Meagan Larsen- Toledo, Spain
Name: Meagan Larsen
Major: English and Spanish
Languages: English and Spanish
Study Abroad Programs: Guadalajara, Mexico Summer 2010, Toledo, Spain Fall 2011
International Experience: I studied and lived in Guadalajara, Mexico for a month and a half in the summer and in Toledo, Spain for a semester. I have visited (through study abroad programs and independent travel) a total of 10 countries: Spain, Portugal, Morocco, France, Ireland, Great Britain, Wales, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada. I lived with a host family in Mexico.
Why I wanted to be a peer advisor in the Study Abroad Office: I think that studying abroad is one of the most valuable things someone can do with their time at USD. I can only speak from personal experience, but my abroad experiences helped me grow and become way more independent then I was just attending college in America. They inspired a sense of adventure and thirst to not only see more of the world, but experience and learn about it firsthand. I sincerely want every other student considering this opportunity to be well informed and prepared to make the decision to go abroad or not, and I can't think of a better way then sharing my own experiences and helping them through the process.
Best advice for students planning to study abroad: Before I went abroad my older brother told me to always say "yes" and I think keeping this open mind helped me experience so much while abroad. You may only visit a place once so why miss out by saying no? Spontaneity is great and can lead to some exciting adventures, but my second piece of advice is to plan ahead and document. I kept a travel journal and filled it with transportation details, hostel names, cities visited, and reflections along the way so that I can both re-live my experiences and use it as a resource if I ever want to go back! My third piece of advice is one I had to learn on my own and might be the most valuable: remember that living abroad, culture shock, taking classes, traveling and everything else can me exhausting and it's okay if life's not an adventure 24/7. Part of living abroad means finding a routine and living a normal life, so take time for you. Watching a movie with your roommates is sometimes just what you firstname.lastname@example.org