My Story: Why I decided to study abroad and how I made it a reality!

My story starts in a high school Spanish class. My teacher had pictures displayed around the classroom of different Spanish-speaking countries she had been to, which I loved looking at. She always tried to incorporate her experiences in different cultures into class. Learning about cultures from someone’s firsthand experiences and the impact these experiences abroad had on my teacher’s life inspired me to seek out that experience for myself. Fast-forward to college, I knew right away that I wanted to learn about the study abroad options available at UW-Madison, so I attended the Study Abroad Fair, which is usually held in the early fall. I got a lot of great information, but I still wasn’t sure how I was going to plan study abroad into my college career. In the spring of sophomore year, I became more serious about studying abroad and met with my academic advisor to discuss how I could stay on track for my degree while studying abroad. Since I am a neurobiology and Spanish major, I can make my study abroad work into my schedule by mostly taking Spanish classes abroad since the science classes I have to take aren’t as widely available (science majors can study abroad!). I then consulted the IAP website to research programs that I would be interested in based on location, duration, cost, and academics. The website was very helpful in showing all the different factors I wanted to know about each program, which means you can definitely find the program for you. I always wanted to study in Spain, although I didn’t limit my searching exclusively to there, but I did end up finding a program in Spain that aligned with my goals for studying aboard and what I wanted to get out of my experience. I then went through the application process for my program, which for me included basic information, passport information, and a few essays. I am excited to study at Universidad Complutense de Madrid for the spring semester. I can’t wait for this experience of improving my Spanish language skills, gaining cultural competence, meeting people from around the globe, and living in a big city but I am also excited to share my journey of change, growth, and all things Spain along the way!