Meet Julia Krusen, a rising senior from the University of Virginia, and our June 2016 IES Abroad Ambassador of the Month. Julia is a peer advisor for her school’s study abroad office, has given numerous classroom presentations, and has assisted with many information sessions and predeparture orientations, all in the name of promoting study abroad. Here, she shares why she chose to study with IES Abroad, and offers advice to those who are considering study abroad, as well as re-entry advice once students have returned from living and learning abroad.
Julia is majoring in Government and History, and she attended IES Abroad’s Study in Santiago Program in Chile in Spring 2015.
IES Abroad: Why did you choose to study abroad with us?
JK: I chose IES Abroad because I liked that I had the option to take classes at a local university with local students, and the ability to have an internship. I was really excited to improve my Spanish abilities and was looking for a program that would allow me to integrate into the host culture as much as possible while still having a support system like the one we had at our Center.
IES Abroad: What would tell someone who’s on the fence about studying abroad?
JK: There is nothing else you can do that compares to the experience of immersing yourself in a new culture. I can't imagine my time in college without studying abroad; as cliché as it sounds, it changed my perspective on the world and even my course of study.
IES Abroad: If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing before studying abroad, what would it be?
JK: If I could go back and tell my past self one thing, it would be to just go for it, especially when it came to doing things on my own. Once I started exploring the city by myself, I was amazed at how much more comfortable I was in my new home. When the Metro unexpectedly shut down one morning, I had no problem getting to class because I knew where to get the next line. That's when I really felt like a resident of the city, and if I had known before I left how much of an impact that a little bit of exploring on my own would have, I think I would have started much sooner.
IES Abroad: What one piece of advice would you share to those who are returning home from study abroad?
JK: Find a way to stay connected to your time abroad! It's easy to come back and feel like it was all a dream, but keeping in contact with friends you made abroad or your host family or even practicing your language skills can definitely help to both validate your experience and help you transition back to life in the United States.
Thanks, Julia, and congratulations on being an IES Abroad Ambassador of the Month for June 2016!