Alexa is a third-year Bachelor of International Business (BIB) student in the Spanish language stream. She is studying at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Santiago, Chile. (All students in the BIB program are required to study abroad for their third year at one of our partner institutions.)
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about your goals and interests:
Hi everyone! I am so thrilled to be sharing my experiences with you while studying on exchange in Santiago, Chile. I absolutely love to travel and learn about other cultures, so being in BIB is the perfect fit for me. Before we get to the fun travel stuff though, here is a little more about me. Growing up, I loved to be active. I played competitive soccer for close to 15 years before switching over to ultimate frisbee. I now play for the Carleton Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team (Go Ravens!). I also have a huge appreciation for music as I grew up playing piano. I was classically trained for ten years, competed in many local festivals back home, and took yearly examinations in order to get to the next level. This hobby taught me all about commitment, self-discipline, and patience. One of my greatest passions in life is leadership. Over the years, I have been involved in a variety of organizations dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders. I would love to be able to take this passion and the experiences I’ve gained and fit them into my future career in business. After all, leadership is a huge part of running a successful business!
Why did you choose your language?
There are two main reasons that I chose to study Spanish. First off, I have an advanced understanding of the French language after going through the French Immersion program in high school and graduating with my French certificate. I knew I didn’t want to continue studying in French since I already knew enough, and learning a third language could open up even more doors in my future. I decided to branch out to Spanish because I heard the structure of the language was very similar to that of French. The other reason I chose Spanish is that it is one of the most popular languages in the world, with over 20 countries using it as an official language. I decided that this language would give me the most opportunities to travel and work overseas.
Have you ever travelled overseas before? If so, where?
Aside from a few family trips to the Caribbean including Cuba, Mexico, and Dominican Republic, I was also fortunate enough to travel to Chimborazo, Ecuador for ten days with a group from the Me to We humanitarian organization. This was the first time I was truly able to immerse myself in a culture completely different from my own. My eyes were opened to the culture of Ecuador as well as the poverty many rural citizens suffer in. During this trip, I developed a sensitivity to the diversity of other cultures and discovered an interest in learning more about the diverse world we live in.
What 3 things MUST you take with you while abroad?
- A camera of course! I am one of those people who must document every moment of their life, especially when I’m on the trip of a lifetime. I really want to try my hand at making travel videos while I’m abroad. If they manage to turn out okay, I might even share them with you!
- Comfortable shoes. I plan on doing a lot of sight-seeing while in South America and I don’t want to let a poor choice of footwear stop me. I’m sure I might even get lost a few times while walking around the city of Santiago. Good shoes are a must to get me where I need to go, even if it takes some extra wandering.
- Last but certainly not least, bring an open mind and positive attitude! Okay… I know that seems like two things, but I swear they go hand in hand. I find a lot of people don’t think about how different other countries and cultures are from their own. When travelling, keep in mind that other cultures have their own beliefs, values, and mannerisms that may be different from yours. There will be different food, music, festivals, activities, and so much more. Be sure to step out of your comfort zone and try it all! This is your chance to fully immerse yourself in a different culture. Don’t forget to have fun while doing it!
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m sure this is what most people say, but I cannot wait to go sightseeing. Chile is such a beautiful and diverse country, from the mountains to the beaches, from Patagonia in the south to the Atacama Desert in the north. I’m looking forward to seeing it all and I cannot wait to share it with you!