Barbara H. Padnos International Center
130 Lake Ontario Hall
Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your study abroad experience?
A: The first thought that comes to mind is how unforgettable the experience I had was. The immersion in the culture, the friendships I forged, the travel, the country, and the institution were all amazing.
Q: Why did you choose this destination?
A: I chose the destination mainly because of the dialect of Spanish I wanted to focus on. I preferred it more so than Spain for that reason and it was cheaper compared with having to buy Euros. Also, the climate was excellent.
Q: What are some things that surprised you about the campus, the classes, the culture, customs or traditions?
A: The campus was very secure and students as well as former students are basically only allowed on the grounds. Security was important with the situation in Mexico, although there was no time that I felt unsafe throughout my travel in Mexico. It was great being able to see another perspective from outside of the US and how they viewed events throughout the world and in business. The culture is amazing and the food was so delicious. There are always many festivals and long celebrated traditions that one can experience there.
The most unexpected experience I had was meeting my future fiancée, whom I will ask to marry me August 31st 2011. I met her during my study abroad experience and we have been together ever since.
Q: What are some things you would like students to know about studying abroad in this destination or the program provider you studied with?
A: It is a great university, especially for those studying in business. Every spring they have a large business symposium called Reto Negocios. I was surprised Grand Valley had not mentioned anything about it. At the event they had speakers (CEO's, CFO's COO's, etc...) from some of Mexico's largest companies. They also had former President Vicente Fox speak at the event.
Q: What advice would you offer?
A: Enjoy every moment because it will be over before you realize it, though the memories will be with you forever. I can honestly say that was one of the best moments of my life and has had a lasting impact on who I am. Also, definitely branch out with the group of friends you make, for example, make many local friends especially if you are studying a foreign language. By using and being immersed in the language 24/7 you will improve fluency greatly. It will also provide you with language learning you wouldn't otherwise receive in the classroom regarding the colloquialisms of the language.
Q: What was your academic goal while studying abroad?
A: My academic goal while studying abroad was to do better than a 3.5 which I succeeded in doing with a 3.8.
A: All of the new experiences I had while on the trip - doing things I would have never done otherwise that I will remember for the rest of my life.
A: I chose this destination because I was a Spanish minor and I wanted to improve my knowledge of the language. It was the best place for me to learn Spanish because we all lived with families and went to class with students from many differnet countries - we had to speak Spanish to each other because it was the only language we had in common. It was also relatively inexpensive.
A: The campus was small but beautiful. The classes were a little more challenging than I had expected, but there was not very much homework. The culture was way more relaxed in Guadalajara than I imagined, and was very family-oriented. I felt safe there and I met and spoke with many different people. The customs took a little while to get used to, but after about a week I enjoyed some of them more than the ones I grew up with! Many of the students from GV had alot of fun going out together some of the nights - more than I thought I would be comfortable with.
A: Guadalajara is a beautiful city, and the trips that we took on the weekends were a ton of fun, so make the most of them!
A: It is good to be safe and aware while in the city, but not to worry about always being in danger. Try to speak with others outside of the Grand Valley group, because you learn more.
A: To learn Spanish that I could utilze in a conversaion and in every day life. I also wanted to learn Spanish from a different perspective - from real Mexicans. I wanted to learn the things I would have not learned in a normal classroom.
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Allendale, MI 49401-9403
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