Countdown to Nicaragua

Why I chose a shorter study abroad experience

Story by Meghan Hosely, Online Editor

The past few weeks have been a constant whirlwind of running around, studying for an exam, hanging out with friends, and most importantly, trying to clean my checklist of things to be done.

While I haven’t done half as much on my to do list as I wanted to, I have talked about it to many of my friends. Usually, the conversations are the same. However, a friend of mine once asked a question which caused me to stop and think hard about my answer.

Why did I choose to go on a three-week program instead of the full semester?

After thinking about this for a minute while talking to my friend, I narrowed it down to a few key reasons.

Location and language

When I was younger, I printed out a United States map and put “x” marks on where I thought would be cool to travel one day. At the time, I just put “x” marks on states I knew were really warm and had pretty beaches.

I remember writing on the side of the margins about where else in the world I wanted to go, and I distinctly remember writing, “Central America” on my list.

I know Nicaragua isn’t all of Central America, but it’s a start. I have no good reason why I want to go see Central America, I just do. Maybe it’s because it’s a lot warmer than the temperatures here in northern Wisconsin.

I also have six and a half years of Spanish under my belt, and while I’m not majoring or minoring in the language, I want to keep it so I can hopefully be bilingual and teach my kids the language, whenever that may be.

What first caught my attention about the program was the lack of a 300 level Spanish requirement.

Immersing myself in the language by living with a host family and honing my Spanish speaking skills to locals is what I’m most excited about going abroad. There’s no pressure for me to come back and have to master the skill, but I know I’ll get great practice and be a better Spanish-speaker than before.

Length of program

Truthfully, I’m a homebody at heart. I love Eau Claire, but there’s something about driving east on I-94 back to Madison.

Maybe it’s because I have my parents, brother and my father’s entire side of the family all in one town, but my heart is always at home. So, while I think adventuring out to another country for a semester would be fun, it sounds frightening as well.

A three-week program seems perfect to me. I get to be out of my comfort zone for a considerable amount of time, but I’ll hopefully realize that my family and home are on the other side of the discomfort.