Quinn Biever - 2013 Program Participant

In the Fall of 2013, Quinn participated in ISA’s Hispanic Studies, Business, and Language study abroad program in Sevilla, Spain. He is currently a political science major at Creighton University with minors in Spanish and Theatre, and will graduate in 2015. According to Quinn, studying abroad was one of the best experiences of his life, and he has his mother, Julie, and father, Doug, to thank for inspiring him to go abroad.

Cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain
Quinn Outside the Cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain

What made you select ISA for your study abroad program?

Originally, I was going to study abroad with another program. However, the requirements were too strict and the process of transferring my credits seemed too uncertain and difficult. So, I restarted my search for another program and looked into ISA due to the recommendation of a friend. The classes ISA offered proved to transfer much easier, and all other aspects of the application and preparation process proved to be much simpler and provide more guided assistance.

You’re from Creighton University, what advice would you give to other Creighton students going to study abroad in Spain?

If you’re from Creighton and you’re going to study in Spain, my advice is simple: branch out. It’s easier said than done, but the effort and courage to break out of your comfort zone and talk to students who don’t attend Creighton, or even students from other countries, will pay off in ways you can’t even imagine. Take it from someone who’s been there, it’s more than worth it.

In what ways was Sevilla the best place to study abroad in Spain?

Sevilla is the best place to study abroad in Spain because it has what I call the “Goldilocks factor,” it’s not so big that you’ll get lost (after the first couple times) but not 

so small that you ever get bored. It’s popular enough that a lot of students study there, but not so popular that you get lost in the crowd or struggle to find a Spanish friend.

Sevilla is a very beautiful, walkable city that is very traditional and exciting. A big part of what I wanted for my study abroad experience was to learn the customs and language of another part of the world. I heard from some of my friends who studied in big cities that the bigger and more populous the city, the more English you’ll hear and the fewer customs you might learn. At 700,000 people, Sevilla was a perfect environment to learn Spanish language and customs from Spanish students and natives.

Southern Spanish climate is very comfortable for almost the entire year, and its location allows you to travel practically anywhere in Europe. If I could do it over again I wouldn’t study anywhere else. ¡No me ha dejado!

What was your favorite class during study abroad in Sevilla?

My favorite class I took abroad was a course that focused on current political affairs in Spain. At first, I thought it would be boring, but the teacher was this short, energetic man from the south of France. His enthusiasm around the subject led to insightful class discussions and fun activities, the most emphasized of which was a series of debates over current political topics.

Again, in the syllabus this sounded like it was going to be a bit painful to get through, but my classmates and I really got into the spirit of fighting for the logic in our arguments, even if it didn’t align with our own beliefs. We even celebrated the end of class with bottles of wine! Surprisingly, I learned a lot and really enjoyed the class I least expected to.

How has studying abroad with ISA impacted your life?

The ways that studying abroad has impacted me cannot be summarized in one paragraph, but I suppose I can give you a few major ones.

First off, I feel like I have never matured and grew more as a person than during my months abroad. College is generally known to be a bright-eyed high school grad’s first steps out into the real world. But even in college, you begin by being told where to live, still being served food everyday in a dining hall, and making your way to all (or most) of your classes. But when you go abroad, the whole world opens up, and now you find yourself responsible for getting yourself to places, making or finding food, and even finding a bed to sleep in, depending on how much you travel. Being completely independent in a new country or continent is scary, but also forces you to face your fears and learn how to take care of yourself in a much more realistic way.

Another noticeable change has to do with my respect for other cultures. As I described to some of my friends back home, we all grow up in our own American bubble and get comfortable with the lifestyle we’re used to. But going to another country to observe and even participate in another way of life taught me that our way of life certainly isn’t the only one, and isn’t even the right one- it’s just a way of life. The knowledge of the amount and variety of people that live in all corners of this world is humbling.

Finally, this knowledge and skillset can probably be gained through other means and experiences, but studying abroad is the most fun by far. Going to a few classes, making a ton of friends, and traveling wherever you want, with whoever you want, to do whatever you want, is a dream I often wish I could return to. Studying abroad is unlike any other experience I have ever had and I will cherish the memories I gained forever. I recommend it to everyone.