¿Quibo? My name is Matt, and I’m a fifth year at UC Davis. I’m a double major – Spanish with an emphasis in linguistics, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and to top it all off, a minor in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies.
I had the opportunity to work as a nurse, camp counselor, and cook (among other jobs) at a Salesian summer camp in Aptos for three summers. It was there that I met some of my best friends, a handful of which hail from all parts of Mexico. My first trip to Mexico was sophomore year in college to visit two of my best friends. It was culture shock for sure, but I knew I wanted to go back and stay for much longer. Through UCEAP, I participated in a six-month program where I studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or UNAM, in Mexico City. Every day was an adventure: a new word learned, a new food to try, a new site to see, or a new face to meet. To be honest, boarding my return flight was the most difficult part of the entire trip. I truly experienced “México en la piel”!
When I first arrived at UC Davis, I was focused on getting my degree (only one at that time!) and getting out of school. As a Spanish major, it was important for me personally to prove that I could put what I have learned into practical use, especially as a non-native speaker. I am proud of what I have accomplished, but I still get embarrassed when people compliment my accent. I’m glad I had the opportunity to slow down and experience a different way of life. I cherish my memories from my time abroad and wish to live in México in the future. There’s still quite a bit I still want to explore!
When studying abroad, there is no prescribed outcome. You can try to convince yourself that studying abroad “isn’t worth it” or whatever the excuse might be; in all brutal honesty, there are always a thousand more reasons you should go for it!