Kianna Vargas (Alumni)
Year Abroad: 2019-2020 Academic Year
Program Location: CSUIP / Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile / Santiago de Chile
Current Position: Language and Culture Assistant
Organization: Spanish Ministry of Education
How did your study abroad experience help you with your coursework once you returned to SJSU?
My university in Chile was the number one university in the country meaning that my coursework was extremely rigorous. Attending this school taught me how to better my study happens and how to advocate for myself to professors.
How did your study abroad experience help strengthen your job prospects?
My time in Chile has made me a unique candidate for all jobs I have applied for. Studying abroad teaches you skills you could never learn in a traditional academic setting.
Please describe any skills you learned abroad that you are applying in your current academic, professional, or personal life.
The number one skill I improved on abroad is my Spanish language skills. Although I was confident in my Spanish before arriving to Chile, living and studying there was a humbling experience. In Chile, my Spanish improved immensely, and am now able to use it in all aspects of my life.
What is the most memorable experience or moment from your time abroad?
My most memorable experiences abroad were the solo trip I took to Colombia for a month, hiking Patagonia, and visiting my Chilean friends in their hometowns. A huge perk of studying abroad in the Southern Hemisphere is that the seasons are switched so if you study there for a year you get a summer break. My summer break was from December to March and I used this time to travel across Chile and other parts of South America (Colombia, Peru, and Argentina).
What other experiences do you wish you had optimized while abroad to help you in your career path?
I wish I had volunteered and participated more in school organizations. Due to COVID cutting my time short, I was unable to.
Any other advice to current Spartans about maximizing the study abroad experience?
Say yes as much as possible, don’t be afraid to be outside your comfort zone, and try your best to make local friends!