Amanda Albrecht - Program Participant
Why did you decide to study abroad?
When I was in high school I decided that I wanted to experience what the rest of the world has to offer. In order to fulfill this desire, I knew that I would need to study abroad. I loved learning the Spanish language and knew that studying abroad was the way to go.
Why did you choose Spanish Studies Abroad program?
I chose Spanish Studies Abroad because the Spanish language is very important in the U.S. We have so many native Spanish speakers here in the U.S. that having the ability to speak Spanish is a great asset.
What makes the program you participated in so interesting?
The program that I participated in had only American students. Although we were all American, my program introduced us to many different cultures. I was learning Spanish alongside other students from Japan, Russia, Germany, and many others. My classes at the Universidad de Alicante were very diverse with students from all over the world attending.
What is the best thing about your program that future participants need to know?
With this program, students participate in many different experiences and interactions that allow the students to reap the most benefits from the program. My program in particular, went on two trips as a group. By participating in the group trips, I was able to learn about the Spanish culture with my fellow students and have a personal guide, my program director, to get the most out of the trips.
We were also able to participate in trips that the school itself was hosting. I was able to attend a daylong festival that provided me with an amazing experience and unforgettable memories. My program opened the door for me to experience things that I would never have been able to without studying abroad.
What’s the one thing you would have done differently?
If I could go back and do the experience all over again, I would open myself up sooner. I was very reserved about moving out of my comfort zone and when I finally did, I realized what I had been missing out on when I was in my comfort zone. Studying abroad is a time in your life when you experience things that you wouldn’t get to otherwise. It is a time in your life when you make mistakes and take risks and learn from those mistakes and risks. So, I would open myself up more, take more risks, and move out of my comfort zone.
Now that you’re home, how has study abroad impacted your life?
Study abroad has made me more open to trying something new. In some ways, I have changed the way I live my life. I have seen the way other people live and how they go about their daily lives. I now know that the way I live isn’t the only way to live my life. I take more risks, I am more confident in myself and who I am. Studying abroad has made me a better person in ways I never thought was possible. I am more open to change; I have an easier time seeing the other side of things; I understand how different life is on the other side of the world.
I also think that I was a better student due to studying abroad. When I am sitting in class and there are students here who are studying abroad, I am patient with them and offer them my help. I know how it feels to not understand something and have the native speakers become frustrated with me. I believe that studying abroad has made me an all around better person.