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Making Memories for a Lifetime
Jennifer Hoof got a taste of what it means to be a foreigner and an international student while studying abroad.
Jennifer Hoof expanded her worldview when she studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Jennifer, a senior majoring in Healthcare Management, had never left the country before and only had a moderate understanding of the Spanish language. She chose Spain because “I knew it would challenge me culturally but also had a good amount of English there so I wouldn't be too lost,” and she was ready to face that challenge.
Jennifer loved every aspect of her time abroad including meeting new people of diverse backgrounds, travelling to a variety of places, meeting her host family, and exploring a culture that she had never experienced. “From my five months abroad, I felt like I got the tiniest peek of what cultures, languages, and norms exist. I also gained a good understanding of what it is like to be an international student; to be completely foreign and unfamiliar to the people and things around me. It's an incredible and surreal thing to think about,” she says.
She talks about the importance of studying abroad in any career field. She says that it can be very beneficial regardless of what a student is studying. “No matter what career you go into, odds are it's going to involve interacting with other people one way or another; whether it’s with clients, patients, friends, or coworkers.”
Jennifer found out that for Healthcare Management, she will have to learn to be more aware of other cultures and backgrounds. “Studying abroad taught me to be more culturally competent to those around me. This is specifically important for my future career since I will be interacting with patients and coworkers who come from different backgrounds.”
Jennifer is appreciative for everything this adventure taught her, and is happy she gained so much from it. “Some people are not lucky enough to leave their home state, let alone the country. Also, you learn so many things a classroom will never be able to teach, meet so many new people, and have the time of your life. What you get out of the experience depends on how much you put in,” says Jennifer.
Jennifer is thankful and feels fortunate for having this opportunity. “From going abroad, I gained cultural knowledge and experience that, like I said, will never be something you could put on a test. I have memories and friends that will last more than a lifetime, and a love for Spain that I will never be able to put into words.”
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