CEA Directory

Alumni Ambassadors


Colorado State University

Alicante, Spain

Spring 2017

Shannon Appel, Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

As I was going through the study abroad process, I was told over and over how this would change my life and I would come out of it a different person. I have heard this several times but never quite understood what they meant until I experienced it myself. I came into the program a little skeptical because I had never been out of the country before, I had literally no idea what to expect. All I have heard was stories from other students and my family telling me I needed to be careful and a few things about the city that I had read online. Being thrown into this new place was the best thing to ever happen to me. I have become a happier, more positive person, and I have acquired so many new skills while being abroad. I was very lucky because I had the most amazing group. The people in my group were from all over the U.S. I was able to become very close with each one and learn from them. These people were the biggest reasons I loved being abroad so much. You are able to build such close connections with everyone you meet because everyone is going through the same experience. Whenever I felt home-sick or nervous about something, having people that I could talk to and be with was so helpful. There were times we traveled to new countries and we would get lost or miss a train and have to figure out what we were going to do without help from our mom and dad. We had to learn how to problem solve and stay positive always and made me so much more of an independent and well-grounded person. One of the biggest things I learned was to appreciate everything around you and not to rush through everything. I truly feel as if I have grown so much as a person in just a few months. I have made the best memories and even better friends and I could not be more thankful for my time abroad.

2. One of the best parts about studying abroad? Getting to travel to other cities and countries! Here are my top travel tips:

My favorite part about studying abroad in Spain (other than the siestas) was getting to experience the unique traditions and holidays celebrated throughout the city. One of my personal favorites was the holiday called Carnival. It was such a cool experience because the entire city came out all dressed up in costumes and we got to dance and enjoy the multiple concerts down La Rambla with all of the locals. They have so many different holidays and celebrations, my biggest tip would be to figure out what dates those are and plan to stay in your city those weekends. They really are a great way to get a feel for the culture and have a fun time and maybe even meet a few locals. Of course traveling to other countries was amazing as well. Sometimes your program will have their own activities that are super fun, so make sure you take advantage of those.

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