Are you ready?
To discover another culture, another way of living, another way of thinking is one of the greatest and most challenging adventures any human being can experience. However, to understand and comprehend the other is not an easy task. You need to be patient. You need to be flexible. You need to share and learn how to listen. Living and studying in another culture will reinforce these important skills as you discover your own resourcefulness and ability to change.
By choosing to study abroad, you have probably made one of the most important decisions of your life. Perhaps this statement sounds overwhelming, but as you grow older, you will discover that those decisions that move us away from our comfort zone and help us build character turn out to be the most rewarding, precisely because they teach us how to be both humble and courageous.
I say this with utter conviction. Born and raised in the Caribbean, educated in the United States, and having lived a professional and family life in Europe has taught me that cross-cultural differences do exist. Overcoming, understanding and respecting those differences are what makes study abroad an experience worth living.
While you will face challenges, you are not alone in this journey. Spanish Studies Abroad has carefully chosen Resident Directors for each program site. These unique individuals have the patience, wisdom and energy to keep you focused and animated. They will teach you how to further value your study abroad experience. They will challenge you to reach your utmost potential and get the most out of your host culture. And above all, they will help you overcome any obstacle, personal or academic, that you shall encounter while abroad. Resident Directors are the backbones of our programs. Get to know them, because they certainly are eager to know you.
Dr. Michelle Durán-Ruiz has been with Spanish Studies Abroad since 2003. She received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Spanish Literature from Harvard University and has served as a Spanish Studies professor, Resident Director in Seville, as well as Academic Director.