Why did you decide to study abroad?
Going abroad was never a matter of if but rather of when. Being a biology major, I saw it as a nearly impossible task, but one worth the sacrifice. Having grown up and lived in a border city, I knew of the importance of opening oneself to other cultures and truly appreciating them. Perhaps that is also what urged me to travel a whole ocean away from everything I knew. I wanted to experience what many considered one of the major cities in the world, London. Its vibrant culture, its food and its sport all held such unimaginable attraction for me, even if it meant taking a break from my studies in biology (the program didn't offer courses in my degree). My parents, being immigrants themselves, knew of the importance of pursuing ones dreams, even if it meant a lot of risk. Both my mother and father, along with my personal desires, were the ultimate deciding factor in whether or not to go.
How did you pay for your study abroad experience?
To go abroad, I used a combination of loans, a grant, and scholarships.
For the loans I had the B-On-Time Loan, College Access Loan, federal Stafford (subsidized and unsubsidized), and the Perkins Loan.
My university awarded be London Grant, as well as the Study Abroad Scholarship, and the Trustee's Scholarship.
What is one thing you wish you would have known about studying abroad before you left?
I would have definitely would have loved to know how to budget better. That makes all the difference in the world!
I went through my monthly allowance in the first two weeks since I was extremely eager to taste the different foods available in London, which led to me embarrassingly having to call my parents to see if they could help me out so the rest of the semester wouldn't be thrown off. If you are going to plan a budget, please stick to it, it is in your best interest.
Did you experience any discrimination abroad because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or a physical disability? If so, what did you learn from the experience?
I am a young Latina woman, and surprisingly while in London, I did not experience any cultural insensitivity. Many of the people I would speak to were excited and genuinely interested in learning more about Mexico.
How has studying abroad benefited you, personally and academically?
Having gone to London for a semester affected me tremendously. For one, I had to take Organic Chemistry I and II during the summer after studying abroad, which was pretty brutal but worth it since I wanted to graduate within four years. After coming back from London, my cross-cultural sensitivity was definitely increased, which led to many friendships with my university's internationals. It also led me to want to pursue my Masters degree in the United Kingdom.