There are few experiences in people’s lives where they can say that a certain decision or opportunity changed their life and gave them lasting knowledge. Traveling is my passion. And it was an opportunity to go abroad, in 2008, which exposed me to the opportunities and experiences that the world has to offer.
The summer before attending Pittsburg State, I was able to travel to different parts of Europe and immerse myself in the many cultural traditions Switzerland, France and Italy have to offer. Before leaving that summer, I thought I was fully prepared for next four years of my life in college. I wanted to go into physical therapy and receive my biology degree before moving on to another university. That all changed after spending a few short weeks abroad.
Upon my return that fall, I felt like a completely new person with a different outlook on the world. Often that fall semester, I found myself remembering my travels and I realized I wanted to see more. I wanted to see as many places as I could, and experience things I’ve only read about or seen on television. I wanted to be a world traveler.
Consequently, I dropped my major in biology and switched to International Business. I began attending as many cultural events as I could on campus and learned about the different opportunities Pitt State offers to study abroad.
Now a senior, double-majoring in International Business and Spanish, I can attribute a great deal of my success here at Pittsburg State to the experiences I have gained from my trips abroad. Coming from a family with very little international knowledge and being able to travel overseas three times before turning twenty-one has been a proud accomplishment for me as well as my family. Sharing stories with them about nights spent in Rome or castles visited in Granada has been exciting, and has encouraged me to share with others the advantages that studying abroad can offer.
In my study abroad program this past summer, I was able to attend Spanish classes at the University of Alicante. Eighteen students from the Spanish department and I spent the summer either in the classroom or exploring the city, as well as the country itself. We spent the mornings diligently practicing our language skills on a breathtaking campus, and the afternoons under the warm sun on the beach.
By far the most rewarding part of my trip was living with and getting acquainted with my host mother, Faz. The relationship and memories I made with her, her family, and friends are ones that I will never forget, and the knowledge I acquired from conversing with them has already proven beneficial back home at Pittsburg State. Understanding their alternative perspective has allowed me to come up with new and creative ideas for responsibilities in the classroom as well the different organizations I am involved in. In studying abroad, the people I have met and stories I have heard have been the most fulfilling part of travelling. Being exposed to different cultures and different ways of thinking has bettered me drastically, and has kept me motivated to never stop learning.