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Amanda Miles
      Amanda Miles

Hometown: Mahtomedi, MN
Program: Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Location: Quito, Ecuador
Semester Abroad: Fall 2012
Major: Spanish and Communication

Memorable Experience:
Throughout my semester abroad I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the far corners of Ecuador to experience every aspect it has to offer- mountains, coast, and jungle. One of my most memorable experiences was spent in the jungle when I had the opportunity to live in an indigenous community for a few days, learn a few words in Quechua, the second official language of Ecuador, and experience the simple way of living: cooking over a fire, learning to pick leaves off trees for tea, picking bananas in the morning for breakfast, and sleeping in a wooden house with no windows, and just a few walls. Life was simple, uncomplicated, and refreshing. Within hours of waking up, countless neighbors would stop by to ask a question, to ask for some supply that they didn't grow in their own yard, or just to converse. Getting to be a part of such a cultural and real experience gave me a greater understanding of the indigenous cultures and people of Ecuador as a whole, as well as widened my view on Ecuador's history.

Benefits of Studying Abroad:
Studying abroad has helped me to become a more motivated and achieving person. I have learned that if I want something for myself, I must work for it and never give up. Taking chances and not being afraid to make mistakes was necessary for me in being confident to speak the language with natives, and as a person as a whole I have seen myself open up to countless new experiences and embrace them with a excited passion rather than a timid embrace. Academically I have been greatly challenged by taking all of my classes here in Spanish, but at the same time have learned that I am capable of more than I think I am; that when I really begin to push myself, I can be just as good as those students with Spanish as their native language. My Spanish isn't perfect, but it has certainly strikingly improved. Professionally, studying abroad has opened many windows for me to move back to South America after I graduate and find a job here where I can continue to use my Spanish and develop further cultural awareness.

Advice & Tips:
For a student considering to study abroad, I would recommend taking the chance and going, despite the nerves, doubts and questions that remain, because it is an experience that will help you get to know yourself and dig deep to begin to understand how other cultures work. It will widen your understanding of how the world is, and what your importance in the world is. To those students who are already planning to study abroad, my simple understated advice to you is this: "disfruta el momento"..enjoy the moment. Take every opportunity you get, push yourself to meet people, immerse yourself in the culture, and take chances; these things will take you farther than you ever imagined.

Study Abroad Office

Phone: (920) 403-4068
Fax: (920) 403-4083

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181