Gabbi Cisneros, Alumni Ambassador
1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?
I warmed up to the language by speaking it with my host family, who allowed me to make mistakes and corrected me when I asked for their help. As I became more confident from taking classes at school, I enjoyed trying to speak to more people when I went out shopping or traveled on the weekends. When my university had a book fair, I bought two, small books in Spanish, so that I didn't have to worry about library due dates. Reading in Spanish was a great use of my time on long bus trips. My housemates and I also made several pacts to only speak and text each other in Spanish. Speaking with people at all levels of the language was the most helpful. Those at higher levels could help me improve my speaking, and those at lower levels could improve their speaking when I talked with them.
2. How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?
Studying abroad and immersing myself in the Spanish language has made me feel more confident that I am on the path to becoming bilingual. Instead of dropping my Spanish minor, I'm picking up a Spanish major, and I'm actually excited to continue practicing my Spanish when I return to my home university. In addition, living in a different country, learning different customs, and traveling around to see spectacular sights on the weekends has pushed me in a more specific career goal. I'm a film student who knew she didn't like being on film sets, and now I know my real goal in the film industry is to make travel documentaries!