Sydney Seferyn

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Advertising & PR, Communication/Spanish Minor for the Professions
Program: UNC in Sevilla
Location: Seville, Spain
Term: Fall 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad because I knew that this would probably be one of the only times in my life that I have the flexibility to live abroad and travel, and I wanted to take advantage of it. I also wanted to immerse myself in the Spanish language and culture, and I was sure that staying with a host family would be the best way to do so. (It turned out to be so true… my host mom was one of the biggest highlights of studying abroad!) UNC in Sevilla particularly interested me because of its structure. The balance of staying with a host family while going to classes with UNC students was perfect for me; I learned a lot and stretched myself but had a support system to fall back on. I also was happy to get credit for my minor through the program.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am far braver than I give myself credit for. Even though I had traveled out of the country before, this experience was way out of my comfort zone, and I was so anxious before I left. However, I conquered the unfamiliarity head-on and became more confident and independent in the process.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories is the Thanksgiving dinner. Every student from the program was there, and our professors came with their families as well. It was fun to celebrate an American holiday with our new friends in Spain and so special to me because our program had become like a family. I had a lot to be thankful for, and that Thanksgiving is one that I will never forget.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My biggest advice is to keep an open mind and have fun! It is by far the best decision I ever made, and I have no doubt that you will love it. Don’t worry if you feel nervous the first few days because that feeling fades quickly as you meet more people and spend more time in your new home. Reaching out to students who had done my program before was also helpful. They can give you a sense of what to expect and help you get excited!


Would you do it again?
Without a doubt... YES!


How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
My conversational Spanish skills grew exponentially abroad, which helps in my journey to become fluent. The experience also grew my confidence in my ability to problem-solve. No matter what is thrown at me in my future career, I know that I can use logic, have patience, ask for help and succeed in the end. Finally, living in a different country broadened my horizons. I have no idea where I will work when I graduate, but I know that I can make any new city feel like home.


How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
Having Spanish professors made my classes abroad so unique. They incorporated so much cultural knowledge into their curriculums, so I was able to learn the language as well as the culture that influences it. Having my program friends as my classmates also made school so enjoyable. We weren’t scared to ask questions or nervous to make mistakes while speaking Spanish in class because we had become so close. It was a chill, open learning environment.


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