Anne studied in Hangzhou and Beijing, China as well as to Granada, Spain over the course of 2015-16. She studied conversational and contemporary Mandarin Chinese and joined ISA’s Spanish immersion program. She loved staying with her host family in Beijing because she got to know them on a personal level.
Ashley Wettstain travelled to London, England in a summer program. Her favorite part was immersing herself in European culture by flying to different countries each weekend. She wanted to become and Education Abroad Peer Ambassador because she didn’t take advantage of the resources offered, and she wants to encourage others to not do the same for a more fulfilling experience. Her major words of advice are to research and to get to know your local area as best you can.
Interviewer: Why did you choose your program(s)?
Anne: Several of the professors in the Chinese program had spoken about the Hangzhou program or presented about it, and I wanted to improve my Chinese language ability. I chose Beijing because wanted to study abroad in China to improve my language skills, and Beijing seemed to be the perfect city for that. Also, this particular IES Abroad program had a mandatory language pledge, where we would be allowed to speak Chinese for 8 hours a day for the first half of the semester and then 24/7 later on, which I thought would be really beneficial. I also wanted to improve my Spanish language skills, and I wanted to go to Spain because so far in high school and college I had mostly studied Latin American Spanish. I knew that in a city like Granada I wouldn’t have as many opportunities to speak English, and besides that the city has a lot of history and beautiful architecture.
Ashley: I chose my program for several reasons, one being that as a science major, it was hard to leave for a whole semester and find required courses that would transfer over (Physics, Organic Chemistry, etc.). With that being said, a summer program that was about health was very appealing to me.
Interviewer: What was the program a good fit?
Anne: My programs were all a good fit for me. I’m really glad that I chose to go on a UK Sponsored program at first; it was my first time traveling outside the country, and it made me (and my parents) feel a lot better knowing that there would be UK faculty and students going along on the trip with me. I really liked my program in Beijing because it challenged me academically, and I made a lot of good friends with the other American students on my program. My program in Granada was great too, and I’m really glad that I went with ISA because I ran into some problems trying to get my Spanish student visa while I was studying abroad in China at the time, and the ISA staff were all super helpful and guided me through the process so that I was able to study abroad after all.
Interviewer: Did your learning impact your future plans?
Ashley: Yes! I am pursuing a job in the dental field, and one-day hope to own my own practice. I aspire to be a dentist because I feel that a person’s smile is the first impression that you give to others. With that being said, I noticed what a significant difference there was in the teeth of Europeans and Americans: Europeans’ teeth need some work! This bolstered my “first impression” theory and has even sparked the idea to travel and do dental service to other countries in the future to help them see how important oral care is!
Abby King is a senior studying history and classics at the University of Kentucky. She studied abroad in Summer 2016 in England where she participated in the Durham University Summer Fulbright Institution and learned about ancient and medieval history and archaeology.