Have you ever wanted to just pack up and leave, to travel somewhere unknown? Are you interested in adventure, learning about another culture, picking up a new language? Consider studying abroad. If you’re on the fence, here are some reasons why you might want to take a chance!
See The World
It’s not every day you are able to walk around the Colosseum in Rome, ride a camel in Morocco, or visit Buckingham Palace. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to see the world. Not only will you be experiencing life and learning in a new country, but you’ll also have the opportunity to travel to EVEN MORE places with your school!
Taking In A New Culture
It can be scary leaving home and going to a country you’ve never been too before, but studying abroad is a fantastic and safe way to do it. This is an opportunity to really immerse yourself in a new culture. Try new foods, participate in new traditions, and explore!
Learn outside of the traditional four-wall classroom. Why have your head stuck in a book learning about history and art when you could be out in the world seeing these places in real life! Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to experience college education in different ways. There’s more to learning than just a classroom.
Learning A New Language
Learning a new language in class is one thing, but learning out in the real world is a whole different experience. By studying abroad you have the opportunity to learn by hearing and speaking it on a daily basis with everyone around you.
Studying abroad can help you stand out in the workplace. You are showing to future employers that you are open-minded, adaptable, and flexible. It also shows you are open to new challenges and you aren’t afraid to go out of your comfort zone.
Finding New Interests
Studying in a different country gives you a chance to experience new activities and develop new interests. By exploring new places, meeting locals, or becoming inspired by a class or city, something is bound to spark your interest.
Studying abroad allows you to be independent and gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself. While you learn to adapt to a new environment you’ll have to rely on yourself to learn how to navigate around a new place and through situations you might feel slightly uncomfortable in. It might be overwhelming at first but soon you’ll realize how capable you truly are.
Making Lifelong Friends
We’ve all heard the friends you make in college become your friends for life. Well, while studying abroad, you will meet students from all over the world. This will allow you to create lifelong friendships with an even larger variety of people.
Take a chance and try something new. There’s no better time for an adventure! You can find more information on the ACA website, by contacting ACA Director Sandra Esteves (email@example.com), or PUC’s ACA representative Dr. Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A disclaimer is necessary before you risk reading this article. I have an extreme tendency to become very enthusiastic about learning, this ailment is generally known as being a nerd. I love learning, genuinely enjoy sitting down with my textbook, and spending an afternoon studying is something I make time for. My phone is full of podcasts about science innovations, the history of language, psychology, and philosophy, and most of all, I become very animated talking about pedagogy and educational styles. Yet despite my unusual affinity for the (often grueling) acquisition of information and collecting of new experiences, there were parts of jumping into a year of Adventist Colleges Abroad in Argentina that were uncomfortable, even for me.
Indulge me in a thought experiment. Imagine you walk into a room where a preschool birthday party is in full force. Thirty small children in sparkly pink dresses and sneakers that light up when they run are squealing with glee. Each has three balloons they are attempting to keep in the air and enthusiastically and uncoordinatedly batting towards your face with ecstatic peals of laughter. This sensation is what I encountered walking into my great aunt’s house when I understood just enough Spanish I could no longer simply let it wash over me, and it rather had the dizzying effect of being pummeled with balloons.
On this side of the family, English is at such a level when a grandchild says, “Hello, nice to meet you,” the superb use of English is applauded by the entire crowded room of relatives. Upon entering this virtual preschool party, I was kindly offered a beige-colored smoothie that was nearly chewable and by the end of that evening, I knew everyone I met was related to me, yet it took me months to figure out how.
(Half of the aunts and uncles, and a third of the cousins are represented in these pictures.)
When asked, “How was your year in Argentina?” I have my answer ready: “Wonderful, I’m glad I went.” But how can nine months of experience be summarized in one word? There are two statements that better explain the result of a year as an exchange student and I cannot take credit for either statement. The first made me laugh: my dad’s friend declared I have “this new thing” in my brain. Spanish, an entire language, really is “a new thing.” It’s a tool that can be used in a large number of disciplines and I managed to put it into my brain in the space of nine months. The second statement is I have become what might be called “bicultural.” I have learned and integrated sufficiently that I will never be in one place without missing the other, or the people who live there.
Choosing to spend a year in the ACA Argentina program had many motivators for me: I wished to learn Spanish, I hoped for a year to step back from my fast-paced science major, and I saw the unique opportunity to get to know the family on my father’s side and understand their culture. Arriving in Argentina I had less of a culture shock than I had anticipated. My Argentinian and Uruguayan grandparents had traveled down a couple weeks before me to visit family and prepare to introduce me to their siblings who live there and get me settled in “la Villa,” the 95-percent-Adventist community surrounding “Universidad Adventista del Plata,” where ACA students attend school alongside the Argentinian students.
My grandmother has two brothers who live within walking distance from my dormitory and the first week my grandparents took me to large family gatherings at each house, starting with Tío Roberto’s. As I had predicted, Spanish was tossed around the table and I watched it go flying by, feeling like I was at a tennis match. I quickly learned the art of the Argentinian kiss greeting, and a small vocabulary of niceties to pair with a smile when they offered unidentified food items. After a couple of hours at Tío Roberto’s house with two of his children and six of his grandchildren, I went back to my dorm room and took a long nap. This was only the first family gathering. The next one was the preschool party experience when I finally realized I had placed myself outside of my comfort zone and was about to learn in a way that was going to be a challenge even to a professed nerd.
I have also learned that often experiential learning is just as valuable as spending quality time with my textbooks. Trips to Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Chile taught me more about people, friendships, language, currency, planning, decision-making, and reminded me I am an adult more than four entire years of college with my nose in textbooks.
(My group of adventurers at Valparaiso in Chile and a view from “pan de Azucar” overlooking Rio De Janeiro.)
ACA helped me grow academically more than I expected. While learning a new language it is almost possible to feel the neural connections forming. I tired my friends with discussions about how I mixed up my languages and how fascinating this phenomenon was from a psychological perspective. Looking back at this year, I firmly believe I have grown, matured, and expanded my brain at least as much as studying organic chemistry for a year if not more.
The metacognition of learning a language fascinated me the entire year. I was constantly analyzing what parts of language my brain adopted easily and why, which words came to mind, or even noting moments when I was seeking a word and could not find it in either English or Spanish. I will encourage anyone I can to take a year abroad if only for the neuropathways that are created through learning a new language, with the bonus of seeing the world and making friends from across different continents. I believe regardless of which major I may be studying, the process of learning a new language will help me in learning all my other topics, and I hope to maintain my friendships from five continents.
With a little less time spent wrestling with numbers, I have allowed myself to observe creation with an eye toward the beauty and not just the organization of our world. Spring quarter, which in Argentina is actually fall, I was given the opportunity to participate in an internship working with the ESL teacher and helping students find opportunities to speak to real-live English-speakers. Our class began at 7 a.m., and we assistants watched the sunrise while walking to class. After observing a particularly vibrant orange, I commented to one of the ESL students how incredibly beautiful the bright sky was. He turned to me and replied, “Really? You mean you don’t have sunrises where you come from?” I realized it wasn’t beauty I lacked in my hometown, but an appreciation of my surroundings which I have gained this year with a conscious effort towards appreciating and soaking in the world around me, not just textbook facts.
(I will never stop missing Argentinian sunsets and sunrises. I would often delay my run until I could be sure to watch the sunset on my return trip.)
I believe only someone from outside of a culture can really view its beauty with fresh eyes. I hope having this new split perspective, I can maintain the ability to step fully into one culture or the other in order to observe American culture with Argentinian eyes, and Argentinian culture with American eyes, and avoid the jaded perspective of taking my culture for granted. Because if I learned anything this year it is that people, language, and all cultures really are beautiful.
Growth. Independence. Relationships. Culture. Beauty. These are some of the words that come to my mind when I reflect on my incredible, unforgettable, life-changing study abroad experience. When the opportunity to write this blog post was presented to me, I more than happily agreed. However, I’ve definitely hit a wall: I have too much to say. I’m serious! I haven’t been able to organize my thoughts, thus postponing my submission. It’s just that I feel like I’ve lived more of my life in the past 8.5 months than I have in my first 19 years. I know all of this might sound a bit dramatic, but I don’t know how else to express how transformative this year has been for me. Here I am at the end of my course here, and I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my life thus far.
For one, I went completely out of my comfort zone: I have never moved outside of the Bay Area, I live only about an hour or so from my college, and I have never really been away from home AND my family for more than a week. So when I made the decision to move to a country whose official language I don’t speak, whose culture I know nothing about, and with people whom I’ve never met, I was blindly strapping myself into a rollercoaster. As you can probably imagine, it was 100 percent the wildest, most loop-filled, most fun and exciting ride I’ve ever been on, and I’m so proud I survived it. I learned Spanish; I traveled to 11 countries (and learned to travel with just a carry-on, something unheard of for me); I made some of my BEST friends, both American and Spanish; and I managed to grow in my relationship with God.
Staring with my studies; I mean, how cool is it to completely immerse yourself into a new culture and learn a completely new way of communicating? Personally, my main reason for studying abroad in Spain was, in fact, to learn Spanish. Everything else that came with it was just an extra bonus. I spent many months taking conversation, composition, grammar, and test prep classes, as well as some fun extracurriculars such as Flamenco, Folklore, Translation, and Health. Plus, I interned in the kitchen and taught ESL to first and second graders. Needless to say, I kept myself busy while having an absolute blast. And to top it all off, I received my DELE B1 official certification (Feel free to Google that on your own time)!
Straying a bit from all of the Spanish talk, I also traveled to so many new places both in and outside of Spain! My school took us on some amazing trips to locations all over Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco, and I was able to do some independent adventuring in Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, England, France, Austria, and Malta. Experiencing the cultures of other countries has changed my perspective on life as a whole, as well as has given me a greater appreciation for everything I have back home in California.
Speaking of everything I have back home, I can’t even fathom how lucky I am to have met all of the people I did. Right at the beginning of the school year, the whole Adventist community in our area went on a campus ministries trip in the middle of Spain, and I was lucky enough to meet so many Spaniard right off the bat. Throughout the year, my friendships with them only grew better, and I know I now have lifetime friends here. Plus, I built strong relationships with my professors and other school faculty—relationships I will cherish forever. Of course, I also became extremely close to the other ESDES students from all of the different Adventist universities. I met some people this year that really did change my life, and they are a huge part of the reason I loved my year abroad.
To close, I found myself a lovely community of God-fearing church members with whom I felt comfortable, safe, and welcomed. My favorite Bible verse is found in Matthew 5:16, and it says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I’m incredibly humbled and blessed I was able to sing and share God’s goodness in that church with those beautiful people. I’m just so moved by the fact I can now glorify my God with a wider range of people because I’ve learned another language. I know this isn’t the type of “wow factor” most people would expect from a study abroad experience, but it truly made an impact on me and my time in Spain. I’ve never had to rely on God more than I’ve had to this year, so I really am thankful for everything I experienced on this remarkable journey.
Well, I’ve certainly written more about my experience than I was asked to, but I guess, in short, I just want to say if you’re even considering studying abroad in the slightest, go. One year abroad will not ruin all of your plans of graduating on time and getting on with life as soon as possible. Just slow down; there’s no rush. Study abroad now while you still have this incredible opportunity (before it’s too late and you really do have to get on with life). You won’t regret it. Regardless of how your experience goes, whether you’re abroad for just a summer or for an entire three quarters, you will grow and learn so much about yourself, and that in itself should be enough a reason to make that final decision to turn in those papers and hop on your flight to your new home.
PD Quería decir gracias por todo, España. Te echaré de menos y te prometo que regresaré algún día. Te quiero muchísimo.
Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) is a study abroad program with affiliates in countries around the world. There are many advantages to studying abroad. You of course get to travel and see great historical and cultural sites, but you also learn about other countries, cultures, peoples, and languages. Learning another language makes you more desirable in the job market and can be very useful in your everyday interactions with other people.
While abroad, you also earn credits that fulfill general education requirements. A large number of those credits can count towards PUC’s new language and culture studies major from the department of world languages and cultures. There are six emphases available for the language and culture studies major, as well as a Spanish studies major and minors in most languages. However, you don’t have to major or minor in languages to participate in ACA; all majors are welcome.
The main requirement for acceptance to the ACA program is a GPA of at least 2.5. For the academic year programs in Spain and Argentina, you also need to have either two years of high school Spanish or one year of college-level Spanish. No previous knowledge or experience is required for any other program. You can come as a total beginner to any summer program and to all non-Spanish academic year programs. The most important thing, in ACA Director Sandra Esteves’ words, is having the “ambition to learn and experience adventure.”
With ACA, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Tuition, room and board, meals, bedding, all required books, touring costs, and medical insurance are all included in the price. You can also use federal or state financial aid (but not any from PUC) towards your bill.
As ACA is an Adventist program, you can participate in missions-type work during the academic year (e.g., you can work with refugees in Lebanon). Wherever you go, there are opportunities to help people and give back some of the joy and knowledge you will be receiving.
Some perks depend upon the country or program you choose. In some countries, you don’t need to apply for a visa ahead of time; you will get it after you arrive on campus or you may only need a passport valid for six months past your stay. For some programs, you will receive money for extra travelling like weekend trips. In most academic year programs, you can apply for local internships in various fields. They’re unpaid, but great work experience and great for your resume. They also give you experience using a foreign language in a professional setting.
The number one tip I heard over and over again was to submit your ACA application early. PUC has earlier deadlines than listed in the spiral-bound ACA booklets, so make sure you are meeting the correct deadlines—April 1 for summer programs and May 1 for academic year programs. Plan things out ahead of time, whether that be before you leave or while you’re abroad and decide to go on a trip on the weekend.
For 2017-2018, the academic year programs (which you can attend for just the first one or two quarters, or the full nine months) are in Argentina, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, England, and Lebanon. Summer programs are in Austria (six weeks), Brazil (five weeks), Taiwan (10 weeks), France (six weeks), Israel (six weeks), Italy (six weeks), and Spain (six weeks).
You can find more information on theACA website, by contacting ACA Director Sandra Esteves (email@example.com), and/or by contacting Dr. Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti (firstname.lastname@example.org). Dr. Gregorutti is PUC’s ACA representative and the department chair for world languages and cultures. There are also many pamphlets, brochures, and a “How to Apply” guide available in Irwin Hall about the ACA program. The thicker, spiral-bound handbooks include information about each school such as their address, what courses they offer, pictures of the campus, etc. If you do apply, make sure you attend the ACA orientation session on May 17 from 6-8 p.m. for important information before you leave for adventures overseas or across the continent. Keep an eye out for an Announce email about the session and its location.
Professor Cristian Pancorbo began teaching at PUC this past winter, and already has had an impact on our community. I was able to spend a day with Cristian and got to hear how passionate he is about language and the PUC student body. To help introduce him to the rest of campus as well as prospective students, I asked him 10 questions about his experience here so far and his vision for PUC.
1. As a new member of the PUC family, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I really don’t know how to answer these kinds of questions, and most of the time I just talk about my hobbies, but I guess that’s not who I am. Right? So let me tell you about the things I love.
I love traveling and discovering places and people – I like to think there’s a unique kind of knowledge and growth to this. I like serving others on my trips, but just getting lost is excuse enough to fly for me. I love my niece, who lives in Montreal, but I try to see her every time I have a chance. She is just the best. I enjoy sports, but mainly it is a reason to be with people, doing something fun. I used to think I was good at basketball until I moved here and realized I’m not even good enough for intramurals. I almost forgot! Teaching is something I love, it gives me a rush nothing else does, and I truly believe it makes real big changes, or it should.
Professor Pancorbo (bottom row, left) and his soccer intramurals team at PUC.
2. What made you decide to up and move to a new country?
I have been attached to the U.S. in many different ways since I was 16-years-old. I have been invited by some of my U.S. friends since 18. I also have been teaching students from here since I started working. I wasn’t looking for a job opportunity or a way to move to a different country, but I want to think God opened this path in for me, and I’m committed to go where he takes me. I have to say, although I have loved ones in Spain, I have always felt comfortable with the idea of moving around wherever I should go. Nobody was too surprised when I said I was moving to the U.S. Nonetheless, It wasn’t an easy decision, since I had a job and colleagues I simply loved. ACA Spain (ESDES), where I was working, has the most loving teachers one could find.
3. What was your first impression of PUC?
I came for the job interview around Christmas (2013) and that was my first time at PUC. I knew the west coast more or less and I had been to the south of California many times, but I never drove further north of Yosemite; I instantly liked it. It’s the most beautiful campus I have ever been to, but nothing new about that, right? This place is wonderful and the lifestyle you can have here is just great – full of knowledge, beauty, sports, arts, nature, great weather, great people and so much more.
4. So far, what is your favorite thing about PUC?
The best thing about PUC is the student body. You guys [students] are great and make me enjoy this place so much. I think I talk on behalf of all the teachers when I say you are the reason why we do this and love it. I also like other things we have here like the spiritual life, the idea of serving others visible almost everywhere.
5. Tell us your goals for the Modern Language Department.
I want students to open their minds to new horizons and perspectives – if possible by traveling overseas. I want the students to really engage in their challenge with a new language. I want my students to learn about making a big effort, loving it, or at least enjoying it. I want to find new ways for the students to practice Spanish in a fun way outside of formal classes. The goal has to be helping the students develop their skills with communication in a new language, critical thinking and serving others using Jesus as an example.
Professor Pancorbo and students on a recent trip to PUC’s Albion Retreat and Learning Center.
6. Out of all your classes, which is your favorite to teach and why?
This is like asking a parent who his favorite child is – it’s not fair. But I’ll be open to you; I love my Medical Spanish class. It’s very practical and I see a lot of motivation in my students. They realize it is something really important for their careers. It is really fun to role-play with them and use the knowledge they already have in their field of study for the class.
7. What are some benefits to taking Spanish classes?
You can communicate with the huge amount of Spanish speakers you will find in the U.S. Not only that, you will increase your number of friends, your future “clients” and your opportunities. You will understand your neighbors a lot better and you will be able to travel and discover with bigger empathy for what you encounter. It is like having another “self” with all the opportunities that come with it. In the world we live in, there needs to be more understanding and real communication among individuals and nations. But seriously, it does. Don’t just agree with me. Go learn a language and travel, go overseas through Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) for a year, or became a missionary. Do it. You can’t go wrong by learning Spanish, traveling or serving if you are holding to God.
8. How has knowing a second language benefited you personally?
Sometimes, I think learning English has impacted me wider and deeper in my life than having my degree or my master’s. I was blessed with the best friends who invited me to come visit them and thanks to that, I actually started to speak the language. You can study a language your whole life, but if you don’t practice, it is like reading books about basketball expecting to get good at it, just by that. After I learned, I started to be blessed with scholarships and opportunities to live and travel in different places all around the world. I lived a great positive experience after another and I can see now they were coming from God.
I lived and studied in Krakow (Poland) with a full scholarship. I also went to Sydney (Australia) with another scholarship to perfect my English and I had some of the most amazing working and serving experiences in developing countries like Morocco, Honduras, Ethiopia… I’m now learning French here at PUC and it’s a experience you all should try. Professor Jehanno is a great, experienced teacher from Paris and her classes are so much fun.
9. What are some interesting or less thought of careers students can get with a Modern Language degree?
A minor or a major in Spanish is a great match for any future career you might be looking at. It would be hard to think of a career that couldn’t have a good use of a second language. I think every social worker, lawyer, doctor, psychologist, physical therapist, speech pathology… or any other professional who needs to understand their client/patient and their reality as an essential part of their job needs to know their language as a basic tool. Remember you are preparing yourself to be useful with the knowledge and skills you are developing during your college years. Make sure you are getting ready for what’s coming – don’t just get a degree, try to get the tools you will use.
Professor Pancorbo and Modern Languages Department friends.
10. What fun and interesting things are happening within the Modern Language Department students might like to know about?
The most exciting thing is we’ll be offering Beginning Portuguese for the first time in Winter 2016. The Brazil mission trip to the Amazon and Manaus during Spring Break is part of the class, which will count for GE credit(s). We also have a new Japanese professor, John Inada. He has developed his career in the video game industry successfully, also finding the time to teach with us. We are planning on showing movies (original versions) at our beautiful student lounge, and also share resources and updates through our Modern Languages Facebook page. Finally, we want to develop our service learning implication as a department and continue to grow our language for specific purpose classes, like Spanish for medical personnel, which is a high-demand class.
There are other interesting things happening with Adventist Colleges Abroad. They are always trying to improve and challenge themselves with their awesome work. One of their newest features are the internships you can do overseas in places like the United Nations, architecture firms, schools, music and art and so many more. With these internships you improve your abroad experience, your language skills, and your résumé. This adds another huge reason why you have to go to ACA (and they will transfer all your credits back to PUC, including the internship ones).
Editor’s note: If you would like more information about studying a language at PUC, you can talk with an Enrollment Counselor by calling 800.862.7080 option 2 or emailing email@example.com.
I get a lot of questions from students asking what study abroad opportunities PUC offers. It’s exciting to me that students are interested in traveling and learning about different cultures. Many students aren’t aware there are Adventist colleges and universities all over the world. As a PUC student, you have an opportunity to study at any of them for a summer or even a full year, in such places as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, England, Argentina, and even Israel, through Adventist Colleges Abroad, more often referred to as ACA.
You might be wondering, why would anyone want to “go ACA”? There are many reasons! It’s important for students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities PUC offers because students can:
Gain real life experiences a classroom could never provide
Develop an expanded worldview and multicultural perspective
Strengthen proficiency in a foreign language
Experience personal growth
Make new friends
Increase career marketability, and more!
I didn’t have the courage to be away from my friends and family for an entire school year, so I chose instead to spend a summer at Istituto Avventista Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy. I had never been to Europe before and was pretty intimidated, but thankfully I was going with my brother and several good friends from PUC. When we arrived, the staff and faculty at Villa Aurora couldn’t have been more helpful getting us settled in and making sure we knew the right bus route to take to town as well as recommending the best pizza place nearby. Despite their help, on our first night out in Florence a group of us got horribly lost for several hours, which is something we can laugh about now but wasn’t very funny at the time! Over the next few weeks however, we got very comfortable figuring out how to get to our favorite gelato shop, where to find the best deal for an Italian leather purse, and even talking with locals in basic Italian. “Un piccolo di menta gelato, per favore,” became a phrase I memorized. (“One cup of mint gelato, please.”)
Part of the reason I chose to spend a summer abroad was to fulfill the language requirement for PUC’s general education requirements. By spending a summer in Italy, I was able to get one year’s worth of language credits, as well as some history and elective credits since I took beginning Italian language classes in addition to classes in Italian art history, Italian cooking, and Italian popular culture. My mornings were filled with classes, and the afternoons were spent with friends exploring Florence, eating real Italian gelato and pizza while sitting on the steps of the Duomo, Florence’s famous cathedral. Our evenings were devoted to homework and downloading new episodes of the Office off iTunes. It was a ridiculous amount of fun.
Besides classes, the school also took us on several field trips. We visited the Cinque Terre, Venice, and Rome, seeing sights like Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican, and so much more. One of my favorite memories is a trip my friends and I took during a free weekend to see the ruins of Pompeii, and we inadvertently booked ourselves at a four-star hotel. After weeks of living in a dorm room without air conditioning, it was heaven!
I realize how cheesy it sounds, but spending a summer in Italy not only gave me a greater appreciation of the world – but I also gained an appreciation of home. After weeks of being able to only communicate with people in a combination of basic Italian and hand gestures, it was wonderful to come home to the good ol’ USA and speak English. And eat something besides pizza. Believe it or not, it is possible to get sick of pizza. I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of going abroad to go! Go while you can receive college credit and maybe even use loans to pay for it. Go before you graduate from college, get married, have kids, and have a job. You won’t regret it.
Visit http://www.aca-noborders.com for more information about Adventist study abroad opportunities or talk with an Enrollment Counselor to find out how studying abroad can help you reach your career goals. Call 800.862.7080 option 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.