Why did you study abroad?

I was super nervous before going- not just about travel, but other aspects of my life too. I know it’s good for me to throw myself into situations I’ll learn from, even if I have some hesitancy. A lot was going through my head. The flying, the being away from home for six weeks, a whole new country, a lot of other underlying things, I’m sure too, but at some point, with this internal battle, I just decided to go for it, knowing it was going to be good for me.

How did studying abroad benefit you?

I learned a ton about myself. I wouldn’t have thought about this being a benefit of studying abroad, but I think I understand myself, what I need to function, and how my environment impacts me. But also, there’s the cultural appreciation piece, I was a communication studies major, so I had already taken intercultural communication before I went. However, this was my first time traveling outside the country, and my Midwest culture is a huge part of me. I like to say I’m a very open person, but you don’t know until you’re in that situation.

What did you enjoy about your study abroad experience?

I loved everything about it. I studied for six weeks in Ecuador, and it was just this insane adventure, even on paper. I’m a huge nature person, so being able to live in the Andes mountains for a month and then see the coast and the jungle was extremely cool. The best part for me was probably being there with my group. It was all Ball State students and faculty, and it was this amazing feeling- growing together and forming that bond. By the end of it, we were just so sad to leave. I genuinely feel like I could call every single one of those people my friends because we had that shared experience. And then I loved the experience itself. The culture, all the people I connected with in Cuenca, where we lived. I loved going to class because it gave us space to discuss what we were living in the context of what we were learning, and I just felt very aware of how I was changing and growing even while I was doing it.

Any advice for Ball State students thinking about studying abroad?

I would say that if you have the opportunity, don’t let it pass by. Genuinely look into it and then make it happen. Also, take advantage of the scholarship and funding opportunities. I was able to get scholarships from several different sources, including the Rinker Center and my department. I applied for every scholarship I could find, and I got most of the cost of my program paid for just because I threw my hat in the ring for scholarships.

If this post got you thinking and you’d like to talk to a study abroad advisor, set up a 1-on-1 advising appointment here.