All in all, I'd say I had a pretty fulfilling college experience. I made lifelong friends, and with New York City at my fingertips, I was able to get invaluable professional experience in the journalism industry to get me where I am today. However, I do have one regret about my undergrad years: not studying abroad. During my junior year, I had the opportunity to visit my twin sister during the semester she was spending in Madrid, an experience that has continued to benefit her Spanish-speaking skills and enrich her connection to the language our mom spoke to this day. Whether you want a way to improve your Spanish (or learn it from scratch) or get a better feel for your Latin roots, here are seven reasons you should take the leap and study abroad in a Spanish-speaking Latin American country.
- You'll get the real Latin American food experience. It's true that you can find restaurant gems right here in the US (and nothing beats your mom's cooking), but there's nothing quite like tasting fresh ceviche right off the ocean of Peru or enjoying a fabulous cup of Costa Rican coffee in the land of "Pura Vida."
- Because when else will you be able to jet off for several months at a time? Once you've graduated and jumped into the real world, it can be tough to jet off for a similar experience to spend timing learning Spanish and Latin American history. Not only will you likely have limited paid vacation time, but you probably can't expect that your job would be waiting for you when you got back from an extended trip.
- You'll learn to be fully independent and see what you can on your own. Being without your close-knit group of friends back on campus will allow you to be selfsufficient and break out of your comfort zone when it comes to trying new things.
- It will give you a newfound knowledge of the world. Sure, you can probably study the history and literature of your family's home country in one of your college courses, but nothing can top immersing yourself in their culture.
- You'll meet a diverse range of people. Whether the new friendships you make with locals are lifelong or short-lived, they will surely shape your experience and memories of studying abroad.
- Technology is better than ever. Not only is it easier than ever to keep in touch with family from afar, but with developments like Skype and FaceTime, you can make sure to maintain those aforementioned friendships long after you return home.
- And lastly, because Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States. Companies are continually seeking employees who are bilingual. In addition to helping you land a successful job, being able to speak Spanish will enable you to communicate with more people and undoubtedly enrich your life.