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Christian Canizal

IES Abroad Program: Barcelona - Full-Time Semester Internship, Fall 2017
U.S. College / University: Elmhurst College
Major: Interdisciplinary Communications 

What words would you use to describe your identity(ies)?
Motivated, adventure seeking, loving

What motivated you to choose to intern abroad?
At the time I needed internship experience, and I always wanted to study abroad. When the opportunity to intern abroad presented itself, I did everything in my power to take full advantage of the opportunity. One of the best decisions of my life.

When you interned abroad, did your identity(ies) influence your experience in significant and/or surprising ways? If so, how?
Yes, being abroad allowed me to be more open to other cultures, languages, and food. I didn't know anything about Catalunya, and, obviously, it played a big role while I was there with all the protest and the overall political climate. Being in a business setting where Spanish is the primary language, helped me better communicate with my boss, CEOs, and other businesses. Finally, food. I was a picky eater before I went abroad. Living with a host family and trying traditional plates such as melon con jamón, you quickly grow to appreciate a traditional Spanish dish.

Has interning abroad impacted your educational and/or professional aspirations or path? If so, how? 
Yes, it's paid dividends. I was able to land an internship with CBS Chicago as a sports intern as a direct result of interning abroad. When I applied to be an intern at CBS before interning abroad, I was denied because of my lack of experience. I completed an internship in the summer at Free Range Office as a content creator, and overseas I Interned with as an eSports journalist. After returning home, I applied and earned my dream internship.

What experiences or skills gained from interning abroad continue to influence your life now?
I'm now able to adapt to any situation. I arrived a day late for my program in Barcelona, and I knew that I would have to catch a bus from the city centre the next morning.  It was my first day, I was in a foreign country, I only had about four hours of sleep, and I had to search for people I had never seen in my life. It was weird, and a bit scary, but it forced me to adapt.

In one sentence, tell students who identify similarly why interning abroad is a good idea, particularly for them. 
Traveling is exercise for the soul.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm grateful for the help I received during my search to study abroad, and I'm thankful for the friendships and connections as a result of interning abroad. One day I hope to steer students to a route that will benefit them for the rest of their life.

Read more from Christian about what it's like to intern abroad as a first-generation student


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"Traveling is exercise for the soul." 

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