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IES Abroad Granada, Spain
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Nina Trach

Liberal Arts Major: Spanish
Other Major: Public Relations
Hometown: South Brunswick, New Jersey

What was the best part of your experience?

The people I met in Granada, and all around Spain, were by far the greatest part of my experience. Spaniards and Americans alike. I was surrounded by friends, students, host family, and staff that simultaneously welcomed and challenged me throughout my semester. I surprised myself in my ability to connect with people, even with cultural and linguistic barriers. It's one thing to see a city through a tourist's lens, but to meet the people that call it home gives you a look into almost an entirely different, and even more enchanting city.

"After a semester working internationally, I can definitely see myself pursuing opportunities to work abroad in the future."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I was challenged academically in a different capacity this semester, taking all of my classes in Spanish. They went beyond just vocabulary and grammar and pushed me to gain a deep understanding of the European Union, Spanish theater, and the art and history of Flamenco all in a second language. I gained a new appreciation for the constant challenge of deciphering both the meaning of words and deeper value of the content in each of my classes. I'm looking forward to continuing Spanish classes at Penn State, as well as finding more opportunities out of the classroom to practice my language skills.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

During my semester in Granada I had an internship with Anera Travel, a local travel agency in the city. This was a great opportunity to gain experience in the communications field, practice my Spanish, and get a glimpse at a very different work culture than that of the United States. After a semester working internationally, I can definitely see myself pursuing opportunities to work abroad in the future. It was a unique opportunity to see my background as an American and English-speaker as a tangible asset professionally, being able to provide a different perspective on lots of projects and issues at the office. I'm also extremely grateful to have improved my Spanish to a level in which I can communicate in the workplace. Through translating print and website content to communicating with colleagues, I saw a great jump in my language skills. In my future career I hope to be able to use my Spanish to communicate with colleagues and clients to make diverse and meaningful connections.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

My education as a Paterno Fellow broadened my perspective and prepared me to go abroad with an open mind and appreciation for differences. Throughout a semester of discussing Spanish politics, analyzing literature in a different historical context, experiencing cultural differences with students in Morocco, hearing foreign perspectives on the United States and every social context in between, my abilities to navigate and learn from each unique situation this semester were connected to the values of the Paterno Fellows Program; especially through intercultural awareness and excellence in communication.

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