EXCERPT from The Wall Street Journal:
Patti Ristau says she was terrified when she first landed in Seville, Spain, for a semester studying abroad.
Though she had a double major from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that included Spanish and felt sure of herself speaking the language in Mexico and the Caribbean, Ms. Ristau was worried she would be like a taco at a tapas bar in Seville. And she was all alone.
It’s a common theme from students who give up the comforts of home and campus to live and study abroad and immerse themselves in another country’s culture. They come back changed. And some even admit to becoming more mature — and with a more wide-eyed view of the world.
“One of the major values of a study-abroad experience is for the student to really come to terms with how he or she navigates an unfamiliar world, particularly in places where a different language is dominant,” says Michael Cowan, executive director for the University of California’s Education Abroad Program.