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Mentor Profile

Bio

mentor picture Isabel
 
Isabel
Junior Year Student
Loyola Marymount University
I am currently a junior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. I am a first generation American, my parents are originally from Mexico. I... I am currently a junior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. I am a first generation American, my parents are originally from Mexico. I recently came back from studying abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain. I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life. When I first started college, I always knew studying abroad was one of the goals I wanted to accomplish. When I first arrived in Madrid, it was a bit of culture shock, however the shock subsided and I became immersed in the rich culture of Spain. I had the opportunity to live with a host family which further enabled me to learn about the everyday traditions and way of life in Spain. During my semester abroad, I was fortunately able to travel outside of Madrid and went to various countries such as England, Portugal, Italy, France, and Greece. Each country I visited possessed its own unique identity and cultural flavor. Being abroad for a semester opened my eyes to a whole different way of living and seeing the world. When one has lived in the United States their whole lives, seeing how others live is a stimulating and eye-opening sight. I have taken many of the lessons I have learned while studying abroad and applied them to my life back here in the United States. For example, I am now, more than ever, passionate about promoting diversity and global awareness in my community. Although coming back and adjusting has been an on-going process, my friends and family have welcomed me back with open arms. Whenever someone asks me about my experience, I am very eager to share my knowledge and advice regarding study abroad. I will forever encourage students to take advantage of studying abroad, it is undoubtedly one the experiences that has and will continue to shape the way I live my life.

Responses

  1. Some institutions specify when a student can study abroad, so first check with your college or university. In general, I do not advise students to study abroad their freshman year, as students are just starting to get adjusted to the college environment and at that point they may not be ready to step into a whole new culture. I would say take your freshman year to adjust to college life and take that first year to start looking and researching possible study abroad programs that interest you. In terms of deciding whether to study abroad your sophomore, junior, or senior year, it depends on you as an individual. For myself, I knew that I was not mentally, socially, and academically ready to study abroad my sophomore year. I found my junior year worked the best in terms of where I was mentally and academically. However, this is solely my personal experience and some may find it more convenient and beneficial to study abroad their sophomore or senior years. In conclusion, the best year to study abroad is the year YOU choose to study abroad.
    4 answers – Deciding On A Program
  2. Although I financed my entire study abroad experience, I believe the best means of providing money for your child once he/she is abroad is to provide them with a debit card or credit card that provides the lowest fees when using the card internationally. For example, many credit cards will charge a percentage of the purchase price to cover converting fees. In addition, debit cards may charge this converting fee on top of an additional fee to withdraw the money from the ATM. In terms, of traveler’s checks, I found that many of my peers found it sometimes difficult to use them at small, locally run businesses. During my time abroad I chose to use my debit card to withdraw money from the numerous ATMs all over Europe. I found it easier and more convenient to withdraw cash when I needed it, instead of using my credit card and racking up credit card fees.
    3 answers – How to pay
  3. One of the best resources I discovered while studying abroad was an internet-based service called Skype. It is a relatively new program that allows you to talk to anyone in the World for close to nothing. All you need to begin using Skype is a computer with internet access and a microphone headset. There are two ways a parent can communicate with their child using Skype. First, if both the student and parent have Skype downloaded on their computers, they can talk to each other for an unlimited amount of time free of charge. However, if the parent does not have access to a computer, the student can call them on any landline for merely 2 cents a minute. I found Skype to be the best way to keep in contact with my parents while I was abroad.
    5 answers – While Abroad
  4. Depending on the country you decide to study abroad in, you may be able to find a gym in your neighborhood. However, in order to save money and experience the great outdoors, I would suggest finding a nearby park and exercising there. If you do not have access to a park, jogging around your neighborhood may be a great way to familiarize yourself with your new home and maybe even meet some of your new neighbors!
    3 answers – Health
  5. During my time abroad in various countries, I never felt threatened in regards to my safety. I would say the most important factor in ensuring your safety is to make smart decisions. For example, do not walk home alone after dark, especially if you are intoxicated. Traveling in numbers is one of the best safety precautions you can exercise. In addition, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings, pick-pocketing is quite common in foreign countries. Also, if you go out to clubs/bars make sure to keep an eye on your drink and how much you drink. You are more likely to make bad decisions when you are intoxicated. The best advice I have to make sure you have a safe experience while abroad is to use your common sense and intuition, if it does not feel right or safe, do not do it.
    9 answers – Deciding On A Program – Gender – Safety Issues – While Abroad
  6. As a Latina who studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, I felt more comfortable in my environment than many of my fellow students and was more able to relate to the people of Madrid because of my knowledge of the language. I would definitely say that my Hispanic background helped me become more quickly adjusted and immersed in my surroundings. Because there was a common language, I was able to navigate my way around Madrid more easily.
    3 answers – For Hispanic/ Latin@
  7. Because I am of Hispanic heritage and had knowledge of the language before studying abroad in Madrid, I did not have any concerns about racism while studying abroad. However, I did travel to various countries where Spanish was not the official language and although it was sometimes a struggle to communicate, I did not encounter racism, as most locals were eager to help.
    6 answers – Racism
  8. Well, apart from being incredibly jet lagged and tired from the sixteen-hour flight and nine-hour time difference, I was excited and nervous when I landed in Madrid, Spain. I was excited because I knew it was the start of an incredible experience and adventure. However, I was nervous because everything was so new and I was about to live with a family who were complete strangers to me. I was worried if we would get along and if they would like me. However, those feelings of nervousness soon went away and I began to look forward to planning trips around Europe and exploring Madrid.
    5 answers – While Abroad
  9. Although money is an important factor one takes into consideration when making important decisions, I do not think it should be a deciding factor when choosing which country to study abroad in. You should go to the country that is truly calling your name, which may or may not be the least expensive country to visit. Remember, there are various ways to pay for study abroad programs whether it be loans, working a few more hours, scholarships, etc. Although I recognize that money is definitely something one thinks about when studying abroad, in my opinion, the study abroad experience outweighs monetary costs.
    3 answers – Deciding On A Program
  10. Although I have unending experiences from studying abroad, I would have to say the opportunity to travel to a different country every other weekend was definitely the most amazing aspect of my study abroad experience. While living in Madrid, I was able to travel to Portugal, Italy, England, France, Greece, and many cities within Spain. One aspect of Europe that I fell in love with was the fact that every country within Europe is relatively close to one another. For example, every country I visited with the exception of Greece was no more than an hour and a half away via flight. Being able to visit so many diverse countries throughout Europe allowed me to grow both intellectually and emotionally.
    7 answers – Personal
  11. Aunque el dinero es un factor importante que uno debe considerar cuando uno decide el lugar adonde quiera ir, yo no pienso que debe ser un factor de decisión cuando eliges un país para estudiar en el exterior. Deberías ir al país que realmente te atrae, el que puede o no ser el menos caro para visitar no debe importar tanto. Recuerda, hay diferentes maneras de pagar en los programas de viaje al extranjero, ya sean préstamos, trabajar unas cuántas horas más, becas etc. Aun así, yo reconozco que el dinero es algo en que uno definitivamente piensa cuando estudia fuera del país, en mi opinión, la experiencia del estudio en el extranjero sobrepasa en valor a cualquier costo monetario.
    3 respuestas – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
  12. Aunque el dinero es un factor importante que uno debe considerar cuando uno decide el lugar adonde quiera ir, yo no pienso que debe ser un factor de decisión cuando eliges un país para estudiar en el exterior. Deberías ir al país que realmente te atrae, el que puede o no ser el menos caro para visitar no debe importar tanto. Recuerda, hay diferentes maneras de pagar en los programas de viaje al extranjero, ya sean préstamos, trabajar unas cuántas horas más, becas etc. Aun así, yo reconozco que el dinero es algo en que uno definitivamente piensa cuando estudia fuera del país, en mi opinión, la experiencia del estudio en el extranjero sobrepasa en valor a cualquier costo monetario.
    4 respuestas – Como costear/financiar – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
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