Studies at Ferrum: Major in Recreation Leadership and minors in Ecotourism and Environmental Science
Study Away: Semester in Chile
Currently: Intern at Colorado State University
¡Hola a todos! My name is Audrey Ramsey and I graduated from Ferrum in 2018 with a major in Recreation Leadership and minors in Ecotourism and Environmental Science. My first ‘study abroad’ experience at Ferrum was my E-Term that I took after my freshman year. I did the Tropical and Marine Ecology E-Term which brought us to the Virgin Islands with Dr. Pohlad and Dr. Thomas to do independent projects on different subjects in the lands and waters of the islands. Not only did I have the time of my life and learn so much about Marine Ecology, but it also sparked my interest in Environmental Science as a whole and made me pick up my minor in Environmental Science.
My second study abroad experience was my semester abroad studying ecotourism at DUOC UC in Valparaiso, Chile. I did this semester abroad the fall of my senior year and I cannot think of a better way to wrap up my studies at Ferrum. Having traveled my whole life in and out of the country as well as living overseas when I was very young, I have developed quite the travel bug. I had traveled with my family, with friends, and even alone before with no fear. Having said that, I could not have been more terrified and excited to do this semester abroad. There is a big difference between just traveling alone for a month or so and going to live in another country, a Spanish speaking one at that, for almost six months. I had studied Spanish at Ferrum for three years before that but was still was not the most confident of a speaker. After my semester in Chile I became so much more confident with my Spanish which was such an amazing feeling and incredibly useful too.
Studying abroad was such an unforgettable experience because it is so different being a student in another country rather than just a traveler. You really get to experience the culture and the way that people live there as well as become part of the community. My classmates were so incredibly welcoming, genuinely helpful and excited that I was there that I instantly felt at home. Also, not only do you get to connect with the people from the country you go to, but you have the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world when you are part of an exchange program. I had people in my exchange student group from Spain, Mexico, Belgium and Germany. I now have friends in all of those countries along with my ‘Chilenos’ that I hope to be reunited with again someday.
This study abroad experience opened my horizons and truly, as you’ll hear most other study abroad students say, changed my life. Because of this experience with studying ecotourism in Chile and improving my Spanish, I am now doing an internship working with Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management’s summer course for Latin Americans about managing protected areas. Once I finish that, I am looking to find a job somewhere in Latin America to continue gaining experience in my field and in Spanish. After that, possibly Peace Corps! So, if you have the opportunity to study abroad, don’t be afraid, DO IT! It could end up being one of the best decisions you ever made, and one of the best experiences you’ve ever had. I know mine was!