Studying abroad is an experience that transforms you long after you have returned home. We help our alumni to develop their new found skills as they continue their adventures through life. Whether in developing their careers, returning abroad or continuing their education, Spanish Studies Abroad is committed to helping students maximize the benefits from their time abroad. Read below as some of our students share their experiences. Alumni, do you have an incredible story to share? Email us with details!
Elisa BeckerMount Holyoke CollegeSeville, Spain, Semester Student
Hello, my name is Elisa Becker. I just wanted to make contact with you to tell you what an amazing experience I had during my semester abroad with Spanish Studies Abroad/CC-CS! I was in Sevilla for a Fall semester, and throughout my entire semester (starting well before the semester began!) I had nothing but positive experiences with the program and its administrators, both in the States and in Sevilla. They really helped me get comfortable and adapt to my new city, making it easier for me to enjoy my time abroad! Without the support of your program, I would have been totally lost, and probably pretty miserable.
On top of all the help they gave me in adjusting to a new culture, the academics at the school were fantastic, and one of the classes I took (about Spanish history) helped give me the idea for my senior year Spanish honors thesis about Spanish Civil War literature. I love learning, so having the chance to take high quality, fun classes about Spain, while actually in Spain, was something of a dream come true :) Of course, it probably goes without saying that between my Spanish classes at the school and living with a host family (they were so incredibly wonderful and treated me as another daughter, and I'm still in touch with them today! I visited two years ago in December, and plan to visit again this year) and just living in a Spanish city and interacting with Spanish people, my Spanish fluency skyrocketed. After my semester abroad, I finally felt confident speaking Spanish!
Everyone told me before I left that studying abroad would change my life. At the time I didn't believe them at all, honestly, but pretty much the moment I arrived back in the US in December, I knew they were right. I'm now living in Spain, working in a school as an Auxiliar de Conversación de Inglés for my third consecutive year (my first year was in Madrid, and I moved to Oviedo last year, where I still am for this year), and I know for a fact that my positive study abroad experience directly influenced my decision to come back to Spain; and I want to say that the single most important factor that made my experience in Sevilla so great was your school and program, no exaggeration. Study abroad programs have a huge influence on the study abroad experience, and can really shape whether it's a positive experience or a negative one - Spanish Studies Abroad helped make my experience absolutely incredible! You truly have a wonderful program in Sevilla, that has really shaped my post-study abroad decisions both in college and after! I can't say enough good things about my experience studying abroad with Spanish Studies, and would (and have!) recommended your program to anyone and everyone who asks me about study abroad.
I think I should cut myself off now! This email was meant to be far shorter, but like I said, I could keep rambling about how wonderful my time in Sevilla is... I just don't know when to stop ha, ha. I really wanted to reach out and let you know the impact Spanish Studies has had on me, and how wonderful my semester in Sevilla was!
Kristina StraussSpanish TeacherSeville, Spain, Semester Student
Studying abroad changed my life forever. I came back speaking the language with ease, and passed my teacher certification test with flying colors. I graduated from college in December, and had a full time job teaching Spanish the following September. I continued on to complete my graduate degree in the Foundations of Teaching, and stumbled upon a graduate level program through Spanish Studies Abroad. It was Culture in the Classroom, and was designed for teachers of Spanish as a second language (ME!). I talked it over with my hubby, and even though the program dates fell on our first year anniversary, I signed up, and back to Sevilla I went! I was THRILLED to return to Spain, and I completed the 3 1/2 week program in July. I was able to reconnect with old teachers, and make new friendships.
I am happy to say I am still teaching Spanish at Hamburg Middle School, and I am also involved with local and state wide organizations. I recently won "Website of the Year" through our state organization, and I honestly feel like I would NOT be who I am today had I not been in the program! I still connect with the people I met in Spain, and feel so fortunate to have had the experience I did.
Jeremy EpplerSeville, Spain, Semester and Summer Student
For me, the experience in Seville, Spain was an uncanny stepping-stone to success, professionally and personally. After completing a semester of studies, travel and cultural immersion in the program and graduating from The College of Saint Rose, I used my newly found language skills to interpret for Spanish-speaking patients in an urban health center in New York. I then served low-income communities through the Peace Corps program in Nicaragua, where I met my future wife. In the following years, I continued to have an impact on the people of Nicaragua through work with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and the United States Agency for International Development. Continuing to follow the Spanish Studies Abroad roots of culture and language, I am now pursuing a dual degree as a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration at the University of Maryland, focusing on international development and Latin America.
Elina StelmanProduction Assistant
Penguin Group USASeville, Spain Semester Student
I participated in the Spring semester in Seville during my junior year. Since graduating, I have spent a year as an English TA in Austria, worked as a paralegal at an immigration law firm, and am now working at Penguin, the publishing house. Studying abroad has helped me, in general, by giving me the confidence to deal with new and unfamiliar situations and by opening my mind to the multitude of different ways of approaching a question or problem. More specifically, studying in Spain made me more comfortable with being immersed in a country where I had no experience with the language or culture, which was very useful when I had to live and work in Austria. Also, the dramatic improvement in my Spanish communication skills was of especial help when dealing with Spanish-speaking clients at the immigration law office. On a more personal note, the homemade recipes I brought back from Seville for sangria and for gazpacho have become family favorites!
Holly MoncavageAlicante, Spain, Semester Student
I'm currently a law student at the Pennsylvania State Dickinson School of Law. I studied abroad in Alicante in the Spring Semester. This past summer, I was able to put my language skills to the test as a Peggy Browning Fellow; I worked to help low-income undocumented Latino workers to recover unpaid wages, and to fight for immigration reform. I had daily interactions with non-English-speaking clients, including client interviews. Studying abroad in the immersion program gave me the experience necessary to immerse myself in a office that served Latino clients. Additionally, the Peggy Browning Fellowships in labor law are extremely prestigious. Because I had no prior experience in labor law, I thought my chances were slim, but I applied to all five of the Fellowships that focused on Latino workers' rights organizations, and ended up receiving my top choice Fellowship. I believe my study abroad experience gave me the edge I needed in the application process to get a Fellowship.
Victoria ThompsonSeville, Spain, Semester Student
I really feel that my study abroad experience in Spain was in many ways pivotal in helping me get to where I am now. Now, I am about to begin a one-year Master's program in Latin American Studies at King's College London. Studying abroad gave me the confidence, skills, and desire to pursue my studies to a higher level, as well as to travel and explore the world without hesitation or fear of failure. It gave my applications for further study a competitive edge in more ways than one. Most importantly, for myself anyway, I find I am now more adaptable and more open to new cultures and ways of life, which in our increasingly globalized and multicultural world is something of inestimable value.
Katie StephensCordóba, Argentina, Academic Year Student
I aspire to work in the field of international education and I constantly draw from my study abroad experience in my new internship. I work with the Greenheart Club (a division of the Center for Cultural Interchange) here in Chicago, IL. My main duties include communicating with high school-aged exchange students from all over the world who are studying here in the U.S. through e-newsletters and blogs, as well as encourage them to connect with their host communities through volunteer projects. My memories from Argentina are something that will never fade and I have future plans to return to the country that is so near and dear to my heart.