Why did you decide to study abroad with IES Abroad in Barcelona?
Harini: I had taken a short two week trip to Spain when I was in high school and I loved it! After coming to college, I knew that I wanted to go back and really experience the culture more. Luckily there was an internship program available in Barcelona for the summer. I had not been to Barcelona and thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to experience a different part of Spain. I was also able to get an internship in psychiatry, which I learned a great deal from and really enjoyed.
I chose to study abroad with IES because the staff and people that I spoke to were very accommodating. IES offered me a program that I couldn't resist and it incorporated every aspect of study abroad that I wanted. Aside from just experiencing the culture, I really wanted to do something educational and work, which is exactly what I got.
IES abroad really challenged me academically but also provided adequate support when needed. I felt very comfortable with IES. IES Abroad was also the recommended study abroad group from my University. I had also heard a lot of great things about IES from other students who had studied abroad through them. The staff and personnel is very helpful and understanding.
What made this experience unique and special?
Harini: There were many aspects to my study abroad experience that made it special, but I would say that my internship was the best part. Although I had to commute quite a bit to and from the internship, I gained a lot of experience and was able to see how healthcare in another country works. The atmosphere was very laid back yet productive. My advisor was great and really let me take the reigns on projects and even let me sit in on clinical meetings.
Outside of my internship, I really enjoyed sightseeing and traveling around Barcelona with the wonderful people that I had met while abroad. The art and architecture of the area is incredible and taking tours of places like La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell really provide perspective of the history and beauty of Spain. Experiencing Barcelona is one thing as a tourist and another as a local. After a few weeks there, I really felt like I belonged. Taking the metro anywhere I needed to go and walking the streets like a local was great. I got to experience wonderful food and company and took my experience to its full advantage.
It is hard to pinpoint exact moments that made my time abroad special and unique because the entire experience of being abroad is incredible. I loved having the freedom of living on my own but also the structure of my class and internship schedule. I would recommend this program to anyone.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Harini: My experience abroad has furthered my interest in pursuing psychiatry. Although I am a psychology major, I did not really have hands on experience with psychology/psychiatry until my internship in Barcelona. Working with my advisor on a variety of projects gave light to an entirely new topic in transcultural psychiatry, which was the speciality of the office that I was interning in. I was asked to do research on Global mental health, which led to an entire article. I wrote drafts of the article while I was still abroad and continued when I got home.
Currently, my advisor is working on the edits to the article on Global Mental Health and Transcultural Psychiatry. I will then complete a final draft of the article so that it can be submitted for publication. This experience has really impacted my academic goals and has allowed me to gain recognition with prominent staff at my University. It has also really reassured my desire to go to medical school and hopefully pursue Psychiatry.
On a personal level, my experience abroad made me feel accomplished and that I was able to contribute back to the community in Barcelona in a greater way. Spending two months in Spain has also made me realize how much I enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures. In the future, I would like to travel to a variety of countries and see what they have to offer.