What was most memorable about the experience of studying abroad? What were you able to take away from it that still sticks with you?
It has been about 19 years since I've studied abroad! Despite that, probably the most memorable about my experience studying in Spain is experiencing the opportunity to appreciate the importance of enjoying life and being grateful. I stayed with a widowed, older woman and her son who lived in a much older home and neighborhood. Most of the students who came on the trip with me stayed with families who lived in modern homes, modern appliances, etc. At first, I was a little jealous because I wanted to live in a newer area. But after a few weeks, I came to learn the reasons I was placed there. Even though the homes appeared run down and small, the people that I met were close like family. Loli, my host mom, was known in her neighborhood. She would always have someone in her home for tea or just to socialize. Every day, the bread man who delivered fresh bread would always call her name to let her know that he was near her house. It’s sometimes not about how much one has, but the importance of family, being connected with others and making the most of life.
So far, how has your study abroad experience factored into your long term or short term career goals? Has your experience factored into your "normal" life in any way?
As far as short term career goals, I hope to share my study abroad experience at my kids’ school and start speaking at high schools on the importance and benefits of studying abroad. I have not been using my Spanish skills as much as I would have liked, so I’m looking into refresher courses and maybe tutoring kids in Spanish. Currently at work, I’m involved in a certificate program that my department created and collaborated with other Temple University experts to support and promote international education, research, cultural competence and entrepreneurial efforts at Temple. Finally, once I am admitted into Temple University’s Master of Educational Leadership program, I want to do my internship at Temple’s education abroad office.
My long term goals include working with an educational tour company like EF tours to organize a tour abroad within my community.
Have you been able to return to your country of study since you graduated Gettysburg College? Or have you been able to embark on other adventures (domestic or abroad) inspired by your study abroad experience?
Unfortunately, I have been unable to return to Spain since I graduated from Gettysburg College. Due to family, work and community obligations and just life, I put my plans to return to Spain on hold until I turn 50 in 2022! At that time, my son will be 24, my daughter will be 23 and some of my financial obligations will have been met. I hope to have more time to travel domestically and abroad, and hope to inspire my family and other young people to come with me.
In what way have you been able to carry your Gettysburg experience as a whole beyond your college years?
I have been sharing my college experience at my kids’ school during their College Day activities and through Girl Talk!, a mentoring program for middle school girls. I also share my experiences with my children about college. They are now 13 and 14. I also registered myself to volunteer at the Career Development Center by hosting a career call with interested students.