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Jacob Pearson

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Pre-Business major/Spanish for the Business Profession minor
Program: UNC in Sevilla (Summer LSCS Track)
Location: Sevilla, Spain
Term: Summer 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad for a multitude of reasons. For one, I wanted to be able to practice and improve my language skills. I was looking for a completely different experience. I wanted to see what life was like in another part of the world. Most importantly, I was looking to challenge myself. I wanted to put myself outside of my comfort zone in an effort to grow as a global citizen. I ended up choosing UNC in Sevilla because it had everything that I was looking for. It was in a Spanish-speaking country with a unique culture that I had very little experience in. Living in a large city was also completely different from what I was used to growing up in a small town.


What did you learn about yourself?
The most important thing that I gained from studying abroad was proving to myself that I can thrive in unfamiliar situations. Growing up, I was a complete home body who never really wanted to try new things. I was tired of being uncomfortable and I wanted to be able to explore. By pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I learned that there is a lot of personal gain that comes from pushing yourself. I would argue that I am now more confident in myself and my abilities and am more willing to take risks.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I loved our group trip to Grenada. It was awesome that they brought us to an underrated area of the country with a history that many people forget about. We were all able to bond not only with each other, but with other international students who went on the trip with us. One of the highlights for me was the group hike we took at night to the lookout point over the city. It was a great bonding experience that resulted in a beautiful night view of the city. From there, we all hung out at the restaurants in the area to complete an unforgettable night.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Don't be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone! There are probably hundreds of things that you will get the chance to do while abroad that you wouldn't have the opportunity to do in Chapel Hill. I have learned from experience that the best way to learn and grow as a person is to put yourself in unfamiliar situations and experiencing all you can is the best way to get the most out of studying abroad.


Would you do it again?


How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
Having global experience never hurts when you are going into the business field. In this day and age, many businesses are looking to expand and work around the world. I believe that a good business leader spends time to educate themselves about the culture and business practices of the other countries. In addition, my knowledge of Spanish will be beneficial with working with Spanish-speaking clients so that the language barrier that often hinders them is eliminated.


How do you identify?


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Spain is such an accepting country that it never really posed any issues!


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Make sure you are confident in who you are and do your research. Being upfront about your identity is the best way to ensure that you will be placed in a warm and accepting environment. In addition, it never hurts to research the current political and social attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people so you can determine for yourself what you are comfortable with.


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
The staff at the school I was at were amazing. They put a lot of effort to pairing you with host families that would be supporting and accepting of who you are and were always there to help/listen if any problems arose.