Universidad Católica del Uruguay
After learning French during my first study abroad experience in Lyon, France, I wanted to learn Spanish as well. I think that being multilingual can be very helpful in my future career. I also wanted to go to South America to try something different and learn about a new culture. I expected Uruguay to be a lot different from the US and Europe. However, after researching the country and after living there, I found that the culture was not as different as I had expected. Because of its colonial heritage, Uruguay has a lot of cultural similarities to European countries such as Spain.
Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. The university, Universidad Católica del Uruguay, is a lot smaller than UNCG with approximately 6000 students. I chose to go to a smaller university because I felt that a smaller school would make it easier to meet and get to know more people. The geographic location of Uruguay, between Brazil and Argentina, makes it interesting and allows for traveling around in South America.
Most students that go to Uruguay live with host families. I lived with two fellow students during the first part of my stay but the last month I lived with a host family. Living with a host family provides lots of opportunities to practice the language, try new foods and learn about the culture. I also got to meet the extended family of my host family. This was great because now I feel like I have a second grandmother.
The classes were usually small with about 30 students each. I was surprised to find that the system was so similar to the US system. Most classes had smaller assignments and tests throughout the semester and then a final test or project at the end. I took some marketing courses as well as advanced Spanish. I also took a class in Uruguayan history, which was a class targeted to exchange students.
I was able to travel both in Uruguay and all over South America. I went to Punta Del Este, a famous beach in Uruguay. I also went to some small towns to get a chance to see some of the small town life, the real Uruguayan culture. I also had a chance to go to the amazing Iguazú falls, the largest waterfalls in the world. There were also some opportunities to travel to other countries. I went to Brazil to see the Carnival and to Venezuela to see a friend that I met studying abroad in France.
Studying abroad has had a large impact on my life. It impacted my choice of major, and thereby also my career plans. Studying abroad also improved my languages skills and opened my mind to new experiences.
Speak the language. The more you speak, the more you will learn.