Laura Slavsky ’18




Environmental Science and Spanish

Summary of your experience:

I studied abroad in Segovia, Spain, where I lived with a host family, took classes in Spanish and participated in two service-learning practices in the city.

What did you learn as a result of this experience?

I learned how other countries view the United States in general as well as other customs that we don’t have here in the U.S. These differences are very important because they showed me that there are many ways to go about doing things and that one is not better than the other, just different. An extremely influential part of my experience abroad is the fact I was immersed in a different language which allowed me to improve my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and bring them to a new level of fluency.

How has your Alma Venture solidified or altered your career goals?

My experience in Spain allows me to be more confident when I speak and communicate in Spanish, as well as when I travel. Going alone to a country where I didn’t speak the native language fluently was intimidating, but now having done so I feel that I can effectively participate in other cultures in a way that is open-minded rather than closed off. Wherever my future career path may take me, I know my experience of living in Spain will positively affect my ability to handle new and challenging situations.

What was the most rewarding experience during your Alma Venture?

My favorite part of my experience abroad was that I got to see many different parts of history just by being surrounded by the architecture. Segovia has an aqueduct built by the Romans, a castle built by Muslims and one of the last gothic cathedrals ever built. The diversity and vastness of the history these buildings cover does not compare to the U.S. and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to see them every day as part of the city where I lived.

What advice would you give a student considering this type of Alma Venture?

I encourage all students to take the opportunity to study abroad. Find something you are interested in or passionate about, and seek out a trip that allows you to gain real-world living experiences. I’d recommend my experience specifically to other Spanish majors or minors, as it helps you improve your Spanish skills immensely and is a fantastic way to see the culture of Spain as well as Europe, which in turn helps you put in place the vastness of ideas and differences (and similarities) of humans all around the world.