A double major in History and Spanish, Matthew Cameron spent his entire junior year studying abroad, first at the Universidad de Granada in Spain and later at Harlaxton College. We sat down with him to hear about his experience.
- Why did you decide to stay abroad for the entire year?
Since both my campuses abroad were European, spending an entire year on the continent made sense; I didn’t even return home for winter break. I spent Christmas in Mérida, New Year’s in London, and continued traveling throughout Spain and England until the spring semester began. Living in two European, yet significantly different countries was an incredible experience.
- What was the most challenging aspect of your experience? How did you adapt?
Being entirely separated from every aspect of my home: friends and family, the familiarities that give someone identity and comfort, was the most challenging aspect of studying abroad. But this is also why traveling can be so exciting. A chance for self-reflection and encountering new friends from diverse backgrounds is a satisfying reward for braving the insecurities of life abroad.
- What did you learn about the world and other cultures?
Striving to be open-minded is an honorable habit, but experiencing and adapting to a foreign culture makes the incredible complexity of culture and community evident. The immeasurable possibilities of human experience are something that must be lived, seen, and felt. More than just fostering a healthy amount of savoir-faire, living and studying abroad cultivates a practical understanding of tolerance and acceptance.
- How have you changed as a result of this experience?
My experience abroad has reinforced my desire to work abroad and continue to explore other cultures and language. The study of history is the study of the cultural fabric that shapes societies and individuals. I hope to use my background to enjoy a lifetime of discoveries and adventures throughout the globe.