Alumni Spotlight: Claire Shrader


Claire is a senior Spanish major at Mississippi College. She is passionate about the Spanish language, disability advocacy, and writing.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose CAPA because of its unique internship opportunity. Many of the study abroad opportunities I found prior to CAPA only offered courses, and I really wanted to take my Spanish to the next level, in a way that only spending every day in a Spanish-speaking environment could do. I also chose it because of its program in Argentina.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CAPA did all of the legwork of finding an internship in the field I was interested in (disability non-profit), and matched me with an incredible organization, set up the interview, etc. They also guided me through pre-departure steps and the VISA application once I was there. I was responsible for booking my flight, following the VISA instructions they gave me, etc.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would advise anyone going abroad to really get involved in their local community; don't be afraid to speak to native speakers! My volunteer work and involvement in the community was what really made my time in Buenos Aires, and also what gave me the ability to communicate so effectively--I literally got to practice speaking Spanish all day everyday! I promise, if you reach out, you will be met with open arms.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

If you do the 20 hours/week internship + classes, you will probably have three courses on top of your 20 hours/week internship. The internships are really flexible with your class hours, though, so I always had a lot of free time to explore the city! Typically, I had internship all day Monday and Wednesday with a Wednesday night class, one class Thursday morning and internship in the afternoon, Tuesday free for exploring, and Friday mostly free, with just one morning class. It gave me a lot of free time, while also filling my days with meaningful work.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I think my biggest fear was that my language ability wouldn't be sufficient for the internship. As my time went on in Buenos Aires, though, I learned and improved SO MUCH, and found that the people really were incredibly kind and encouraging to me, even with the limitations of my language ability. I encourage you: keep talking!

What was your favorite food while abroad?

Honestly, I already knew what my favorite food was going into my semester in Buenos Aires, and it didn't change: empanadas. I did learn to also take advantage of what a global city BA is, though, also enjoying sushi, schwarma, and other international foods.