Take a look back at this interview with former Peer Advisor Rachel Murphy as she prepared to fly out of the nest and on to her next international adventure.
Interview Date: April 15, 2020
What’s your name?
- Rachel Murphy
What’s your major? Do you have any minors?
- Community Development & Spanish double major
What program did you go on? Why?
- I chose the Temple in Spain program mainly to become fluent in Spanish. I learned about this program when I first visited Temple, and it definitely influenced my decision to attend. I knew I wanted to go on a program with other Temple students and have my credits transfer easily. I also knew that the language immersion and homestay would help me greatly. I was able to finish my Spanish major and go to Europe for the first time, which was very exciting!
Did you have any experience abroad before this program?
- Yes, I did the Youth Ambassador Program to South America (YAPSA) in high school. It was a 21-day service learning and cultural exchange program funded by the U.S. Dept of State. We spent 10 days in Cochabamba, Bolivia and 10 days in Cusco, Peru with host families learning about the culture of the areas, meeting with different service-oriented organizations, and doing some sightseeing.
What’s your favorite memory from study abroad?
- I have so many good memories from my semester in Spain! One of them is visiting the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía during our orientation week in Madrid to see the painting “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso. I had studied it in a Spanish class back in high school and finally got to see it in person! (Side note, it’s huge! 11’x25’) In that moment I was very proud, thinking back to my high school self and recognizing that I had come so far as a person (I was actually studying in Spain!) and how much I had grown in my language capabilities.
What’s the most important thing you learned from this program, be it personal or academic growth?
- I learned sooo much Spanish! I spent my meals with my host mom, Carmen, either speaking with her or watching Spanish TV. All of my classes were completely taught in Spanish, and I communicated with my classmates in our shared second (or third) language. I made friends with people in the student organizations and we met up for coffee and stumbled over words and verb tenses together. I even attended workout classes that were taught in Spanish!
What are you doing after graduation?
- I will be pursuing a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Canary Islands, Spain come January, barring any COVID-19 complications. It will be a shortened placement, only January to June, but I am still very excited for the opportunity! If I decide to stay, I can apply to the Ministry of Spain for another placement the following year.
How did your time studying abroad impact your post-grad plans?
- I wouldn’t have considered moving to a different country for an entire year if I hadn’t done a semester abroad first. Learning a language makes me appreciate the teachers that I’ve had along the years and makes me excited to start working with others as they learn English!
Any advice for current Temple students who want to go abroad?
- If you’re concerned about finances, we have scholarships and resources to help you apply for them. If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to find a program to fit your academic needs, we have plenty of options. The point is, our office is here to help answer your questions and concerns! We want you to have an experience that not only engages you academically but helps you to grow as a person.
Where is Rachel now?
Teaching English in Spain! Find out how Rachel’s experience is going so far, and how study abroad prepared her for success. Friday, April 16, 2021 at 12pm ET.