At first when I was thinking about this question, I didn’t feel as though there had been any specific realizations or experiences brought on during this semester abroad which have affected my academic or professional roles. I still feel fairly undecided about where I see myself heading after college, but I will come away from my time in Argentina with some insight on that. For example, one of the things that drew me to my study abroad program was that they offered an internship with a non-profit organization. The people that I worked with were wonderful and did great things, but the experience was not exactly what I had hoped for. Coming out of that reinforced that to work in such an environment is difficult and takes a lot of dedication, but can be so much more rewarding because of that, something I have observed working with other non-profits before. Furthermore, being a part of the Gilman community has opened up other opportunities for me here. In October, a group of us visited the Fulbright Commission in Buenos Aires and got to learn about the various programs that Fulbright offers for students to do research abroad, which is something that I had not known much about and now very much interests me.
However, I think even past the specific things such as those, what will be even more valuable to me in my future academic and professional endeavors will be the skills I take away from my abroad experience. My ability to speak Spanish aside, it’s perseverance, self-reliance, creative problem solving, self-confidence, being able to step out of my comfort zone – all things that I have learned and adopted even unknowingly, just by making my way in a foreign city every day. I might not make it back to America with a newly enlightened vision of my life plan, but indeed, having those sorts of qualities under my belt will help me in the long run to be the best I can be with whatever I end up doing.