Alumni Who Return Abroad

When will you go back?

Studying abroad is an experience that transforms you long after you have returned home. For some, one time isn't enough, and they find themselves buying plane tickets and returning either to their original destination or setting off for new lands, intent on continuing their adventures.
 
This page collects their stories.
 
Alumni, do you have an incredible experience to share? Email us.
 
 
 
 
Sarah Gemba
Seville, Spain, Fall '98, Fall '99
 
Which year did you study abroad with CC-CS and which program site did you choose? I first studied with CC-CS in Seville in Fall 1998 during my Junior year of college. Upon my return to Connecticut College, I was approved to complete another semester of study abroad and returned to CC-CS during my Senior year for the Fall 1999 semester.
 
Why did you initially choose to study abroad and why did you choose your program site in particular? I was a Hispanic Studies major and Spanish was my thing. I knew when I was applying to college that study abroad would be part of my experience. I had been to Mexico in middle school and wanted to complement my language travels and studies by spending a significant amount of time in Spain, the cradle of the language. A friend from high school had recently been to CC-CS on another program and highly recommended the program and the city of Sevilla to me.
What was the most memorable aspect of your study abroad experience?
For me, it was the people I met, the places I traveled, and the person I found myself changing into. Through the many aspects of my study program, I discovered I was comfortable being a global citizen and that there was life beyond my small New England world. By the end of my first semester of study, I could already see myself living in Spain permanently.
What are you currently doing abroad and how long have you been in-country?
I moved here in the summer of 2004, so almost a decade now. I have come full circle and am now a proud member of the staff of the Spanish Studies Abroad/Center for Cross-Cultural Study in Seville. I currently hold the position of Director of Edutravel, organizing student travel and customized group programs.
Did your time with CC-CS influence your decision to move back to your host country? How so? Give as much detail as possible! The staff and teachers were so friendly and welcoming from the beginning, and everyone was so supportive when I shared with them my plans to move back permanently after a few years living and working stateside.
How did your experience abroad as a student with CC-CS prepare you to return on your own? After two long semesters learning the language (my skills particularly skyrocketed after my second semester), culture and idiosyncrasies of Spain, I felt comfortable entering the job market to find my niche, as well as prepared to deal with the day-to-day of living in Sevilla. What advice would you give current college students considering a study abroad experience? Don’t hesitate! I firmly believe everyone should do it. You will discover things about yourself you would never otherwise learn. You will go outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself and become all the better for it. Learning a language and more importantly, learning about people in the world outside your home country, will prepare you for your future in the best way possible.
What advice would you give students who have already studied abroad and are now considering moving back to their host country long-term?
 
Do your research. Know what you want to do as soon as you get there. Have a plan. Make sure you have a good network of friends in your host country. Save some money to help you get started. Maybe even work a couple years stateside before making the move. Be proud of your decision to live abroad and never look back. Blog about it. Travel outside your host country as much as possible while you’re still young!
 
 
 
 
Alexandria Zadrzynski
Alicante, Spain, Spring 2012
 
I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain Spring of 2012. I am a Spanish major for secondary education and I was required by my university to study abroad. I chose the Alicante program site for a number of reasons. I really wanted to be immersed in the Spanish language and culture, and I knew that Alicante was a smaller city with less tourism and therefore, fewer English speakers. I also loved the idea of spending five months on the Mediterranean surrounded by palm trees and white coast. When I look back on study abroad, the two things that immediately come to mind are traveling and my host family. I knew that studying abroad would probably be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I took advantage of numerous opportunities for travel. I traveled just about every other weekend making some of my greatest memories. I also think back to my host family. I had a host mom and a host sister. I have kept in touch with both of them over the last year. I call my host mom regularly on the phone, and keep in touch with my host sister on facebook.
 
I was fortunate to have a great relationship with my host family. This past January, I decided I wanted to go back to Alicante. After talking to my host mom, I bought a ticket to go back for the month of June. I chose June so that I could be there for "Las Hogueras" a festival similar to Las Fallas in Valencia. My experience abroad as a student with CC-CS prepared me to return to Spain because it gave me a second home. I know that Alicante is a place that I will return to many times in my life. My experience abroad also helped me to realize that this world is actually pretty small. Spain may seem far away, but in reality, it is only a few flights away. My experience abroad taught me that there isn't anywhere in this world that is too far away. I feel closer to the world because I realize that I can be anywhere in a day or two.
 
Being back in Alicante was incredible, but one month, even five months, doesn't seem long enough. My plan is to finish college and return to Spain to teach English with a program for recent college graduates. I would love to teach somewhere near Alicante so that I can return to Alicante to spend time with my host family.
 
I would definitely encourage students considering study abroad to do it! It's a unique opportunity that gives students a chance to get to know the world while still in school. The relationships you make you will have forever. Once you do it, you'll find yourself going back every chance you get!
 
 
 
 
Emma Wittenberg
Sevilla, Spain, Fall 2011
I went abroad to Sevilla with CCCS in the Fall of 2011. I had never been to Spain before, and I immediately fell in love with Sevilla. The homestay family that CCCS set me up with was absolutely phenomenal, and I ended up becoming really close with my homestay brother, Juan, and all of his friends. The American friends who I met through CCCS were really open and enthusiastic about making Spanish friends, and we all started spending a lot of time with Spaniards.
 
The classes that I took with CCCS allowed me to truly get a feel for the culture of the city, and I loved having the opportunity to take classes at the Universidad de Sevilla, where I met other Erasmus students. One semester was certainly not enough, and I ended up returning to Spain the following summer, and worked as an intern in Madrid at the CSIC, a research organization. I worked with a team of researchers who were compiling a book about the impacts of the guerra civil on Spain. I actually took a class on Franquismo with professor Jose Grillo at CCCS, which inspired me to continue studying the subject of the civil war during my senior year of college.
 
I am coming back to Spain this year to teach English in Madrid, and I can say with certainty that my experience with CCCS had a huge impact on my desire to return to Spain. If it weren't for the friends and connections that I made through my homestay and the interesting classes focused on everyday language and culture in Sevilla, I don't think I would have the intense connection both with Seville and with Spain that I do today.
 
 
 
 
Chris Hansen
Cordoboa, Argentina, Fall 2010
 
Hi I'm Christopher. I'm from Iowa, and I studied in CC-CS from June until December of 2010 in Córdoba, Argentina. There I learned about the Spanish Language, empanadas, playing soccer on dirt, collectivism, Catholicism, apathy towards germs, the bidet and about other cultures and their perception of the U.S.A. CC-CS provided a remarkable platform to get acquainted with Argentina. Speaking partners, host-families, native teachers, and entrance to la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba were all included in the program. These features gave students an opportunity to advance towards Spanish fluency. My Spanish progressed significantly in 2010, but six months were not enough to reach fluency for me. My second trip was even more fulfilling than my first.
 
I returned to Córdoba in February of 2012, this time as an English teacher. I had never taught English before, but I was regarded as an expert in this field the moment that I exited from the airplane. I was blessed to find various teaching positions with brilliant students. Outside of the classroom I avoided English speakers like the plague, at least until I felt comfortable in my Spanish fluency. Under much pressure to graduate, I returned to Iowa in December of 2012. My return to the U.S. was one of the most difficult times of my life. Yet, soon after I was able to acquire a job working in the financial field, working primarily in Spanish. My experience paid off. My advice to students choosing a study abroad experience is to find a program that will contribute to your career goals, and to have fun.