Margo Maliwat is an ISA Seville alumna and an ISA/TEAN Global Ambassador at the University of South Florida whose semester abroad in Spain during Fall 2021 offered her many opportunities for academic and professional development and brought her closer to her passion of the Spanish language!
Read her story to hear how her program in Spain changed her life and get her advice for how to maximize your time abroad!
One of the first steps to study abroad is deciding where you want to go. It can seem daunting since the experiences you’ll have will depend on where you go, and there are so many wonderful places to explore in the world that it’s hard to just settle on one. Some people are just drawn to a place for some reason – like a personal connection they want to explore or an inexplicable interest; or maybe it’s because they have no other choice, and they’d rather study abroad somewhere than nowhere at all. Regardless, there is a reason why we end up studying abroad in that specific place.
For me, there were many reasons why I ended up in Seville, Spain; it was a combination of personal and logistic factors. But it really wasn’t because of the delicious food, the rich history, or the vibrant culture that solidified my decision to study in this city. Nor was it because I could practice my Spanish skills or because of COVID restrictions at the time. No, what really drew me to Seville, Spain was the opportunity to develop myself professionally as an English language educator.
The moment I saw ISA’s Education in a Multicultural Context + Teaching Practice program I knew it was the best program for me. After a rough first year of university during a pandemic, I had to switch majors and do some major soul-searching because I had no idea what I really wanted to do in life. Did I really want to work in the medical field? No, but what did I want to do? I liked Spanish, and I wanted to continue taking classes in university, but could I make a career out of my passion for the language if I decided to major in it? It took a lot of job research and self-reflection, but I finally decided that yes, I love Spanish enough to pursue a career related to it. Studying abroad and completing an education internship with ISA was a perfect first experience in working in the field of international education.
Academics and career/professional development isn’t the priority for most people (if anyone at all) when they study abroad, but it should be kept in mind that there are so, so, so many opportunities to make connections and gain and further develop career-specific or general professional skills while abroad – especially through ISA’s programs. Just imagine how great it looks to have an international internship on your resume or LinkedIn and how beneficial it is to establish meaningful relationships with the ISA staff (who are extremely supportive) and their internship partners. It is also through these connections and experiences that we can continue to expand our understanding of the world by experiencing different educational and work cultures.
That said, my teaching internship with ISA was extremely rewarding. I loved the kids I worked with, and I still have the cards and drawings they gave me on my last day taped to the wall in front of my desk. It’s what keeps me going when I’m so stressed with school that I debate on dropping out (not that I ever seriously consider it haha). And, as I finish up my last semester in university and start my English education assistantship with the Fulbright in Spain this September, I will remember what I learned during my internship to use in my future endeavors.
Inspired by Margo’s journey and want to discover your own while immersing yourself in a study abroad program? Fill out your details below to let our team know and we’ll help you find your adventure today!