Alumni Spotlight: Erin Weinert

Why did you study abroad with API in Madrid?

Erin: When I made the decision to study abroad I began researching and comparing different independent companies I could go through. I requested catalogs from various study abroad organizations and the obvious time and effort put into the API catalogs blew me away and immediately made the company stand out. As I researched more and more, I found that API doesn’t only put extreme effort into their catalogs but into every meticulous detail of their programs they offer.

Throughout the application process, the staff at the API office was always enthusiastically willing to help. It was effortless to contact them because even if I didn’t have the opportunity to call or email, I could easily have my questions addressed on their Facebook or other social media pages.

Once it came time for me to make my decision, the choice was clear: API offered more than any other program. API not only covered the basics (housing, tuition, meals) but included things that hadn’t even occurred to me such as airport reception, cultural activities in Madrid and excursions to other sites and more! Before I left to study abroad, I knew without a doubt that I would be in good hands with API (and so did my parents, which was just as important!).

Erin visiting Lisbon, Portugal

What made studying abroad a unique and special experience?

Erin: Can I say everything? Everything! Although, I don’t think there are enough hours in the day to say everything, so I’ll try to narrow it down. The people I met while abroad made my experience what it was. The very first person I encountered in Madrid was my API resident director Quique, who went from being my onsite counselor to a close friend that I am still in contact with today and hope to visit in the near future.

Beyond that, the friends I made became family through experiences like getting lost in the Louvre Museum in Paris, eating very new foods in Morocco, and sharing so much laughter over tapas in Madrid. These friends have become an extremely important part of my life and have helped shape who I am today.

Beyond the invaluable friendships I made, I discovered more about myself while abroad then I thought possible. One example would be that I uncovered a hidden love for food and cooking while tasting foods from all around the world. This love revealed itself in my first plate of tapas when the gooey cheese and ham “croqueta” melted my heart. That love for new foods and cuisines was just one of the many aspects of my time abroad that I brought back with me.

Erin with other API students and resident directors Quique and Maria

How has this experience impacted your future?

Erin: Studying abroad is certainly about the education you obtain and the sightseeing and the friendships and everything else you have the opportunity to experience while abroad, but it is also about the deep personal changes one goes through. I found that the more I explored different cultures, the more I realized how little I actually knew about the world and how much I still had to discover, not only about the world, but about myself.

I found that I have become more open-minded and more willing to adapt to new situations. I overcame fears and accomplished more dreams than I knew possible. All of this has led to a motivation to continue on the same path-to keep discovering and exploring. My future is now full of endless possibilities.