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Sophie Hastings

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Global studies
Program: CET Colombia
Location: Cali, Colombia
Term: Spring 2020


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad because I have always wanted to. I wanted to improve my Spanish and learn about Colombian culture, while pursuing classes that related to my major. I selected my program because I got a chance to live with Afro-Colombian roommates and experience what I was learning first hand, instead of just staying in a host family or staying in my comfort zone. I did not want the typical Go-to-Spain-and-only-speak-English-while-traveling experience.


What did you learn about yourself?
What didn’t I learn? I really learned that I still have a lot more learning to do and that I need to take the time to educate myself more on a variety of issues. Race is one of those. Race is different but similar in Colombia and I quickly realized I thought I was more educated than I actually was. I also became much more aware of the space that I take up and re-learned the importance of cherishing every moment and memory, because it can be taken away very quickly (I’m talking to you Coronavirus)


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories is when my roommate cooked rice (3 cups for 3 people, which is way too much) and our Afro-Colombian roommate was so confused as to why we didn’t add oil to our rice! She thought it was so weird and she even talked to one of her friends on the phone saying “Can you believe they don’t add oil?!” It was hilarious and now I cook rice and add oil.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
It’s inevitable that there will be a problem or some kind of uncertainty that will come up during a study abroad. From getting sick, having a roommate issue, maybe not understanding an assignment because of a language barrier, or COVID-19. My biggest piece of advice is to speak to people who are studying abroad with you about your concerns and voice them with directors, professors, etc. Don’t be too afraid of confrontation, because it can actually be a good thing. Write emails, request a meeting, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to do things alone and be independent, but remember that doing things with other people can enhance your experience!


How do you identify?
Rural County Resident