Spain Study Abroad Program

Hello, my name is Kathryn Ross and I am a rising junior at the University of Central Florida. You can ask anyone who knows me and they would tell you, without a doubt, that I am insanely passionate about Spanish!

Beginning my senior year of high school, I was enrolled in an AP (Advanced Placement) Spanish class. A class that normally would be filled with eager Americans trying to learn a new language was dominated by natives; some students were more proficient in Spanish yet took the class as an easy "A". Consequently, I was one of four "Gringas" or Americans in the class. That was my very first taste of immersion and I fell in love with both Spanish language and culture. The food, the dances, the music and the excitement were so colorful and expressive. I felt more Hispanic than I did Jamaican, which is my own cultural background. After I finished the class and passed the AP test with a 4 out of 5, I tried my best to immerse myself as much as possible. In college I decided to major in Spanish. I listen to Spanish radio and watch the popular "Telenovelas". I speak the language to Hispanics wherever I go, even if they know English! Recently, I have joined a Hispanic church whose sermon is completely in (you guessed it) Spanish. All of this helps to greatly improve my communication and comprehension but it's not enough! I feel that the only thing that will push me over the threshold is to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.

Along with my Spanish major, I also major in Psychology and am in the process of completing a Leadership certificate. So far my experience at the University of Central Florida has been quite rewarding. Starting out my freshman year, I was accepted into the LEARN program (Learning Environment Academic Research Network). For that entire academic year, I worked in a Marine Biology lab. One of the leading graduate faculty members mentored me while I completed a research proposal on conservation. Subsequently, I participated in Purdue University's SROP (Summer Research Opportunity Program). I was one of two freshman students accepted! I continue involvement in research as a behavior analyst intern at a school for autistic children. Also, I am involved in the Multicultural Student Center's leadership committee and the Caribbean Student Association. With all this on my plate I have managed to keep a 3.4 GPA! I love my university but I know there is more life to experience out there.

I had always planned to study abroad my junior year so I was both excited and relieved when I applied to UCF's Study Abroad Program at the University of Alcalá (links to the website will be provided below) for the fall 2014 semester, September 2nd through December 20th. Obtaining Spanish fluency is one of my major goals in life and I can't think of a better place to learn than from the language's origin. Alcalá de Henares, Spain is a safe college town 30km from Madrid. Miguel de Cervantes, a Spanish poet, novelist and playwright, grew up there and I'm sure would contend that it fostered his creativity and artistic style. With this being said, the University is grounded in a long history of Spanish literary tradition dating back to its founding in 1499. This Unique semester-long study abroad program, includes a stay with a host family, meals, four upper-level Spanish courses and incredible exposure to the history, language and culture of Spain. Deciding to participate in the Spain exchange program and fulfill my dream of Spanish language acquisition brings me great joy! One thing that will complicate this exciting journey is the financial strain on my family and me to support such a large venture. The expected study abroad expenses for this educational exchange, provided by the University of Central Florida study abroad website, are Approximately $1,000 dollars in airfare and $8,290.58 dollars in tuition, housing and meals. I would appreciate any donation, no matter how small, to help supplement the costs of travel and living expenses. Please help turn my dream into a reality!


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Kathryn Ross 
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