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IES Abroad Granada, Spain
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Jayde Morgan

Majors: Political Science and Global and International Studies
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

From the moment I accepted my offer to Penn State, I knew I wanted to study abroad. It was always a dream of mine to travel to another country and immerse myself in the culture and lifestyle of the people. I went to the Penn State study abroad office in Boucke and talked to Sarah, one of the study abroad advisors, about my options for programs in Spain. She helped me narrow down my choices based on certain aspects of the programs such as location, classes, and opportunities.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Study abroad in Granada, Spain was the best experiences of my life. Because of the challenges, opportunities, and experiences that I have had, I feel better prepared for the rest of my undergraduate degree and beyond. Because Granada is a relatively small city, I feel that I was able to really get to know the city and it truly felt like home. In addition, studying through IES was a fantastic experience because they offered a variety of classes while also promoting travel and leisure in the city and around Europe. I was able to meet people from across the United States and around the world through this program. For example, each member of the IES program was given an "intercambio" from our partner university, the University of Granada, who we were able to meet, talk, and discover Granada with. Also, on a trip to Morocco, the program arranged meetings with university students from Morocco who we were able to form friendships with over our short trip. Overall, I enjoyed every moment of my study abroad experience including my host family, new friends, classes, and trips.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Because I studied abroad in Granada, Spain, I was able to take classes that directly counted for my Spanish minor and will only need to take two more classes once I return to State College. In addition, as a Global and International Studies major, most, if not all, of my classes will transfer back to Penn State and keep me on track with that major. Finally, because I studied in an IES Abroad program, many of the courses that I took in Spain had easy course equivalencies. I cannot speak for other programs but I found that most of my classes were already listed on the historical course equivalency page and were therefore easy to find and transfer.

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

Because I am only a sophomore, I do not have all of my post graduation plans completely figured out. However, I do know that I would like to go to law school, preferably in New York or Washington D.C. Afterwards, I can see myself pursuing one of two paths or perhaps a combination of both. On one had, I am interested in government work so there is a possibility that I would use my law degree to then pursue a job in either the State Department, Department of Defense, or a law enforcement agency. On the other hand, I could also see myself continuing further as a lawyer. I am particularly interested in reformation of the criminal justice system and working with juveniles in the court system. Either way, while in Granada, I met a girl on a class trip who had been teaching English as a Second Language for three years in Spain. I had been considering taking a year off between undergrad and law school but had no idea what I would do in that year. Now, I would consider returning to Spain to teach English to children so that my gap year could be productive and I could continue to use Spanish.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most certainly recommend studying abroad to other Liberal Arts students. Not only is it easier for many Liberal Arts students to study abroad because of the classes that are typically offered but also my study abroad experience was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to meet dozens of new people from different countries and continents and also I was able to gain a perspective that was not limited to the classes, people, and opportunities in one region of the world. Now that I have studied abroad, I could not imagine going through my entire college career without doing so. I think one of the biggest reasons that people do not choose to study abroad is because they are worried about missing things at Penn State, but the rest of the world has so much to offer that it would be a shame to miss it.

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