Alumni Spotlight: Federika Garcia Muchacho


Federika Garcia Muchacho is a 21 years old, female student from Venezuela studying nutrition and dietetics at Simmons College, Boston MA. She attended the Vienna Psychology Summer 2014 program and the Health and Community Development 2013 program in Cape Town South Africa.

Why did you decide to go abroad with your provider?

Federika: While researching for study abroad programs and providers around the world I found IES.

Their webpage was easy enough to find information, they had compelling descriptions of their programs, multiple locations as well as opportunities for students in health and science fields.

Furthermore, the application was not overwhelming at all and the help I received from the advisors at IES throughout the application process was incredible.

My first study abroad was in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013 and the experience was extraordinary. IES made my travel seem like a breeze, the program was completely organized, the classes interesting, and the field work experience the best I have had so far.

This past Summer 2014 I wanted to go abroad once again and did not hesitated when applying for another program of IES. My experience in Vienna, Austria was again incredible. I would definitely go again!

Did you forget to pack something important? Did you feel as if you were missing something?

Federika: I definitely wish I had packed winter weather clothes. For both of my trips I packed clothes that were mostly summery and only a few for cold weather. I definitely did not prepare enough for cold temperatures.

I wish I had taken more sweaters, a pair of boots, a good winter jacket (I went in winter time to South Africa and the temperatures can get a bit low), and most important of all a rain jacket!!

It did rain a few times while in South Africa and Vienna, and the wind in Vienna was so strong while it was raining that an umbrella was useless. Moreover, my tennis shoes were constantly wet because I had not brought a a pair of rain boots.

If you could do-over one thing what could have been?

Federika: I would have loved to have gone abroad for a full semester instead of only a Summer. There is so much to see, learn, and experience that a month and a half was not enough time to do everything!

Both programs I attended were so interesting and I was in two places completely different that I wish I had stayed longer in order to truly experience the culture, meet the locals, travel more, and fully learn another language. Nonetheless, going abroad for almost two months was a great experience that I do not regret and I would love to do it again!

How has this experience impacted your future?

Federika: Personally, traveling and studying abroad allowed me to discover myself. In both trips I went without knowing anyone and traveled to two completely different places. Because of that, I learned how to get away of my comfort zone, network, meet and interact with new people of different backgrounds, majors, experiences, and interests.

Academically, it was a great challenge to take classes outside of my school with professors I had not met and that had different teaching and grading methods than the ones I was used to.

Professionally, studying abroad has changed my short and long term goals. I now see more than ever the importance of travel and study abroad. It taught me about cultures, beliefs, traditions, and practices different than my own, allowing me to change my perspectives, beliefs, and stereotypes about other people and countries.