How study abroad impacted my career

“How Study Abroad Impacted My Career”

by Elaine Kilgore via “Lanthorn

On behalf of Captain Baker and the entire crew, welcome aboard American Airlines flight 392, non-stop service from Chicago to Madrid.” Holy crap, I’m going, I’m finally going to Spain! The months of research and planning are finally paying off. This is a great idea. Isn’t it? I’ve been studying Spanish for years, but what if I don’t understand their dialect? Do Spaniards even like Americans? I don’t know anyone in Spain. What am I doing?

This is what goes through your mind when you study abroad for the first time. Excitement, with a healthy dose of fear. Growing up, I barely even traveled to Canada. But in 2011, the summer after my junior year, I left the continent. I had accepted an internship with a with a company in Madrid that connected private English tutors with Spaniards. I hopped on a plane with two other girls from GVSU, whom I barely knew.

My host “family” was group of three women who did not speak English. This was intimidating at first, but it forced me to practice and improve my Spanish. They were kind, inviting and understanding of the language barrier. They taught me how to cook a couple of their favorite dishes and made sure I felt welcome coming to them for anything.

If I felt homesick, I could Skype my family, boyfriend and my cat and dog. As time went on, I found myself less and less depending on the Skype conversations and more and more interested in planning my next adventure.

I could take a day trip to Toledo, Spain, try new food and tour an ancient city and, later that night, still check in with my cat in America. On my last day in Spain, I found myself mourning leaving the town, roommates and new friends I had made. Three months was more than enough time to fall in love with a country, its people and the language.

My second chance to study abroad came in the summer of 2012, when I applied for a program called Marketing in China. They accepted twelve students from GVSU, MSU, and SVSU, myself included. And I didn’t even know Chinese!

One day we met with the president of Amway China, and the next we were working our calves out on the Great Wall and learning how to make dumplings. We traveled throughout the region, hitting cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Hong Kong.

Studying abroad isn’t strictly business, and it isn’t a vacation. I had the opportunity to experience the sights, food and people the world has to offer, and I did real work with real world benefits.. . . .”


Study Abroad: Budget For Spain

“Study Abroad: Budget For Spain”

by Majorie Cohen via “Investopedia

Study abroad can have big career payoffs. Here's what to expect to pay for that investment – from tuition and travel, to housing, meals and, yes, some fun.

One of the best investments you can make in your education is studying abroad. “Globalization has changed the way the world works, and study abroad is crucial for preparing students to enter the 21st century workforce,” according to Daniel Obst, deputy vice president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), which focuses on advancing international education and access to education worldwide.

Data collected for an IIE briefing paper backs up Obst’s point. Two hundred senior-level U.S. and international business leaders reported that most of their HR departments took into consideration their recruits’ international experience when hiring, promoting and determining a new assignment. Thirty percent even did so when deciding on a starting salary.

Spain is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for U.S. students. According to IIE’s data, 9% of all U.S. students abroad are studying in Spain. Because of its enormous popularity, Spain offers an impressive number of choices for where, when and what to study. IIEPassport lists more than 900 choices: programs sponsored by universities, consortiums of academic institutions and study abroad organizations, plus direct enrollment and student exchange possibilities. For help in making an informed decision about what experience is best for you, check out the field’s bible, “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” published by IIE and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).

How much will study in Spain cost?

Sponsored programs have varying price tags. We’ve chosen, as a representative example, AIFS’s study program in Barcelona at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, which is offered both for fall and spring semesters and for a full academic year. The cost for one semester in 2015–2016 is $11,795. Cost includes tuition, housing, some meals (if a homestay housing option is chosen), excursions and cultural activities, day trips and the on-site services of a resident director. Optional airfare packages are available. Independent study may cost less than a sponsored program but will involve much, much more footwork.

Can I get financial aid?

U.S. universities and colleges are required by federal law to continue giving federal funds to students who participate in approved study abroad programs. Discuss with your own financial aid office whether the specific aid you are receiving from your school will be transferable. Pay careful attention to deadlines. For more on financing your study abroad, read How to Finance Your Studies Abroad.  And IIEPassport’s Study Abroad Funding has information on scholarships and grants.

Of special interest is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which gives priority to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad. Check also with the study abroad program you choose; it most likely has its own financial aid arrangements.


“How College and my Study Abroad Program Prepared me for a Life in Spain”

“How College and my Study Abroad Program Prepared me for a Life in Spain”

by Cat Gaa via “Sunshine and Siestas”

“I knew what I wanted to study from the time I was 12. My elementary school had a TV lab, and each sixth grade class got to produce a morning news program. My first assignment was interviewing other students about fire safety on the playground. As a kid with countless interests, being in a cubicle would NEVER be for me.

At the University of Iowa, I went into journalism, but we were forced to pick another major or concentration. Most of my peers chose Poli Sci or English. The reason I chose International Studies as my second major was because it was a DIY program, so all I had to do was argue my way into classes, prove that they had something to do with international studies, and I could earn credits towards my degree.
Christi and I lived with the same host family in Spain!
I enrolled in courses like Paris and the Art of Urban Life, Beginner French, Comparative Global Media and Intercultural Narrative Journalism. I have always loved travel, languages and media, so a concentration in international communication was a great fit for me, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed my coursework. I also chose to minor in Spanish because it was my favorite subject in high school.
Little did I know that choosing to minor because, hey! I’m an overachiever, would actually set a course for the rest of my life. My mom studied in Rome during college, and all but demanded I do the same (she did not, however, ask this of my little sister). Between dozens of cities and scores of program choices, I balked and did the simplest one: a six-week summer program in Valladolid, Spain, operated and accredited by the state of Iowa. A large contributing factor was the $1000 that went towards my tuition, too.
Study Abroad
I know virtually nothing about Valladolid, a former capital about two hours northwest of Madrid, and my first impression was not great: a hazy day and a kid peeing on the side of the road. As our program director, Carolina, called off names and assigned my classmates to host families, I grew really nervous.

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“Ready to Go to Spain: What to Pack”

“Ready to Go to Spain: What to Pack”

by Arcadia University

“. . . . Students should be prepared to move their luggage through airports, on and off busses during orientation, and up several flights of stairs to their rooms. Student rooms are normally equipped with only a foot and a half of hanging space and two, three-foot bureau drawers or the equivalent shelf space, and emptied luggage is usually stored under beds. Keep this in mind when you’re packing.

The leave-half-behind rule.

We’ll say it again. You are going to have to carry whatever you pack by yourself, so leave behind half of what you think you need. You will be limited to two pieces of checked luggage and one carry-on bag on the flight, and even that is more than you can comfortably carry. Large, hard-sided suitcases are tough to carry and even more difficult to store. USE DUFFEL BAGS or a good, internal frame BACKPACK. Closet space will not be as generous as what you are used to, so even if you can get it there, you won’t necessarily know where to put it. No one has ever complained about taking too little luggage. If you don’t believe this, talk to a student who has done it before. Every year we see unhappy students struggle to get a mountain of their own luggage on and off buses and up and down stairs. Don’t be one of them. Continue reading