Emily Lundy studied in Summer 2019 in Seville Spain on the CIEE Seville Summer Abroad program.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
You will never have a better opportunity to learn, explore, and cultivate personal growth like a semester/summer abroad through Penn State.
If you could go abroad again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change anything about my experience. Any lows I encountered were just another part of the total experience and they helped me to grow!
What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?
I speak Spanish so I knew that I wanted to go somewhere to learn and practice the language. I chose Seville because of what I researched and had heard about the program and I am extremely glad I did.
What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad, and how did you overcome them?
I was extremely nervous about my homestay. I stayed with a woman who spoke not a word of English, so this transition was definitely difficult, but ultimately allowed me to learn a lot about the culture and the Spanish language which I am grateful for.
What was it about your program specifically that fit your personal goals over other programs?
IEE Seville was an incredible program. Not only did my language skills prosper within my homestay, my professors and the CIEE directors provided me and the others in my program with many opportunities to learn and experience Spanish culture both inside and outside of the classroom.
How have you used the skills you learned abroad now that you are back; either in job searching, or in other activities?
I have been able to be a part of the amazing peer advising program here at Penn State, encouraging others to go abroad and answering any questions they have. I am hoping to eventually hold a position in my career that allows me to travel globally and use the language skills I have learned.
Did you participate in any service projects while on your program? How did that enhance your study abroad experience?
I did not, but would definitely love to be able to in future abroad experiences.
What experiences did you have while studying abroad that you feel you could not have had if you had stayed at Penn State?
The sights, the people, the food, and the culture. A normal day abroad is simply not a normal day here at Penn State. I can’t truly put into words the empowerment and pure bliss I felt at many points in my travels. The encounters I had with locals and the beauty that I was able to be a part of was truly amazing.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
Something that someone told me before I went abroad was, “When you encounter a difficult or uncomfortable situation while you are abroad, don’t try and make the situation mold to you, do your best to make yourself mold to the situation.” This was extremely helpful to me because language and culture barriers were difficult to overcome at times but it helped me to remind myself that those situations weren’t supposed to be comfortable, and ultimately that is how you learn and grow.
Share an experience where you interacted with someone in your host culture in a way that taught you something.
I had an incredible professor who said something to my class on the first day that truly shaped my perspective of being a student in Seville. He said to us, “I used to walk down these streets and recognize faces, everyone was a local. Now I walk these streets and 8/10 people are tourists, and the other 2 work for them”. This statement really shed light on how I wanted to treat my time being there. I wanted to ensure I was acting with respect, trying to learn the culture and language, and the people around me. It made me think about how this beautiful city that I got to live in for 2 months is originally a home, a place of tradition, and something very special to the local people of Seville and I wanted to do my best to honor it and treat it as such.