"The biggest culture shock was the language barrier. At some moments I became overwhelmed and discouraged. I would become frustrated when I could not reply, especially when I did not have my Spanish notebook. I felt bad I was unable to speak. However, I turned this into a lesson. I would tell myself and was reassured by others that not understanding is okay. A new language cannot be learned within a month. What really mattered was I had the courage to come and I was trying. This is what studying abroad is all about. It is about taking you out of your bubble, your comfort zone and trying something new. It is meant to expand your worldview, and that is exactly what traveling to Oaxaca has done for me."
“As a transfer student from Rutgers Newark it was my dream to travel abroad for my last semester. I wanted to finish my Spanish degree in Latin America given that my concentration was Latin American literature. As a child I emigrated from Cuba to the United States and experienced first hand a new culture, language and country. As a college student I was ready to experience this all over again with my study abroad semester. Chile was the best choice for me, and after much research I decided that Valparaíso would be the perfect fit for the experience that I was looking to get out of my time abroad.”
"This summer, I was given a wonderful opportunity to travel to Italy for an Art History study abroad program. I got the chance to visit places I had only heard of in books, movies, school and by word of mouth. Being in Italy was truly a dream. Though I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I did face some challenges. For instance, my biggest challenge while abroad was learning the language. Before landing in Rome, I stopped in Istanbul, Turkey where I was surprised by the amount of people who spoke English. I had heard before that English is the language of business. By traveling abroad, I began to see that statement in action. When I arrived in Italy it was the same scenario. Once people heard my American accent they switched to English to make it easier for me. This indeed made my life easier, but as the same time I wished to learn the Italian language. I had to purposely challenge myself to make sure I was taking in the language being that it is a big component of culture."
"I personally went to Spain to improve my Spanish language skills. I consider myself semi-proficient in Spanish, but I would like to achieve a fluent or near fluent proficiency level by the time I graduate from Rutgers. For me personally, studying abroad is a large part of the process. On top of learning the formal grammatical rules and norms, I have to use colloquial language daily, and the full on, multi-dimensional immersion has been a great way to practice my Spanish in multiple contexts. My Spanish will never be perfect, but I’m really glad that I took this opportunity to better my language skills."