Somerton DeGraffenreid ’19


Romulus, MI


Integrative Physiology and Health Science

Summary of your experience:

I studied Spanish at the Academia Latinoamericana in Quito, Ecuador.

What did you learn as a result of this experience?

This experience was incredibly valuable. The many people I have met, places I’ve been, and things that I have learned will forever be ingrained in my heart and mind. I value the ability to speak Spanish even more, even if it isn’t absolutely perfect. I also appreciate my host family and the Academia for providing me with support throughout my experience as well. Everyone here that I have a relationship with is now family. I encountered the challenge of transporting myself everywhere and managing my money. I developed the unexpected skill of turning a thirty minute walk into fifteen minute walk. I also began recalling my Spanish more quickly and using more than I thought. 

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

I believe I have developed skills that will help me in the future as far as interpersonal skills, professionalism, and drive. I will hopefully continue traveling and continue speaking Spanish.

What was the most rewarding experience during your Alma Venture?

I think that the greatest thing I can take away from this experience is that it is okay to be open to new things. I had to be open to being in a place where English is not spoken very well if at all and use my skills I had in the Spanish language and put my new skills that I learned to use. I had to be open to meeting new people. The memories I have with all the people that I met here are all very dear to my heart. Lastly, being open to trusting myself. If you don’t open your mind and your heart for these kinds of opportunities you will never enjoy everything you can about them.

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

Going to another country is scary at first but you get more comfortable. Once you are comfortable the country becomes your home. Once it is home you are able to enjoy everything that it has to offer you.