When Alicia Rivera ’13 looks back at her academic career at Allegheny, one of the experiences she will most value is her time spent studying overseas. She lived in the town of Triana, Spain, not far from Seville, in the first semester of her junior year.
“It forced me out of my comfort zone and presented me with the skills to adapt to a new setting,” says Alicia, a Spanish major. “Study Away gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a new country, which is an amazing experience, especially in a society heading toward globalization.”
The semester in Spain will benefit her personally and professionally as she moves into her career or postgraduate study, says Alicia. “Adaptation is a key element while abroad or in any new environment. I learned to adapt to my surroundings and have a positive attitude,” she says.
“I am more globally aware and culturally sensitive due to my Study Away experience,” Alicia says, “because I learned to observe and experience a new place rather than judge and compare the differences. I learned that a place isn’t better or worse than where I come from. It’s simply different from what I think is normal. I learned to embrace the Spanish culture rather than criticize it.”
Adaptation, creative-thinking, and tolerance – these are among the goals of an Allegheny education. The College’s administration sees Study Away is an integral part of that process.
As for Alicia, she says she is a more complete and confident person. “An international experience allows a student to gain unique perspective, experiences, and ideas that they will bring back, not only to Allegheny but their future careers.”