I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the fall semester of my sophomore year. I chose to study abroad because, as a business major, I have always been interested in relations between South and North America.
Immersing myself in the culture was amazing. I learned a whole new way of life and a whole new way of doing business. During my time in Argentina, I was able to network with locals as well as others from around the world. I discovered how to bridge the gap between different cultures in order to communicate and work together. Opportunities I never expected fell into my lap, including the opportunity to work with a non-profit to research and advocate for the rights of those with disabilities.
After my trip to Argentina, I realized that I could relate much of what my professors were teaching in a classroom to real world experiences. I was able to connect with the material better than before. The classroom examples were no longer hypothetical. I had experienced these situations in real life.
Since my semester in Argentina, I have been able to keep in contact with the non-profit organization and I plan to continue working with them over the summer where I will be studying in Bilbao, Spain. I chose Bilbao to gain a different perspective on Spanish business and culture. In Bilbao, I hope to improve my Spanish and learn how to interact in the European business world. I will have many skills under my belt as I enter the workforce.
As an introvert, I had a hard time getting involved here at UMW during my freshman year. While I definitely wanted to find ‘my place,’ I struggled at first. After going abroad, I started getting involved at the Center for International Education, which led me to other professional on and off campus opportunities. Each of these opportunities put me to work with like-minded individuals whom I would have never met otherwise. These people are now my closest friends and gave me ‘my place’ here at UMW.
Monique Klinger, UMW Class of 2019