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Giselle Warhus
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course while I was abroad was my Italian class because it facilitated my immersion into the Italian language and culture. I took Intermediate Italian, and I was the only student in my class, so I had a one-on-one Italian lesson every day. Since I was the only student, the course was geared toward my needs and I could ask as many questions as I wanted. The one-on-one experience allowed me to learn Italian at a very fast pace, and I ended the course feeling very confident in my language skills. Many hours of class were spent conversing in Italian: I would ask my teacher about Italian culture, and she would ask me about American culture. I learned a lot about Italy and Italians through these conversations, and I was able to apply my knowledge and skills while living in Italy. Outside the classroom, I felt more comfortable speaking Italian at restaurants and stores. I also understood and appreciated many of the cultural differences as a result of the class.

2. What did you enjoy most about studying abroad?
One of my favorite aspects of CEA Study Abroad was going on class field trips. For each of my classes, I went on at least one field trip where I was able to see how in-class material applies to real life. Each field trip was somewhere interesting, fun, and exciting, and these excursions allowed me to feel more immersed in Italian culture. For my Critical Perspectives on Italy class, I visited Eataly, an Italian grocery store and restaurant that brings awareness around sustainability and eating clean. At Eataly, our class did a wine and cheese tasting, during which we examined the Slow Food movement in Italy and related class concepts to this discussion. Some of my other field trips included a visit to the Jewish Synagogue in Florence and a tour of Funghi Espresso, a farm that grows mushrooms out of coffee grounds. Each field trip offered the opportunity to partake in a fun experience while still learning course material and expanding my cultural knowledge and skills.

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Ali Youel
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has study abroad shaped you?
Study abroad really helped me learn more about my priorities. I want to live outside of the US when I graduate (preferably Ireland) and I want to prioritize travel. I learned so much about myself while abroad and feel like a new person. I was able to move to a new country, where I knew nobody, in the middle of a global pandemic, and truly pushed myself. I did things I was terrified of and I am incredibly proud of myself.

2. What did you enjoy most about studying abroad?
One aspect of CEA study abroad that I enjoyed the most was being able to apply what we were learning in class hands on. For my Italian class, we were able to practice Italian by going to different locations around Florence and speak to locals. For Culture of Food and Wine in Italy, we were able to explore food markets and try new foods and that gave me a better understanding of class material.

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Angel Argueta Lara
Alumni Ambassador
1. Why should a student go abroad?
One of the best things about the CEA study program is that it offers an orientation program prior to the starting of classes and during that days I had the opportunity to meet so many people and also make new friendships. And in between this activity of orientation was when the onsite staff introduced us to the AICAPS activities which were different activities offered through the semester and the best part of it was that all of these activities were included in the price of our program. I attended many of thus activities but the one I enjoyed the most was the long day trips to other towns near Barcelona and the weekend Madrid trip which was an amazing journal from our departure until we came back to Barcelona. This was the aspect students joined the most about the program because of all the offering CEA made to us in making these activities possible.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
Since my first year in college, I had heard about the opportunity of studying abroad, and from that moment I knew I had to do it at some point in my college life. My freshmen year passed and when I started my sophomore year I started to plan my study abroad experience. I had many options which CEA offers but I chose Spain because of two things: the first one was because Spanish is my first language and I knew I was going to feel safer going to a new country where I spoke the language, and the second thing was that I really wanted to get to know the Spanish culture. Since my study abroad has ended, I can say, no matter the circumstances and how it ended, that my semester in Barcelona was one for the books. It was a time where I met so many people, made a lot of lifelong friendships, saw new and amazing places, and most importantly Barcelona helped me to gain more independence and to build up my identity as a person. Because of that, I would love to speak and talk to students about all of the amazing things a study abroad program offers, how it will change their lives and all the great other things that come along with it. I feel that if you want to find yourself, a study abroad experience is one of the best things you can do.
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Annie Hoglund-Kettmann
Alumni Ambassador

1. Tell us about your experience with the local culture in your host city.
While abroad, CEA allowed me to build a second home. In fact, on my last day of volunteering as an English assistant at a local Catalan elementary school, both the students of just eight years old and the teachers told me I had a home away from home with them. I found my volunteering experience to be one of the most powerful experiences with local culture because I went weekly, and therefore had the opportunity to grow roots. In honestly, there isn't a lot of regularity or rhythm to a students schedule while abroad because of the constant travel and adventure. I resonate with this but found my weekly hours at the school gave me the chance to develop a relationship and understanding for local life, the local school system, and hear first hand from local teachers and students what it was like to live, work, play, and study in Barcelona. Through my experiences with the school, I felt that my host city welcomed me with open arms. The sentiment behind the fact that I already have plans to video chat the class when I return home show how loving of an environment I found and how real my time was with them.

2. How has study abroad shaped you?
I have learned one of the most powerful Spanish traits while studying abroad, being present. Without intention, I practiced and fulfilled my presence by consciously self-reflecting and adapting my path while I lived abroad. As I built a new life for myself, I felt that I made consistent efforts to evaluate and re-direct my experience. Socially, I pushed myself to attend local language exchange events and geographically, I was constantly setting new goals for myself to explore new parts of the city. I am a hard-working, face-paced, and busy do-er. After applying myself to a variety of situations and environments over the semester, I developed a solid home within myself. I learned I am capable, independent, a natural leader, and I stayed true to who I knew I was before the program too. This is something I am deeply proud of from studying abroad, a time of change in a new culture and environment. I look forward to bringing back a more secure form of myself as I move onwards personally and professionally.

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Beth Baum
Alumni Ambassador

1. Tell us about your experience with the local culture in your host city.
While abroad, CEA allowed me to build a second home. In fact, on my last day of volunteering as an English assistant at a local Catalan elementary school, both the students of just eight years old and the teachers told me I had a home away from home with them. I found my volunteering experience to be one of the most powerful experiences with local culture because I went weekly, and therefore had the opportunity to grow roots. In honestly, there isn't a lot of regularity or rhythm to a students schedule while abroad because of the constant travel and adventure. I resonate with this but found my weekly hours at the school gave me the chance to develop a relationship and understanding for local life, the local school system, and hear first hand from local teachers and students what it was like to live, work, play, and study in Barcelona. Through my experiences with the school, I felt that my host city welcomed me with open arms. The sentiment behind the fact that I already have plans to video chat the class when I return home show how loving of an environment I found and how real my time was with them.

2. How has study abroad shaped you?
I have learned one of the most powerful Spanish traits while studying abroad, being present. Without intention, I practiced and fulfilled my presence by consciously self-reflecting and adapting my path while I lived abroad. As I built a new life for myself, I felt that I made consistent efforts to evaluate and re-direct my experience. Socially, I pushed myself to attend local language exchange events and geographically, I was constantly setting new goals for myself to explore new parts of the city. I am a hard-working, face-paced, and busy do-er. After applying myself to a variety of situations and environments over the semester, I developed a solid home within myself. I learned I am capable, independent, a natural leader, and I stayed true to who I knew I was before the program too. This is something I am deeply proud of from studying abroad, a time of change in a new culture and environment. I look forward to bringing back a more secure form of myself as I move onwards personally and professionally.

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Carlo Pezzana
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has study abroad experience shaped you?
This experience in Barcelona profoundly shaped me personally and professionally. Living in Barcelona, another country, and learning my third language, Spanish, enriched me and expanded my knowledge. I feel much more closed to the Spanish culture, but also with the Latin American one since I made a lot of friends from South America in Barcelona. Meeting a few locals helped to learn about the Catalan culture and the debate with Spain. I even learned a few words from Catalan, and I can understand it a little bit. I also made connections with a lot of American students from all around the country, and that was another significant aspect. From a professional point of view, I connected with a lot of people from students and faculty to professors. Moreover, attending classes at a local university helped me getting to know the education system in Spain, and I would consider the idea of pursuing a Master's degree in Barcelona and working in Spain, a country that hypnotized me with its warm, diverse and suave culture.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
I would love to share my experience with other students. This is an opportunity to follow up and maintain the contact with CEA in a way that I will never forget my experience. Studying abroad for a semester or a longer period of time, is an opportunity that changes your life. It opens new doors and opportunities, it shapes your identity, and enrich you from every point of view. When I decided to study abroad in Australia in high school, my life completely changed. That was the best decision I have ever made. I would not be here applying to become an alumni ambassador without that experience. Since Australia, I became more open minded, and more eager to learn about other cultures. I love traveling, and take the most from every experience. I also like to build strong connections with other people, and it would be amazing to talk to other students about my experiences, influence them, and as an Italian student, to share my culture and let them know that going study abroad is a
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Katelyn Schweik
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has study abroad shaped you?
My study abroad experience today has shaped me more than I could ever describe. I gained a ton of resilience from my trip and a much better sense of self. I did not know anyone in Spain before leaving, nor did I know anyone in my CEA group well. It was a completely fresh start and everything was so new and different than anything I ever knew. Although this was hard, after the first couple of days I threw myself completely into my trip. I was outgoing and cultivated new relationships with people. I learned how to navigate a brand new city, as someone who has never lived in a city before in their life. I experienced culture shock but bounced back quickly. Most importantly, I became extremely independent and learned so much about myself. This brought me so much more confidence and courage to take on the world. It also exemplified my belief that speaking another language is one of the most important skills that you can have and that I always want to use my Spanish.

2. What did you enjoy most about studying abroad?
What I enjoyed most about my study abroad is all of the relationships that I was able to make and maintain. I had a really great friend group during my time in Granada and we are all still friends. One of them has become one of my best friends and we plan to return to Granada together. I loved my host family and was so lucky to get to know five wonderful people in a family from Spain. My host mom and I ate lunch together almost every day and by the end we became really close. I helped my host siblings with homework and we played games like monopoly or guess who. My host dad and I always laughed together and he still jokes around and messages me to this day. The onsite CEA Granada staff that I worked with was also amazing. All of them showed that they really cared for us and were a constant support system with anything that came up. My professors, classmates, CEA group, and other friends that I made all made my study abroad trip amazing.

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Kaylea Focia
Alumni Ambassador

1. What were your favorite classes while abroad?
While abroad I was able to take 2 classes and a seminar, all of which I loved. However, I think that my favorite course was the class I took in Seville, Spain. This class was the culture of food and wine in Spain, which just by the title alone is very intriguing. Not only was this class completely in Spanish so I was able to learn the language but I was also able to learn the history of the country of Spain and how the food came to be. In this class we were able to learn in the classroom, go on excursions outside of the classroom, and attend tasting sessions in and outside the classroom. There is something special about this class and learning while also experiencing what you are learning about that not only helps you understand the material more but also connect with what you are learning about. This and many other reasons I could go on and on about is the reason that the culture of food and wine was my favorite class taken in Spain.

2. What did you enjoy most about studying abroad?
The one thing that I enjoyed about the CEA study abroad experience that I enjoyed the most was how the entire program felt like a family. I never thought I would get as close to all the staff and the other students in the program as I did, and I loved it and cannot wait to reconnect with everyone in the future. The classes at the CEA center and the many excursions and extra activities that CEA provided with the program I believe are what not only allowed us to bond as a group but also to bond with the country and the culture we were living within.

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Maddie Robbins
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has study abroad shaped you?
My study abroad experience has impacted my prospect of life the most. Prior to the program, I felt that life was very concrete, that I am making a one-way path for myself and sometimes I felt “stuck”. However, studying abroad with CEA has shown me that life-changing experiences are not too far away. I’ve come to find myself no longer feeling powerless with my life’s path, and though I can’t control things like the COVID-19 restrictions, I’ve learned to navigate and choose my life path, regardless of the circumstances.

2. What did you enjoy most about studying abroad?
It would be a lie if I didn’t say I enjoyed the authentic French cuisine the most… But food tastes better when you’re with your friends! I am incredibly thankful for the connections I was able to make due to the nature of the CEA program. I was able to meet many students from my home university that share the same passion as I do (which have blossomed life-long friendships), as well as international students that I’ve stayed in contact with. Outside of school, the immersion into the culture gave me the opportunity to connect with others locally. I’ll never forget the kindness of our downstairs neighbor Bruno, the owner of Mille et Une Quilles, who I could depend on for directions, protecting our mail, and great wine recommendations!

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Taylor Simpson
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite part about studying abroad?
The aspect of my study abroad experience that I enjoyed the most was being able to learn about a different culture. I have become really interested in learning about the special aspects of different countries and what differentiates a country from another one. Before I studied abroad, everything I knew about different cultures was from what I have read in books but now I was able to really immerse myself in a culture that I have never experienced before. I was able to learn about all the foods, traditions, and little things that make a country so unique and special. I feel that studying abroad has really opened my eyes to the world outside of the US and shown me that every place has different customs. I really enjoyed being able to learn new aspects of a culture and try new foods that I have never heard of before. At first, living in a different culture was intimidating but now I can say that I have really enjoyed being able to learn about France in real life rather than from reading or researching.

2. How has study abroad shaped you?
My study abroad experience has immensely shaped who I am today. Studying abroad was the first time that I have been in another country other than the US and I was able to learn a lot about myself. Studying abroad has changed the way I view certain aspects. I am able to look at situations with more of an open mind than before and make sure that I am aware of different cultures or different perspectives. Studying abroad has also made me more independent and reliant on myself which is important because now I am more confident in myself and my actions. I was also able to learn more about my own strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to deal with them properly. I feel that studying abroad has really developed my insight on my business career because I was able to learn about business in a different perspective than what I am used to. Studying abroad has been the most impactful experience that I have ever had.

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Tess Hiller
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite part about your study abroad experience?
I enjoyed the excursions the most, especially since I don't think I would have chosen those specific places and activities. It broadened my view of southern France and pushed me to try new things. I got to swim in the Gorge du Verdon, taste olives, see natural ochre, and much more.

2. How has study abroad shaped you?
It has made me look at life in a broader context. A lot of little things that would have seemed to be a big deal or the end of the world are not anymore. It has helped me stop and smell the roses more often, even if a day is not going as planned.

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