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IES abroad - Granada, Spain
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Ana Luiza San Martin

Major: HPA, Spanish
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Hudson, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Penn State provides excellent ways of discovering study abroad programs. I began by speaking to advisors and peer advisers and from there decided that I wanted to study abroad in Spain. After doing research on the Penn State Education Abroad website, I decided that Granada was the best fit for me. Not too small, not too big, just right.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

First of all, I don’t think words can adequately describe how amazing studying abroad is which is why I believe every student should be given the opportunity to study in a foreign country. Going into my abroad experience I told myself I would continuously have an open mind and take every opportunity possible. Living in a homestay was one of the best decisions I have made in the abroad process; the family I live with is amazing. I have been able to create a relationship with incredible people and practice my Spanish. My Spanish family taught me so much about the culture and what it is truly like to live in Granada. IES was also a huge part of what made my abroad experience so amazing. Each and every faculty member did so much more than was required of them to ensure every student was able to get the most out of their time abroad. For example, I have a great interest in healthcare and IES was able to help me find a local pediatric hospital to volunteer at weekly. Overall, I was able to immerse myself in the lifestyle and learn so much about other people.

Overall, I was able to immerse myself in the lifestyle and learn so much about other people.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad has allowed me to grow not only as a person, but also academically. Through studying abroad I was able to fully learn the Spanish language in a much deeper manner than just the simple (or not so simple) grammar and language. IES offers a diverse curriculum that impacts students academically. For example, I am enrolled in a course that studies the European Union, something I never thought to explore. Through this experience I have found that I am truly interested in different forms of government throughout the world. This experience has also taught me that there are various styles of teaching around the world and no one way is better than the other. I took a Spanish literature class at Penn State and one in Granada. They were both very different in many ways, but both beneficial to my academic learning process. Overall, I think abroad allowed me to realize that to be impacted academically students do not need to be in a classroom. I have spent many classes around the city of Granada, learning about the culture and I have learned more than I could even imagine.

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

I am studying Health Policy and Administration and Spanish with a minor in International Studies. In a of couple years I see myself working in a hospital, but not how most people imagine it. I want to work as an administrator in the international pediatric department. This experience has impacted my career choice because previously I knew I wanted to be an administrator, but I did not specifically have a focus on international. I have always had an interest in international healthcare, but hadn’t studied it too much. However, through research and volunteer work here I have come to realize that many patients from European countries and other countries travel to the United States in seek of the best healthcare. This is an area I would love to work in, facilitate the transition for patients to seek the best medical care without having to travel across the world.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

1000%. This experience was absolutely amazing. I was able to see parts of the world that I would have never seen without IES.

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