Study Abroad Interview

Koryn Kelly

Koryn enjoying the wilds of Costa RicaAge (while abroad): 25


Degree(s): Undergraduate student of Psychology and a minor in Spanish at the College of Liberal Arts


What was your prior language knowledge (if applicable)?: Two years in high school and one year of First year Spanish at Montana State University Billings


Where did you go?: Heredia and Samara, Costa Rica.


In what school did you study?: Intercultura


When did you go abroad (from when to when)?: July 1, 2017-September 1,2017


Have you studied abroad before?: “Before this experience, I have never studied abroad nor traveled outside of the United States.”


Why did you do study abroad?: “To be honest, I have always wanted to study abroad and experience a different country. I loved the idea of learning about new culture and also about how people in other countries live compared to the United States. This experience provided me the perfect opportunity to not only do that but also to be able to improve my Spanish. Before this experience, I did really well in my Spanish classes, however, this experience truly helped me gain confidence when I speak and really helped with my pronunciation.”


Koryn with an exotic birdWould I do this again?: “I would be more than happy to do an experience again. While at first the ‘full Spanish immersion’ was challenging, I grew to really enjoy it.”


What was your favorite part?: “My favorite part was meeting people from not only Costa Rica but also different countries and different parts of the United States. It was amazing to get to know them and find out about how people that live in other places live differently. I also very much enjoyed all of the natural beauty that I saw on the excursions with the school and being able to experience both campuses during my trip.”

What was your least favorite part?: “Being apart from my husband was challenging at times but it became easier over time. Also saying goodbye to my host family and the friends that I had met in Costa Rica proved to be a huge challenge. I remember on my last day that all I could think about was wishing that I had more time to spend there but I also was very grateful for the opportunity. I grew very close to my host families and would love to visit them again one of these days.”


a beautiful sunset in Costa RicaHow has study abroad affected your life now?: “It helped my Spanish so much and also gave me the desire to want to learn more of the language and about the different aspects of their culture. I now also have what is known as the ‘travel bug’, like crazy, and wish to travel as much as I can.”


After graduating from MSUB, Koryn is considering possibly looking into graduate programs outside of the U.S. in Latin America or Spain so that she can have more of a Spanish immersion experience.


What did you learn, outside of academics, from your study abroad experience?: “I learned so much about myself and who I am as a person. I was already an independent person before this experience but this really brought out that side of me. The experience also taught me that I needed to continue to be more adventurous and be willing to try out new things and meet new people. I also learned a good amount about how the family dynamic works in that country. I thought that it was very interesting that in it is very common for not only the children to live with their parents until they are married, even if they are going to college, but also that they commonly take care of their parents when they are elderly. Both of my host families seem to be very close to one another and look after each other very closely.”


Koryn in Costa Rica with a MSUB penantWhat advice you would offer students interested in studying abroad?: “Go into this experience with an open mind and be willing to try new things. While the experience can be costly in some ways, it is 100 percent worth every penny. Also, spend any extra money that you might have on experiences and not so much on things you really don’t need. The memories that you make during those experiences are so much more valuable than the souvenirs. This experience is a great opportunity for others to grow not only in an academic sense but also as a person and so keep this in mind while on your journey.”