Education Abroad, U.Va.

Education Abroad

A Division of the International Studies Office

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Katey Summers

My name is Katey Summers, and I am a fourth year double majoring in Latin American Studies and Global Development Studies. If I had not participated in education abroad, I would have missed out on multiple and varied opportunities for personal, academic, and professional growth. One of the most important lessons I learned from abroad is how important it is to face situations that scare or frighten you. Prior to each of my three study abroad experiences, I departed with a mix of fear, excitement, and uncertainty. Despite having travelled on my own and in groups before, uprooting myself for months at a time and diving into unfamiliar environments taught me a tremendous amount about myself and society. I learned how I adapt to new environments, how to build networks and communities of people in foreign environments, how important alone time and time for reflection is, and how I like to travel and explore new cultures. Through my experiences in Argentina, I was able to build my confidence with the Spanish language through interactions in class, on the streets, and with my host mother. In Sweden and India, I learned how to communicate despite differences in language proficiencies, and how to work on projects and in environments with different professional and academic structures than I am used to. If I had not participated in education abroad, I would not have met people from many different countries and learned about their experiences, and I would not have gained cultural awareness inside foreign walls, classrooms, or professional spaces. I feel so much more prepared to enter a career overseas, whether it be working for a non-profit or in a classroom teaching English, thanks to the experiences I had and many challenges I overcame while on my education abroad experiences.

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