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CIEE Liberal Arts
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Diane Feeney

Major: Psychology
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew many people who had the opportunity to study abroad before, and I knew that I wanted to go somewhere to enrich my Spanish skills. I first did research on all of my options in Europe and South America, and spoke with friends who went to different places. After narrowing my decision down, I spoke with a Penn State Education Abroad adviser who pointed me towards programs matching  my interest and what would transfer to count at Penn State, etc. Looking at other people's experiences helped me the most, and then my adviser helped me to bring everything full circle and decide on a city and a program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time abroad was the most positive, awesome experience I could have ever wanted. I traveled to places I never dreamed of being able to travel to, and I learned more than I ever thought would be possible. I lived in a homestay with a Spanish woman and her granddaughter, and I took all of my classes in Spanish, so I spoke Spanish more often than I spoke English! My program gave us the opportunity to travel to places near Seville so I saw tons of different parts of Spain. They matched us with a Spanish student so that we can practice our conversational skills in a comfortable environment with a student our age. There are very, very few things that I would change about my experience, if any.

I traveled to places I never dreamed of being able to travel to, and I learned more than I ever thought would be possible.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My Spanish has improved tenfold. While I was able to speak it proficiently before arriving in Spain, my confidence while speaking is significantly higher now and I am able to have a conversation with anyone, regardless of the topic. My classes have also taught me a ton about Spanish politics and history, which are things I never thought I'd have the opportunity to learn, but they are now part of my daily life and I was even able to incorporate what I had learned into conversations with my host mom and my professors.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would like to work in human resources in my future career. I have an internship lined up in Texas this summer and I'm looking forward to incorporating my new found worldviews into my professional life. In the future, I would love to be able to work for a company and be able to travel and use my love for traveling in my professional life, helping companies in other countries to build up their staff and show them ways to improve. Incorporating my Spanish skills in a job would be awesome; I would love to keep being able to speak this much Spanish even back in America.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. My program has been extremely helpful. The move to a new country was very weird and confusing, and they were extremely helpful by putting us into orientation groups and acclimating us to the new culture we were in. My program makes us take our classes in Spanish, and at first I was very nervous for this, but it's one of the things that has made my Spanish improve so much. The amount of traveling that we are able to do is also amazing, and it's really a once in a lifetime opportunity that we are able to take full advantage of.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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