Alumni Spotlight: Katie McMullen

Katie McMullen is from Media, PA. She studied abroad at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain for the academic year of 2011-12. She is currently at the University of Pittsburgh studying Spanish & Business. She loves traveling, volunteering, cooking, and being a coffee connoisseur.

API Spain alumni

Why did you decide to study with API?

Katie: I studied abroad with API in Granada, Spain for the academic year of 2011-2012. The best way to describe it is a medium city with a small town feel. Like a city, there is enough hustle and bustle to always find something new to do. On the flip side, it’s manageable enough that you can run into your friends on the street or become locals at your favorite tapas bar. Granada has a unique blend of both Spanish and Moorish culture. It’s also a city where you can immerse yourself in the language because everyone will speak Spanish to you. Granada is also a big university town so it’s easy to make new friends, both locals and foreigners. Everyone I met was so nice. They were always patient and willing to help me with my Spanish (which was always appreciated!). It was a city with the best of all worlds!

What made this experience unique and special?

Katie: Out of all the programs that I looked at, API impressed me the most with how dynamic of a program it was. API offers so many different services throughout the entire study abroad experience. They offer a range of cultural activities including language exchanges and trips, as well as academic help. Their staff was incredible during pre-departure, on-site in Granada, and after returning home as well. Studying with API feels like you become part of a big, loving family. The opportunities for API alumni are plentiful ranging from photo contests to becoming an API peer mentor. All of these things helped me decide that API was the right program for me.

Granada soccer game

What made this experience unique and special?

Katie: This study abroad experience was unique and special in a large part due to API. Their mentality is not just providing a singular study abroad experience but rather a life-long one. Through API, I took cooking lessons, saw Spanish movies at the local movie theatre, and met locals through language exchanges. API also offered different opportunities to volunteer in the community. I decided to take advantage of this and I became an assistant teacher in Natural and Social Science at a local school, Colegio Caja Granada. All these little things made my experience so special because it helped me feel more like a local instead of just a student studying abroad.

My study abroad experience in Granada completely changed my future. Before landing in Granada, I had thought about post-graduation plans that included some travel and an international business job. After volunteering as a teacher and being introduced to some of the ins and outs of an incredible study abroad company, I discovered that I am passionate about international education. Now, I will be attending the University of Alcalá in Madrid in the fall on a scholarship to receive my Masters in International Education. At the same time, I will be interning as a teacher at a local school in Madrid. After receiving my Masters, I hope to continue teaching English in Spain for a few years before working for a study abroad company. API helped me realize that it was possible to turn what I loved about study abroad into a career in the field of international education.