We caught up with recent AIFS alum, Ryan Danaher, who spent this past Spring semester studying abroad in the beautiful and historical Salamanca, Spain. Check out what he had to say about his experience, the life-altering friendships he made, and how he’s the envy of all his friends back home who decided not to study abroad.
How has your study abroad experience impacted your educational goals and career?
Studying abroad impacted my life in an extremely positive way regarding my education and career goals. Before I went to Spain, I was unsure of what I wanted to do in life. After spending four months there and traveling around Europe, I realized that working international was exactly what I was looking for. The experiences of meeting new people and a new culture is truly amazing and not something you can find everyday.
How has your study abroad experience impacted other areas of your life?
Study abroad impacted my life in so many ways, all extremely positive. I was independent enough before going to Spain — just as much as any college junior — but once I returned from Spain, I felt as if there was nothing I can’t do now. Problem-solving is second nature. I don’t even notice minor “bumps in the road” to say, I just move right past them with ease.
Have you been back to your study abroad location since your time abroad?
I haven’t been back to Salamanca yet, but I would like to. I expect it to be happy and nostalgic, walking the streets and seeing the things I saw while I lived through such an amazing experience.
Are you still in contact with other students or anyone you met during your time abroad?
Yes. I have friends from all over Europe and America that I still hear from regularly. Study abroad friends are like no other — you experience some amazing things together, be it good or bad, so that forms quite the bond.
Are there any activities or traditions from your time abroad that you have continued back in the US?
I was never much of a coffee drinker in the US but after living in Spain I love some café con leche whenever I can make it. Also the laid back lifestyle of Spain… I have fully committed to that lifestyle back here in the US.
What are your top destinations for future travel?
Any advice for students who are considering studying abroad?
The only advice I can give is GO. Studying abroad will be the coolest semester you have in college. Go abroad because if you don’t you’ll regret it forever. All my friends who didn’t go say everyday how they wished they had went. College isn’t complete without going abroad — the classroom can only teach you so much. Get out and see the world.
Any advice for recently returned study abroad students?
Stay in touch with your friends from abroad, look at pictures, and know that this is only the beginning of your journeys. The memories you make studying abroad are something you’ll never forget.