Study Abroad Student Spotlight

The student spotlight highlights the transformative experience Marquette students have abroad. Through the Office of International Education, students are able to participate on a range of programs.  From faculty-led to short term to yearlong study abroad experiences with varying topics that can fulfill major/degree requirements. Marquette sends 30% of students abroad on the 80+ partner programs we have available.  Ranging from the Latin America to Asia, Europe, and Oceania, Marquette students are crossing boundaries and seeking opportunities to help them enhance their intercultural competency levels. Check out our monthly student spotlight interview below!

January 2021

Katarina Fischer, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Fall 2018

katarina fischerHow did you hear about your undergraduate study abroad opportunity, and why did you choose the PUC-Chile program?
As a Spanish major, I really wanted to study abroad in a Latin American country. During my first semester at Marquette I attended the study abroad fair and found the PUC-Chile program very quickly. I met with a study abroad ambassador from the program and she had so many great things to say about her time there. I was especially intrigued by the immersion pre-program in rural Chile, and then the chance to live with a host family in a major Latin American city during the semester.

What do you believe were some of the ‘stand out’ aspects of your study abroad program?

The two-week-long immersion pre-program in rural Chile was really a one-of-a-kind experience for me. Our group of students primarily spoke Spanish for the first two weeks we spent in Chile, so we created friendships entirely in Spanish, which really gave us confidence in our speaking skills and prepared us for the upcoming semester. The program was led by “real” Chileans, so we got the chance to learn about Chilean history and slang, experience and appreciate Chilean culture, and create friendships with native speakers. Another stand out aspect of the PUC-Chile program was the opportunity to take a service-learning course. I volunteered weekly at a before-school daycare, which gave me the chance to travel outside of the more affluent areas of Santiago that I had become comfortable in. I really enjoyed playing schoolyard games and learning Chilean school songs, but I also got to help students with their homework and practice my Spanish in a fun new environment. I came to really appreciate that childhood is delightfully similar around the world.

In what ways didkatarina fischer you grow personally, academically or professionally upon completion of your study abroad program? Any important lessons learned?
By the end of my study abroad program, I had gained a lot of confidence in myself. I cultivated a version of myself that made friendships and did schoolwork in a different language and I found new ways to convey my personality even when there were holes in my vocabulary or speaking ability. My Spanish skills improved drastically, which was one of my primary goals, but this challenging yet rewarding experience also changed my worldview and introduced to me the idea of study abroad as a powerful and effective way to change the way people think about the world.

What prompted you to enroll in a Global Higher Education Master's program, and what do you plan to do with this degree?
I really have a deep appreciation for my own study abroad experience, and that is what inspired me to enroll in the Global Higher Education Master’s program at UW-Madison. I was (and still am!) excited about the idea of making the world a better place through international educational experiences. Ultimately, I hope to work with study abroad students or international students in higher education. I want to help students have a transformative time as a student abroad, just like I did, while also increasing access to these experiences. 

What advice do you have to others looking to pursue a degree in Global Education?
I think the most essential thing for anyone pursuing a degree in Global Education, would be to study abroad themselves! It gives you invaluable firsthand experience living in another country and navigating cultural differences. I know these experiences will benefit me (and the students I will work with) in my career as a professional in international education.

 Archived student spotlight interviews