Daniel studied in Spain on the Valencia: University of Virginia, Language and Culture Program.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
Living in a foreign country with a host family for 4 months is an opportunity that students may not ever get if they do not study abroad. Not only was my family a great resource for me, they made me feel completely immersed in the Spanish culture. I got to see how Spanish people live day to day. They prepared amazing traditional meals for me every day and had plenty of great stories to share with me. Speaking with them everyday helped me become fluent in Spanish, more than anything else.
What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?
My primary goal was to become fluent in the Spanish language. I also wanted to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in a different culture. I wanted to do things that I could not do in the US and gain a new perspective on the world. I was also eager to meet new people from both the US and Europe.
Did you participate in any service projects while on your program? How did that enhance your study abroad experience?
I participated in a service learning internship, where I would visit a local school twice a week and teach middle and high school students how to speak English. This was an amazing and unique experience that I looked forward to every week. I got to meet some great people and make a difference in their lives.
What experiences did you have while studying abroad that you feel you could not have had if you had stayed at Penn State?
Spain has so many unique traditions and festivals that are unlike anything Penn State has to offer. From attending soccer matches and bullfights, to eating paella cooked by locals, to walking the streets of Valencia during the huge festival, Fallas, I was able to do and see many things that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else.