Barcelona is a popular choice for students studying abroad. How did one Mount San Antonio College student make her Barcelona study abroad a reality? By baking! Like many college students, Angelica Sánchez wanted to study abroad for a semester. However, the reality of the fees and expenses made it seem impossible. Through determination and hard work she was able to raise enough money. Find out how she did it below:
It starts with a dream
For Angelica, spending a semester abroad in Barcelona would be a dream come true. She grew up watching National Geographic and Animal Planet. In 8th grade, she won a Picasso-themed drawing contest. She spent time picturing the colorful mosaics of the parks, plazas and buildings of Barcelona. Last Fall, Angelica attended an information session offered by the Mount San Antonio College Study Abroad office. She could see herself in Barcelona with the Southern California Foothills Consortium on an AIFS Faculty Led program. It would allow her to experience a culture that fascinated her. She could become more independent and build up her self-confidence. Angelica knew that she needed to get creative if she was going to fulfil her dream.
The program fees for a semester in Barcelona were more expensive than living at home and attending community college. Angelica calculated that Financial Aid and savings would cover her fees and tuition. However, she still had doubts. How would she afford the meals not included in the programme fee, independent travel and have enough in case of emergency? That’s when her sister, Priscilla, came to the rescue with an original creative funding idea – selling homemade baked goods!
The baking business
Within the next few days, Angelica worked to set up a website, created business cards and began circulating them around the Mount San Antonio campus. Angelica found that offering products alone was often met with a ‘no’. However, offering a business card with the words ‘Send Angie to Spain’ and a link to her ‘GoFundMe’ page often turned the ‘no’ into a ‘yes’! Cookies, cupcakes, and her sister’s brownies were the most popular orders.
In Angelica’s own words
“At first I was unsure I could afford to go, but once I started reaching out to others, I was surprised by how many people were willing to help me. The whole fund raising experience helped me realize that I was surrounded by so many people who cared for me. I think that if I had not taken the opportunity to start my bake sale, I would not have learned new skills or made use of many of the skills that I just realized I have. I feel empowered to set more goals and reach them.”
Support and encouragement
Angelica raised over $1000 for her study abroad and is proud and grateful for the skills she has gained in the process. She is thankful to her sister for giving her baking business the initial push and teaching her recipes, determination and business and networking skills. Angelica is also appreciative of her Mount San Antonio College adviser, Elizabeth Estevez, who helped set up her ‘Go Fund Me’ account, gave her encouragement and aided her through the application process. Lastly, she is grateful to all her family, friends, and co-workers and Mount San Antonio College students and staff who helped by supporting her and buying her products.
Words of advice
Angelica’s experience in Barcelona was even better than she dreamed. “I got to do so much and [the city] fulfilled every one of my expectations about what Spain would be like. I ate Spanish food like paella, caracoles (snails), sangria. I travelled to other cities in the region and around Spain, like Bilbao and San Sebastian. I saw art, watched people, and rode the metro. I never ran out of things to do.” Her advice to students facing the same challenges would be to “budget, budget, budget. Focus on your goal and plan ahead.”