Ryan Giglio
Spanish, Latin American Studies
Class of 2011
King’s Faculty Led Program
Canto Grande & Lima, Peru

How did you select your Study/Intern Abroad location?

My situation is a bit unique, because up until about a month before the program was set to run, the location had to be changed because of the H1N1 virus, so really the location chose me.  When the group I traveled with found out that we could no longer travel to Mexico, Mrs. Farmer and Dr. Massey worked really hard to find us somewhere else to go.  When all was said and done, Peru was the final location, and looking back on it, I’m glad that things worked out the way they did. 

Why did you want to study or intern abroad?

One of my reasons for studying abroad was to get the credits I needed to graduate with a major in Spanish. Also, one of my goals in life is to travel the world and experience different cultures and the way that people around the world live. Studying abroad was a great stepping stone toward that goal.

What were the highlights of this experience?

It’s hard to pick out just one highlight from the program, but one thing that will stick with me forever is the feeling of being completely outside my comfort zone.  At first it’s scary, but after the initial shock wears off, you start to find out who you really are, and even find out things about yourself that you never would have known; for me that was really surprising.  

What surprised you the most?

The thing that surprised me the most was seeing things from a different angle.  The part of Peru that we stayed in is one of the poorest sections of the country.  To see how poverty affects people up close and personal really changes the way you think about things.  Reading about poverty and actually seeing it are worlds apart, and anyone who has seen real poverty can tell you how it changes your view on the world, and how lucky we truly are to live where we do. 

How has (or how might) this experience affect your major and future career?

This experience has given me a starting point for what I want to do.   When choosing this program, I really didn’t, (and still don’t) know exactly what I want to do with my life, but now I know in what direction I want to head.  Also, learning about Latin America from the inside looking out, as opposed to looking in from the U.S., motivated me to design my own major in Latin American Studies. Currently I’m waiting for the College to approve this major, as it is now offered as a minor only. 

What would you tell students considering studying or interning abroad?

DO IT!!!!!  You really won’t believe what kind of affect it will have on you.  You will come back with a broader view of the world that we live in.  And if you do decide to study abroad, don’t be shy.  Try food you normally wouldn’t eat, talk to people you normally might not talk to, and try to take in as much as you possibly can. 

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