down-I recovered faster than usual because I was excited to explore and have new sights to see and places to step on. I am now a go-getter I would say. I reword things that don't make sense to others because I understand that even though it does to me, that maybe there's a better way to portray it. I toured the city via bicycle by myself for days in a row and was so content. I have a journal to record what matters most to me during my time spent adventuring. Experience is far more important to me than text from a book. Being able to say, "I've been there" or even think back to the times shared with people that were strangers a few months ago and feel so overwhelmed with happiness they're in your life now, that's powerful. I never know when to stop questioning anything now. I wonder the history behind walls in places that are new and old. I wonder which stories and memories are the ones I will love so much that I will relive one day with my future family and friends? I know I'll be back and studying abroad created even more wanderlust in me. Places I never dreamed of going are now on my bucket list and I realize that they ARE achievable and easy to accomplish as long as I manage my time and money. I am now more patient with other people, public transportation, customer service industries, and colleagues.

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

It will be the best time of your life. Exploring new places with new people is so exciting. There will never be a more perfect time in your life to do it than when you're in college, regardless of which year you are. You'll bring back so much knowledge about things you didn't even realize you were learning when you're there. You wont be sorry, you'll be better. You'll leave behind a routine you didn't even realize you had, and will create a brand new one that is inconsistent but it will fit. It'll teach you more about yourself than you knew was possible and will create a network of lifelong friends and potential coworkers or neighbors one day. It's like you're finally the one writing the story to your own life when you come abroad. You get to choose what you do with every opportunity that gets handed to you now. Before when you were contributing to that routine, you didn't think about what you did with your life or what you'll do in the future, you definitely will now. Every single aspect of your life will change if it needs to. Of course you'll abide by the values you've always had but you'll be more independent and realize what weaknesses need to be strengthened. It's a lot of self growth and new opportunities you create for yourself from the moment you step onto that plane.

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Theresa Thomas

Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My experience abroad has been immensely valuable in shaping who I am today. I learned how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, to embrace how it feels to be unsure of yourself in this new place while learning to thrive anyway. While traveling, you spend a lot of time with yourself. I was able to learn what values are most important to me, what I needed to truly be happy—material things and everyday comforts that I “thought” I needed, became obsolete. 

Professionally, the opportunity to improve my Spanish has been an immense advantage in my preparation to attend medical school and to eventually practice as a physician abroad in a Spanish speaking region. I became more fluent in the language, learning to switch between speaking Spanish and English without issue. There truly is no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in it and to learn on your feet. My ability to speak Spanish to my patients will help to develop our relationship, and the experience living in a different culture has taught me to be more globally aware with the ability to relate to the different experiences and lives of others, especially my future patients.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
I was absolutely enthralled by my course on Gender History in Latin America. The opportunity to learn while abroad is incredible because you learn from a completely different perspective. During this class we learned about the way gender relations and the patriarchy have evolved and influenced life in Latin America throughout time, specifically in Argentina. As I learned about the different historical eras and gendered events that took place, I was able to see their effects on present day life in Argentina. I learned to think more critically about the way society often operates and to analyze why things are the way they are. Being lucky enough to learn about Latin America while in Latin America taught me things from a different point of view that I never would have thought about had I not learned them from my local professors. My global view was broadened and I now feel like a much more informed and influential global citizen.
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Viviana Reyna

Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Experiencing the local culture while abroad was definitely a game changer, however I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Already coming from a Spanish-speaking city, the language barrier was not too difficult, on the contrary, I was excited to learn the proper Spanish language, especially from the locals. The first month was very slow paced, something I was not used to in America. Each day was something new, whether it was hearing or seeing new things around the city, or adapting myself more into the culture by eating with my host family or staying out late with my friends. Everyday was an adventure waiting to be explored.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience is where I found myself. It shaped me, I would say, in both personal and career aspects because it helped me grow and adapt myself into a place I had never been before with cultures much different than mine. I've come to understand that there will be people with different views from yours and that is okay. Being open to learning new cultures and things, I believe, can help one excel in life. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to how extraordinary the world is and for that I am forever grateful.

 

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