My name is Iris Cuevas and I will be studying abroad in Coimbra, Portugal this spring semester. I am a junior at UW-Madison majoring in International Studies and Portuguese with certificates in Global Health and Development Economics. I have less than three weeks until I arrive in Coimbra and I couldn’t be any more excited to begin my study abroad experience!
Being selected as a Global Gateway Fellowship recipient was very important to me. When I started attending UW-Madison, I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity to financially support myself. The Global Gateway Fellowship made it a possibility for me to go abroad as an undergrad student and continue my education in a foreign country. I heard about Global Gateway Fellowship through the emails sent by the Study Abroad and International Studies Departments and also through my friends who had previously done a program with Global Gateway. I heard many positive things about the programs and the ideals held by the scholarship and with nothing to lose, I decided to apply for it. What intrigued me about the fellowship was the importance of bringing the study abroad experience back to campus at UW-Madison. Studying abroad is a great individual experience and it could also be used to connect with other students who have already studied abroad or are currently studying abroad in Madison. It is a way to enhance international connections on campus and the Global Gateway values follow through with that.
One of my goals for the program is to improve my Portuguese comprehension skills. I would like to strengthen my skills so that I can become closer to reaching fluency in order to use it in everyday life and in a professional setting. Another goal of mine is to enjoy my time abroad by meeting as many people as I can and also finding time to travel and visit other European countries.
I selected the program in Coimbra, Portugal because I have been studying Portuguese at UW-Madison since I was a freshman. I heard a lot of good reviews about this specific program through the people I met while taking Portuguese courses. Once I started researching more about Coimbra, I knew I wanted to apply and study abroad there. Studying in Coimbra will not only be the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in the Portuguese language and culture, but also to study in a beautiful country that has lots of history to offer. I have grown to love and appreciate the language and would like to continue using it in my life and I believe that studying abroad in Coimbra will help me reach my goals.