Hello! My name is Isabel Sichlau, and I am participating in IIP Madrid this summer. I am a rising junior studying psychology and Spanish with a minor in Portuguese and a certificate in Global Studies. After undergrad, I hope to join the Peace Corps before applying to graduate psychology programs.

At Pitt, I am involved in Keep it Real, a tutoring and mentorship program for Somali-Bantu refugee youth who have resettled in Pittsburgh, Healing Harmonies, a geriatric music therapy club, and the Pitt Pathfinder organization. I love getting involved within both the university and general Pittsburgh community to benefit those around me. I am originally from Oak Park, Il, about 20 minutes from downtown Chicago, where I manage a small business toy store over breaks and holidays.

As I mentioned before, I am traveling to Madrid for the International Internship Program. As a Spanish major, I knew I wanted to study abroad at some point in my undergrad experience not only to experience the culture, but to really immerse myself into the language. IIP offered me the unique opportunity to advance in both my Spanish and psychology degrees, which set it apart from other study abroad programs. I will be interning at the Centro de desarollo y aprendizaje NEO (The learning and development center) while abroad. At the center, therapists work with children, youth, and some adults who have developmental and/or intellectual disabilities to improve their academic achievement, social understanding, and general well-being. This organization will be a great introduction into the field of psychology while also giving me practical language experience. So, while the credits will apply toward my Spanish major, the experience I will obtain will open up opportunities within psychology as well.

Outside of academics and my career goals, IIP will give me the opportunity to be independently abroad, but with training wheels. Unlike a personal trip, I know I will have a strong support system both back in the states as well as with the EUSA staff, who will be able to support me if I need. This has calmed my nerves to some degree, although the definitely still exist. However, growth cannot occur without pushing through the discomfort! I hope to push out of my comfort zone and be fully immersed in a different culture, language, and lifestyle. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and I am excited to see what is to come over the next two months!