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IES Madrid: Language and Area Studies
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Danielle Metzger

Major: Marketing and Spanish
Minor: International Business
Hometown: Mountain Top, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After my first study abroad in Ronda, Spain during the summer of 2015, I knew I wanted to do a full semester in abroad somewhere. Conveniently, I also had to go abroad to complete the remaining requirements for my International Business minor, so it worked out in my favor. I researched different opportunities on Penn State's Global Programs website, spoke with my advisers, and found that IES Madrid: Language and Area Studies best fit my goals.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Cliche as it sounds, studying abroad in Madrid has allowed me to grow tremendously as a person and really get to know myself. While my primary priority is my classes, I have learned much more outside of the classroom than in it. My life has transitioned from English to Spanish, making me hone my language skills more than ever. Living in a homestay has taught me a lot about Spanish culture, especially in the Madrid region. While here, I also teach English to Spanish elementary school students--to no one's surprise, it's been a really rewarding experience. Traveling to other countries has made me more resourceful and easygoing. After all, there's no satisfaction quite like the one that comes from navigating solo through a foreign country like France where you don't speak a word of the language. But above all else, being able to study abroad a second time has allowed me to see new parts of the same country with a different perspective.

"Studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn about another culture, get out of your comfort zone, and explore."

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a Spanish major, I knew studying abroad in a Spanish speaking country would be incredibly useful. The classes I am taking now will satisfy the remainder of my Spanish major requirements as well as the abroad portion of my International Business minor. Because all of my classes are in Spanish, I have simultaneously bettered my language skills while also learning about the subject matter. I quickly had to adapt to the new grading systems and expectations of the professors here, but I've adjusted to my new academic situation. In addition to the serious part of academics, I have also had the opportunity to have more fun with my studies than usual (I'm currently taking a theatre workshop class where we put on Spanish skits and plays!). Overall, it’s been a very positive and educational experience.

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

In the future, I want to work in International Marketing in the energy industry. I hope to be able to use my Spanish skills to conduct environmentally-based projects in both Spain and Latin America. It's true that living in Madrid has shown me the importance of understanding general market differentiation and the global impacts of each country. However, it's also proven just how pressing of an issue caring for the environment is, and I hope to be in a future field where I am able to do just that. I came to Spain knowing what I wanted to do with my future, and being here solidified it even more.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes! Studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn about another culture, get out of your comfort zone, and explore. It's unlikely that you'll ever have another opportunity to live and study abroad for an extended period of time again, so take advantage of it now.

For more on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website
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