Meet Jane Huber ’19! Last fall, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina with SIT Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights. We asked her a few questions about how she prepared to study off-campus!
What was something you were most looking forward to when preparing to study off-campus?
Before I went abroad, there were two main things I was super excited for. The first was having the opportunity to completely immerse myself in a different culture and language. I’ve spoken Spanish since I was 4, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity of getting to speak it all the time and improve my conversational abilities. Second, I was excited to meet new people on my program who shared similar interests. My program had a very “niche” focus, so I knew I’d be meeting people who shared similar ideologies and goals.
What was an academic goal you were hoping to achieve?
An academic goal that I knew would be a challenge going in was having to do a one month independent research paper all in Spanish. I had to come up with a research question, interview experts, and present my findings to my program. All of this was super daunting going into the program, but I was really excited to challenge myself and use the opportunity to make my academic writing in Spanish that much better. At the end of the program, I had gotten to travel to Patagonia for my research and finished the semester incredibly proud of all I had accomplished!
Any advice for those who are getting ready to go abroad?
I think the biggest piece of advice I would give is do not compare your experience to others or to what you think is the ideal study abroad experience. Everyone is going to have a unique experience and takeaway individual insights. Living in a foreign country is hard. I wasn’t told how incredibly challenging it would be to assimilate into a new culture in only four months. All I had heard before going abroad was that it would be the best experience of my life, but everyone forgot to mention that the transitional period is incredibly hard, but also really common. At the end of my trip, and to this day, I will say that it was one of the most formative and incredible experiences of my life. However, I don’t want to gloss over how hard it can be and how there will be lots of obstacles to overcome. The beauty of abroad is that after you finally get home, sit down in your living room, and breath, you’ll look back and say “damn, I really just did that.”