I never was able to take part in an exchange program when I attended the University of Oregon, so when my daughter told us she wanted to participate in one before graduating from the UO, we were completely supportive. Recently, she fulfilled her goal, returning home after two months of studying at the university in Querétaro, Mexico.
I am amazed at how the international experience had such a profound impact on my daughter. As I expected, her language broadened while being fully immersed in the unfamiliar culture. In fact, she told me her head hurt at the end of each day because very few people spoke English. Her vocabulary was stretched while having to speak Spanish in order to navigate even simple daily tasks.
What I didn’t expect, though, was how studying abroad would impact so many other areas of my daughter’s life.
- Her connection and attention to the bigger world around us has become much more important.
- Her view and focus has been greatly expanded, as she learned about our culture through the lenses of people from another country.
- She made new friends in Mexico and heard about their unique experiences as young adults.
My daughter’s trip was clearly transformational in her personal development.
As the UO Communications team strives to find more ways to tell the complete story of the University of Oregon, and how attending here changes students, life-transforming experiences like this have to be part of the story. I see what it did for my daughter and can only hope that all of our students have the opportunity to participate in studying abroad.
If you took part in a University of Oregon exchange program, I’d like to hear about it!