Purdue Promise Student Finds Global Leadership in Spain
Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication
Adrianna Dague (Sophomore; Agribusiness Management; Kewanna, IN) is a Purdue Promise student and with that comes the opportunity to apply and interview for a Spain study abroad trip through the program. She made a spur-of-the-moment decision to apply and was honored to be chosen as one of 20 students to travel with three Purdue Promise staff members. She had the chance to meet the other students prior to going on the trip and she said, “little did I know how much those 19 people would impact my time on this trip and after.”
Their first stop was Madrid where they spent two days touring castles, museums, and the city. Next, they traveled to Toledo. “It was the epitome of what I picture when I hear the word Spain.” Common sights included cobblestone streets and stone buildings. From Toledo they headed to their main location, Valencia, located along the coast. This is where they met their home stays, which are the families that they would be living with for two weeks. Adrianna was nervous that her family would not speak any English and her homestay mom in fact could not speak English. That was hard in the beginning days to adjust, but Adrianna’s awesome “sister” Anna acted as a translator between the two of them, helping Adrianna feel at home and part of the conversation.
In Valencia, the group attended class every day, participated in service learning projects with different aspects of the community, made hand puppets for children in a halfway home, and collected home supplies for a homeless shelter. Their classes included various topics including Spanish culture and economics of Spain. One day the group took the tram to a traditional Spanish farm where they still used donkeys to cultivate fields. The students had the chance to help make their own paella, a traditional Spanish dish, while at the farm.
One interesting piece of history Adrianna learned while abroad is that there was a giant river that used to run through Valencia; however, it dried up many years ago and it has since been transformed into a beautiful park that winds its way through the city.
Through this global leadership study abroad trip, Adrianna found that adapting to life is very important. The language barrier that she faced was not an easy obstacle, but she gained so much respect for others and their cultures through it. “I could have stayed miserable in my homestay family, but I chose to make the best of it and I turned out loving that part the most throughout this whole trip.”
Adrianna encourages AGEC students to consider studying abroad, even if it is a spur-of-the-moment decision like hers was. “It is so easy and relatively affordable to travel while in college, take advantage of it! You will learn and grow so much more than you could ever imagine.”