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Study Abroad Interviews

Holly Hudson

Age: 21

Degree: History & Finance with a minor in Spanish

Prior Language Knowledge: 1 1/2 years at MSUB (4 semesters)

Where did you go? Lima, Peru

When did you go? Summer 2009 for 10 days

Have you studied abroad before? No

Note: Hudson went to Lima, Peru on a mission trip with an organization outside of MSUB. She did receive University credits for her trip by arranging the credits with Dr. St. John Robinson beforehand and by writing a capstone paper in Spanish after returning back to the States.

Why did you choose to study abroad?
Hudson wanted to go on a mission trip that she had heard bout through "Global Expeditions" at Acquire the Fire. Also, she wanted to experience going abroad and live through a short time of communicating with native Spanish speakers.

Holly with Peruvian childrenWhat was the hardest challenge you faced abroad?
"The entire experience definitely stretched me out of my comfort zone." The language barrier was difficult to work through for Hudson and the three teens she was overseeing. She explains how, "I was so nervous and I was the only Spanish speaker in my group. I got there [Lima] and forgot everything [Spanish] -- or so it felt."

What was the easiest part of studying abroad?
Hudson explained how the staff at MSUB was extremely helpful and willing to work with her schedule. She said Dr. Robinson was particularly laid back and supportive of her stint abroad. Hudson really emphasized how the professors worked to make things stress free for her as she left at the end of summer session lectures, "I didn't have to jump through 500 hoops."

What was the most frustrating part for you?
Hudson talked about how every part of the 10 days was jamb-packed. It was really hard for her not to have her "alone time" or "quiet time" each day to unwind and relax. She cautions others to really set aside time to examine and absorb the events of the day, journal and rejuvenate. It was an important time of the day that she missed and felt like she did not have time to breathe.

What was your favorite part?
Hudson told me about how she was talking to a pastor's wife, who had limited English, after struggling through a conversation with two natives who could not speak English. She explained, "I began to speak with her and even though I did not understand her, I knew exactly what she was saying [...] again we really could not communicate in words, but I felt as though I could perfectly understand her. It was awesome."

Holly Hudson with Peruvian childHow has this study abroad affected your life now?
"My relationship with God is changed for the better forever!" This trip really impacted her in the aspect that God took her to another country to draw her close to Him. Also, this trip resulted in a huge growth with her conversational Spanish and Spanish paper writing skills. Before Peru, Hudson had maybe written 3/4 of a page in Spanish, now she has accomplished an 11-page collegiate Spanish capstone paper. It really helped her in the upper division Spanish lectures she is currently taking at MSUB. Finally, because of being stretched linguistically, Hudson now feels, "I'm not afraid to make mistakes [conversationally] because I'll make a million of them!"

What advice/words of wisdom would you offer students interested in studying abroad?
One thing that Hudson really emphasized is to remember to pack light! "You don't need as much stuff as you think you do," Hudson recalls. She was frustrated with an overweight carry on, and really accentuates to future students, "Pack light!"

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