Studying abroad for a semester in college has been a goal as well as a dream of mine for many years. I was fortunate enough to have been given the chance to participate in the two week Plus 3 program in Milan, Italy my freshman year, but I was still eager to travel and further submerge myself in a different culture for a longer period of time. Before participating in this program, the only other country I had been to outside of the United States was Canada (which is not saying much because I live in Buffalo, a mere 30 minutes from the border). This is what led me to apply for the ISA semester program in Madrid. As a current junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Marketing and Supply Chain Management, and pursuing a certificate in Business Analytics, I decided this was the perfect time to finally fulfill my lifelong goal.
When I began the process of choosing a location for my semester abroad, I had a tough time narrowing down a program due to the plethora of options available at Pitt Business. After weeks of researching, I finally settled on the International Studied Abroad Program in Madrid, studying at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija. What drew me to this program most was the large selection of classes available that were of interest to me, along with the rich culture of the city and my brief background with Spanish in high school. Taking part in a program such as this is something that I would describe to be out of my comfort zone. I think that this chance to participate and take classes in a completely different setting, while also interacting with the local students and professors in the area, will be a great way for me to get out of the bubble I feel that I have been living in for most of my life. I am most looking forward to completely immersing myself in this unfamiliar culture and embracing all of the new opportunities and challenges that are likely to be presented along the way.
I am not expecting it to be easy at first, as any major change such as this will take time to adjust to, but I am fully prepared to adapt to my changing environment. In terms of my future professionally, I am hoping to get some clarity out of this experience as to where I would like to take my career after I graduate in a short year and a half. Living in Madrid for four months has left me with several expectations of personal growth as well as professional, such as learning how to cope with the culture shock as well as embracing the way of life of the Spaniards and trying to break the routine I feel as though I am sometimes trapped in here in the United States. I am very much looking forward to arriving in Madrid this Saturday and can’t wait to embrace this fresh perspective.