Katie Campbell - 2013 Program Participant

Katie Campbell is a recent graduate, currently wandering the possibilities of life. Her time abroad allowed her to branch out and meet new people, and learn to embrace differences in opinion, religion, and everything in between. Katie hopes to put her knowledge of the Spanish language gained during her time abroad to use in a way that is both fulfilling and helpful in the future.

High in the Hills of Valparaíso
High in the Hills of Valparaíso.

Why did you choose ISA over other study abroad program providers?

There were a few specific factors that helped me to choose ISA, including location and whether or not classes in English were available. I had heard that Valparaíso was a fantastic place to live and study, so I was focusing on that city. I also looked at student reviews on ISA’s website for that city and program, and they were overwhelmingly positive. ISA seemed to offer pretty much everything I needed or was looking for academically and personality-wise, and I don’t regret choosing them at all..

Why were Valparaíso and Vina del Mar the best places to study abroad in South America?

There is so much variety between the two cities, and the atmosphere is incredible. Viña del Mar is very much a beach and tourist location, but it’s right next to the down to earth, “bohemian” city of Valparaíso. You can get a little bit of everything between the food, the people, and the shopping, not to mention the views, which are incredible.

What was your favorite class during your time abroad? 

I very much enjoyed all of the classes I took, but I think my favorite one was my Spanish Language and Chilean Culture class. The professor was very down to earth and a lot of fun, but she also made sure we learned a lot. My understanding of both Spanish in general and Chilean slang terms increased greatly; she also assigned projects and brought us on trips in order to help us understand the culture and history. I could go on and on, but I really loved the class - particularly because of the professor - and I was sad when it ended.

What advice would you give to other USC students going to study abroad in Chile?

I don’t know that there is any advice that would be specific to USC students, but I can tell you (and them) that the sports atmosphere, namely for soccer, is so much like the Gamecock football atmosphere. There is so much love and passion, which really excited me and made me feel like I was home when I first saw a game on TV down there.

How has studying abroad in Chile impacted your life?

It has impacted my life in so many ways. For one, it has greatly improved my Spanish; even though I lost a lot of it upon returning due to a lack of practice and opportunities, I still learned quite a bit in terms of what to say and how to say it.

Additionally, while I can be shy, I do enjoy meeting new people. Study abroad really fueled my desire and passion to get to know people from other cultures and learn more about them, where they come from, and how that may shape their beliefs.

Finally, I made so many great friends from my program and from the church I attended while there, as well as my host family. I still keep in touch with many of them, and I am hoping to return to Chile in the next few years to visit everyone and see some sights that I didn't get to before.