Katie studied abroad in Cusco, Peru and also volunteered in Oaxaca, Mexico. She now works as the Volunteer Abroad Marketing Director for GoOverseas, a website designed to help future travelers choose between programs abroad. Check out her personal blog, Katie Boyer, where you’ll find interesting posts on culture and technology!
Where did you go to school?
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obipso, CA
When and where did you study abroad?
Summer 2009 through Cal Poly with ProWorld in Cusco, Peru and I volunteered in fall 2011 through ProWorld in Oaxaca, Mexico.
What was the BEST part about studying abroad?
This is a tough question because there are so many wonderful things that come from studying abroad! For me, the best part was being immersed in a new culture. From living with a local family to taking Spanish classes to touring local cultural hot spots, I was constantly surrounded and soaking up a new culture. There is nothing else quite like it and I loved every minute of it!
What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?
I learned about how big the world really is! Once I left my home country, I felt a new sense of my place in the world. There is so much out there to learn and explore and it got me really excited for all of the possibilities ahead of me.
I also learned about appreciating little things that most people in the US probably take for granted. From clean water to fast internet and smart phones, I learned to appreciate family and personal time and step away from technology.
What was your BIGGEST challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage to handle it?
The biggest challenge for me was forcing myself to stray outside of my comfort zone. In Peru, I studied abroad with a group of students from my university in California. It was way too easy to just hang out with them and speak English all of the time.
It helped a lot that we lived with a host family. They helped us with our Spanish homework and even took us to their favorite local restaurant. It’s hard to spend time with people who are so different from yourself but if I could do one thing differently, it would definitely be to make more time for my host family and cultural immersion.
How did studying abroad change your life?
Not only did studying abroad in Peru help me academically (I finished my Spanish minor as well as a minor in Latin American studies), but it also helped me grow into a more confident person. I became stronger and more independent.
What are your future plans?
Since graduating from Cal Poly, I have been lucky enough to work in the travel industry. Currently, I am the Volunteer Abroad Marketing Director for Go Overseas, a website designed to help future travelers choose between programs abroad. I really enjoy interacting with study abroad and volunteer abroad participants regularly – they have such wonderful and passionate stories to share!
What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?
I would tell anyone thinking of studying abroad to just do it! It’s such a wonderful experience, I don’t think there’s anyone who has regretted studying abroad.
Although people are wary of large price tags, research and scholarships can go along way in making studying abroad more affordable – plus sometimes the cost of living abroad can be cheaper than places in the US.
Most of all, make the best of your time abroad – get outside of your comfort zone while experiencing new culture, food, and people!