Extended Education and International Programs

Education Abroad

Marco's Dreams Come True in Spain

Marco Rangel, Spanish Major

Spring 2018, Spain - Universidad Pontificia Comillas | Summer 2018, South Korea - Kookmin University

Marco Rangel, Spain

I once had a dream to study abroad. Many times I doubted to take the decision, because of that unknown element of what to expect. Studying is a life opportunity that not everyone has, now imagine studying abroad is another completely different experience. Studying abroad is learning and growing intellectually. Embarking abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone to be amongst new cultures, languages, food and much more. One cannot be discourage because of the language, cost, environment and other unexpected things. I have always thought that almost everything has a solution, the problem is looking for the solution.

The biggest and perhaps the most difficult part is departing.

With departing comes a series of responsibilities such as; buying your flight ticket, making sure your visa and legal documents are in check, having a place to stay while abroad, researching your school and how you will commute among other things. Upon your arrival do not be scared if you are not sure where to go, if you do not know the language or if you are completely lost. Thanks to technology you can download mobile map apps, translation apps, or even better asking for help in English. Many people around the world speak English and are always looking to practice their speaking skills. Do not be scared upon your arrival. Learn to culturally integrate, learn the language, the traditions and as much as you can. Many times we become culturally shocked or become homesick, it is important to create friends while abroad.

Those friends become your family. Enjoy the time and most important the experience. Not many people have the opportunity to attend college or a university much less the opportunity to study abroad.

The first step can be the most difficult and that is deciding where to go, the rest is a life journey experience. I had the fortune and privilege to be able to study abroad in Madrid, Spain and Seoul, South Korea. Each destination had its challenges but most important each place has its story. No city is the same and each place poses completely distinct culture, environment, cuisine, traditions and many other things.

Spain opened the doors for me to learn about their culture, past, and present. Before you go anywhere, set aside all stereotypes and obtain a first-hand experience. That is the best way to learn and the best way to emerge into the new environment. Observe what happens in the community and do not be afraid to make mistakes. Try and use the language and why not bargain a little.

After leaving Spain, I wanted to explore a completely different culture, place, somewhere new. CSUMB not only offers spring/fall but also summer and winter courses. These courses vary but are another way to step out into a new adventure. I decided to pick South Korea, with time I learned South Korea picked me to arrive.

Upon my arrival I knew I was up for a challenge because of the language, always keeping in mind each country has their different customs, food, lifestyle and so on. I was really challenged my first day but slowly was able to learn. I learned to admire the people, to love the food, to appreciate life in a new perspective.

My journey in order to arrive to Madrid or Seoul was not easy. Within these experiences I can talk about all the things I learned. However what stuck to me the most was understanding how fortunate I was
Marco in Shanghai

Just like there is good there is bad, I understood people do not get the opportunity to travel, learn, explore. I am grateful for being able to say I have food, water and a shelter, that I am healthy. Traveling also opened my eyes to understanding that the world is not a perfect place. Studying abroad is a life changing opportunity that students can do.

You cannot be discouraged by any of those factors. Studying abroad you learn to culturally integrate, you learn about the history, the people, you learn a new world. A new place that you will call home one day.

Marco in Spain
Marco and friends in Spain

Dreams are not real.
But here is the deal.
No one said we can not make them into reality.
I once dreamed to attend a university.
You see, it was not good enough to dream
People laughing at me and calling me a bean.
In a world full of diversity
My dreams became reality
With work, sacrifice and time.
There were times I did not even have a dime.
Success does not happen over night.
What matters is what you do behind the sight.
Failure is bound to happen, get up and keep going.
You see it is not how many times you fall and get back up
but how many times you can keep going without falling.
Keep going and keep balling.
We grow and mature
Your past does not determine your future.
You control your fate.
Do not let others dictate.