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Student Spotlight

Lauren Feldon
Spain Fall 2012
Literary Journalism major; Global Cultures minor
lfeldon@uci.edu

" Experiencing the culture taught me that there is a way to do great in school as well as take time to enjoy life."

"As a result of my study abroad experience, I have picked up a Global Cultures minor"

"I had the best 4 months of my entire life and if you can recognize and seize the opportunity, then you will too. You will learn more about yourself and the world and have some crazy memories to cherish forever.  "

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
The Language & Culture program was only available in one place in Spain and I was looking for the immersion experience as well as completing my second year of Spanish. 
 
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
While I was abroad I took the mandated Spanish grammar class and Spanish History class, but in addition I chose an International Relations class that was extremely interesting and relevant to the world and my studies in Irvine. I was also living with a homestay family. There was a grandmother, a mother and her 12 year old son. We were given "intercambios" who were people living in Spain that knew some English. We would get together every week or so to help each other practice languages. They became great friends and even brought me along to play soccer with them.  
 
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
I have changed more than I can describe to anybody. I have always been someone that is overly obsessed with grades and my career, and extra curricular activities, etc. Spain helped me get passed this unhealthy obsession. I finally learned what it was like to relax and enjoy the world around me. The lifestyle in Spain is much more laid back than most places with their daily "siestas" and social atmosphere. Experiencing the culture taught me that there is a way to do great in school as well as take time to enjoy life. Almost every weekend I was able to see a new part of Spain as well as North Africa and Ireland. I dove head first into every opportunity around me. All of these experiences have encouraged me to constantly stay open minded and value the beauty that the world has to offer.  
 
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
As a result of my study abroad experience, I have picked up a Global Cultures minor. The world carries so much history and diversity. When we get stuck in our bubble we forget that. I am entranced by the history of the world and all the different types of people who live in it. My history teacher while in Spain was so passionate about his class that it passed on to me. European history in particular, is my specialization within Global Cultures. I have also opened my mind to internships in other countries for summer possibly. All I can say is that I have an urge to travel the world and learn about all of it. I am no longer scared of where in the world life takes me (even for future jobs). Hopefully, I can one day work in a global company. 
 
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
DO IT. Do it, do it, do it. There is no other time like college to study abroad. Sure, you can always travel but the difference with study abroad during college is that more than likely you will never have an opportunity to drop everything at home and go live in another country for 3 months to a year. After college, responsibilities only add on. Part of college is finding yourself and taking advantage of opportunities. You will regret not taking those opportunities later. It is worth every ounce of energy (and money) that goes into planning, credits and finding flights, etc. I had the best 4 months of my entire life and if you can recognize and seize the opportunity, then you will too. You will learn more about yourself and the world and have some crazy memories to cherish forever. 

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