Michael Borrelli, ’15, in Spain


In the fall of 2013, I was lucky enough to be able to spend four semesters in Madrid, Spain studying at Saint Louis University’s satellite campus. As an IB and Spanish double major, this provided the perfect opportunity for me to enhance my conversational Spanish while learning about one of the European Union’s largest economic hubs. Studying abroad often comes with the connotation of an extended “vacation” and while the opportunity to see the world is amazing, living in another country is so much more than a vacation. As far as living arrangements, the students in our programed participated in the homestay program where we were placed with host families. I was placed with a welcoming host mother who helped me to understand more than just the Spanish language, but the Spanish culture as well. My study abroad experience has impacted my IB career at SJU by putting things into perspective for me. In class, we constantly talk about overcoming cultural and language barriers with business associates abroad but the firsthand experience of living and interacting in a foreign country is truly irreplaceable. It is so easy to talk about theories in the confined setting of the classroom, but the full on immersion into a foreign culture is an experience unlike any other. While the thought of living abroad for four to five months is a little scary at first, however the experience is absolutely essential for IB majors and I would recommend a semester abroad to anyone who has the ability to fit it into their schedule. You won’t regret it!