Shawnee State University
Rose L. and Augusta Jacobs Center for International Programs & Activities
Portsmouth, OH 45662
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Q & A with Returned SA Students

What was the most significant thing you learned about yourself through your study abroad experience? Why?

“I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. I had to do so much on my own that I would have never experienced living in America, because here I always have my family close. It taught me to be more independent. During my time abroad, I traveled to Belgium to visit my uncle and his family. I had to take the trains, flight, etc. alone, traveling in places where I struggled to understand the language. The experiences like theses I went through taught me patience, to be understanding, and to have a little faith in myself and others. If I didn't understand something, I had to believe that the people I asked for help were honest and kind, which was hard at first for me, but I think it helped me to grow exponentially." - Brittany Hablitzel

"The most significant thing that I learned about myself while I was abroad was that taking that jump and getting out of my comfort zone led to amazing experiences.Getting on the plane and going to Spain was tough in its own right. However being in Spain and constantly trying new food or even the simple task of talking to people in Spanish were a struggle.I learned that once you open yourself up and you aren’t afraid to fail or fall on your face, the real fun can begin.Every weekend I tried new things and traveled all over Europe and Africa.Those experiences have helped me out so much now because I learned that if you do not take the leap, you will always look back wondering if you could have made it or not." - Adam Schroeder

"I learned that I was resilient and self-reliant. My laptop was stolen halfway through the semester, I was devastated. It was how I communicated with my family and friends back home. I later realized that my experience changed drastically after that. First and foremost, I learned to use a French keyboard for doing homework. But most importantly, I stopped relying on my family and friends for support and became consumed by my experience. I'm thankful now that I experienced that, it really forced me to step out of my comfort zone." - Mel Collins

What was your favorite experience when you were abroad?

"It is difficult to choose one experience as my favorite. There were so many good experiences that I feel like I am not doing them all justice by only mentioning one. But if I have to choose one I would choose the trip to Prague, Czech Republic that I went on with some other international students. We had a great time and it was a fun experience.Traveling to a new country with friends, exploring, and traveling together was a great experience that I will always look back on with great memories." - Troy Pearl

"Climbing what seemed like the largest sand dune in Merzouga and watching the sunset. I camped out in the desert that night and the stars were indescribable, I'll never forget it." - Mel Collins

"My favorite experience would be attending the Magdalena festival & learning more about the history and culture of my city during that week. My friends and host family allowed me to take part in the celebration of their heritage and that was an amazing experience." - Brittany Hablitzel

How did your study abroad experience enhance your knowledge, skills, and understanding of your intended career field?

"Study Abroad in Costa Rica gave me the chance to look on other cultures and natures, I never been in a rain forest before, and it was a great chance for me to explore that environment and it creatures." - Sadeddin Yamlikha

How did you have to adjust/adapt to your new cultural surroundings? Share examples from academic, social, and work settings.

"The biggest adjustment for me was the language barrier.  Going to classes that were only in Spanish when I barely knew any of it, was very tough for me.  If the professor would ask me questions I was stumped and I hated to try and answer anything because my Spanish was so bad.  However near the end I realized that even if my Spanish was wrong I was trying and that is what mattered.  I lived with a Spanish host family and adjusting to their culture and lifestyle was very difficult.  Spanish women tend to be very stubborn and once we learned how each other worked we became a very good family.   I adapted to their lifestyle and they embraced me as a son showing me their Spanish culture and heritage whenever they could.  For me the biggest adjustment was the lifestyle.  The students and all of Spain seemed to live for tomorrow.  They preferred to not worry about anything because they could do it tomorrow.  I am a very punctual person and in Spain it was customary to be 30 minutes late to whatever it was that you were doing;  that being classes, lunch, meetings, or anything that had a set time.  Once I learned to relax and not worry about anything I felt like the country took hold of me and I was a real Spaniard."- Adam Schroeder

Shawnee State University Center for International Programs & Activities