Vanessa Kundrik
Spanish, Political Science
Class of 2012
VENUSA Center for International Studies & Modern Languages (UMN) Merida, Venezuela

How did you select your Study/Intern Abroad location?

I selected my program through extensive research on a variety of programs found in booklets from the study abroad office, and also through shared programs of other universities. I finally found a location that was unique, exotic, and very interesting to me because of the political tension in that particular part of the world.

Why did you want to study or intern abroad?

I have a tremendous interest in foreign cultures and languages so there wasn't even a doubt in my mind that I was going to study abroad.

What were the highlights of this experience?

The highlights included being able to travel to Colombia, camping out in the Andes and swimming in the hot springs, spending weekends on the coast of Venezuela (the gorgeous beaches!) having a wonderful host family, being in walking distance from the university, going to soccer games and concerts, shopping in the local market, learning how to cook Venezuelan food, ..And pretty much every other part of the program!!!

What surprised you the most?

How easy it actually was to travel throughout the city, and other cities. I thought it would be a lot more complicated, but to my surprise exploring my host city was quite easy thanks to the friendly natured people and some new friends.

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

It has truly made me want to work even harder towards achieving political amnesty between countries such as Venezuela and the U.S. after being there and speaking with the people first hand. Some day in the future I will be able to look back on my experiences and see how much they influenced my path in life. As of now, I am continuing to open my eyes to see the variety and beauty that there is to be found around the world.

What would you tell students considering studying or interning abroad?

Go for it! Because if you don't, you will regret not having gone in the future. Whether it's a short-term program or a full semester program, in the big picture it's such a short period of time, but such an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn't be passed up! Plus, it really makes you a better person in every aspect, not just in school.

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