In their words
Alicante, Spain-USAC Spring 2012
Journalism and International Studies
Beijing Center-Fall 2010, Denmark-USAC Spring 2011
Madrid, Spain-Marquette Exchange Spring 2010
“My mom and I both, actually my mom probably more so than me… we weren’t sure how receptive people were in other countries. Even here my mom was worried about me not living with her, and not living at home and just being in Chicago. Then abroad, like in France there’s a ban on head scarves and I didn’t know how Spain felt about that or in other countries I would travel to.”
How did you overcome that fear?
“I feel like I’ve always been the type of person, not to change people’s perceptions but I feel that if you put yourself in the best light and put your best foot forward then people will see you for who you are and eventually not in the stereotypes that they initially put you in.”
“Before I went I literally had a vocabulary of ten words of Spanish, that’s it. And then when I came back I could say that I can definitely hold a conversation in Spanish.”
“On my flight during spring break from Alicante to Budapest, I was sitting next to two older Spanish men and I talked with them the entire time… like 6 hours in Spanish. I was so proud of myself.”
“I think everyone has concerns before they go abroad especially if you come from a diverse background but I don’t think that should ever hinder you from experiencing the world because it’s definitely worth it and you learn so much just by being exposed to other cultures, let alone immersed in it.”
“eye-opening, exciting, transformative”
"I didn’t know anything…any numbers, the language. It was scary."
What were you expectations for studying abroad?
"I didn’t know anything about Chinese culture. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew that it was something I wanted to learn about because it was so different from everything that I knew and it was an opportunity so I took it and I was scared because I realized how long I was going to be gone but I was like I am going to do this. I want to just go away for a whole year and figure myself out or discover something you know."
"I’d be a boring person without study abroad I think and I learned so many things like I have friends that were from Finland I have friends that were from Holland, Norway and Sweden."
"The way they live there is different than the way we live here. I learned to live a different way. I learned to calm down and be ok without being busy. You learn patience. You learn how to talk to people who are different from you. You learn that you aren’t the only person in the world."
"You get to learn something outside of yourself. And you get to realize that there is more than what you were limited to before and it is also another sign of hope that you can do things, there are no limits and that’s a nice feeling you know and that you can accomplish something like that to go to another country even if you are scared, you did it. And you learned another language even if you don’t entirely learn something."
"You get that weird feeling when you’re not being understood but you keep going you know and you keep pushing yourself and you challenge yourself and you end up getting that plate of food that you were trying to say you wanted for like an hour and thirty minutes and that nervous weird feeling goes away and you feel like yeah that’s pretty cool I did that."
"And you get to tell your family that never got to do these things stories and hopefully it motivates them, encourages them to do something as well. Like I hope my brothers will learn from me to and want to go to college hopefully and not just go to college not just study, but to discover something, to try something new. To throw yourself in this world because it’s not just one continent. It’s this gigantic ball and you can go anywhere you want."
"awesome, marvelous, adventurous"
“I always wanted to but I didn’t think I could though because I knew I couldn’t afford it. I was already taking out loans to go to Loyola as is so study abroad seemed like something I couldn’t do, but then it turned out that it was the exact same price, it all (financial aid) rolled over so it was like studying here. Honestly with all my grants and loans and scholarships it was just a $1000 more for the study abroad fee, which is manageable."
What was your greatest fear?
“That I wouldn’t have enough money there. I didn’t have time to save. Loyola’s financial aid literally made it possible to go.”
“Since then, I am convinced that I need to somehow influence people abroad. I’ve always been interested in politics and when I first got to Loyola I was interested in domestic politics… but now that’s the last thing I want to do. Anything that I work for has to have some international part to it… something where I can affect people outside of the U.S.”
Did your experience impact your perception or knowledge of your own culture? (worldview)
“Yes, it made me aware that we take things for granted and we have more than we think we have and how much power we really do have.”
“If everyone else is capable then so are you. I never thought it would be possible either, but it worked out and it was very manageable. It’s not as hard as you think it is, with all the resources we have now you really just have to go and apply, after that they literally lead you every step of the way.”
"life changing, amazing, eye-opening"