Cheyenne Maddox, a junior at the University of Kentucky, just returned from studying abroad in Seville during her fall semester of 2014, on January 4th. She is majoring in International Studies with minors in Spanish and Business.
Cheyenne participated in a Partner program through ISA at the Menedez Pelayo International University in Seville, Spain. With the International Studies Abroad (ISA) program, she was able to take Spanish and International Business courses that will transfer over for her to receive credit at UK.
During her stay, Cheyenne didn’t have Friday classes, so she was able to spend her free time on the weekends traveling around Europe; an opportunity she doesn’t have at UK. Cheyenne and some of her peers planned trips to France, Italy, Germany and England. On top of planning her own weekend vacations, ISA planned excursions for the students. The organization took the students to camp in the Sahara Desert in Morocco; a trip to Lisbon, Portugal and to Malaga, Cordoba, Granada, Madrid, and Toledo around Spain.
“This experience made me realize my love for big cities and for travel. Because of my semester abroad, I really want to be in a career where I have the opportunity to travel and to learn about as many cultures as possible,” Cheyenne said.
After each country she visited, Cheyenne was constantly telling herself that she wished she could speak their language. On top of Spanish, she wants to learn how to speak Arabic fluently.
When studying abroad, you are in a classroom 24/7 without even realizing it. On top of learning languages and content applicable to your major, you are immersed in a diverse culture completely out of your comfort zone. The level of independence you want to experience abroad is entirely up to you.
Aside from what Cheyenne learned in her courses, she was able to learn about Spanish conversation skills while living with a host family that didn’t speak English. She learned about herself and that she can do things that seemed impossible before, such as getting around a busy city in a country where she didn’t know the language in Paris and Berlin. Studying in Europe also taught her more about the European Union and was able to learn their currency first hand by using the Euro and Pound.
Overall, one the most important things Cheyenne took from her experience abroad was the freedom and independence she felt. She remembers calling her mom before traveling to different cities on the weekends without having to ask permission to do so; being able to make her own decisions and realizing she is her own person is something you can’t learn or really feel until you experience it, Cheyenne says.
Cheyenne Maddox is an active member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, is involved in Club Soccer, the Student Activities Board, and she is a political affairs intern for The Borgen Project, as well as an employee for the Latin American Studies department on UK’s campus.
Photos by Cheyenne Maddox
Written by: Ashtin Morgan
Ashtin is an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador studying Journalism and Spanish. She is a Junior and participated in the UK Exchange Carlos III program in Madrid, Spain.