Adventure and endless possibilities awaited Witte in Spain
Annalee Witte (Senior; Sales & Marketing; Wilkinson, IN) developed in interest to study abroad in college during her first Spanish class of high school. Ever since then she has been fascinated by the language and the culture. Witte explained, "From that moment, I wanted to become fluent in Spanish and visit Spain." With location of choice predetermined, she did some research on the study abroad website, but ultimately it was very simple. There are different types of study abroad programs. She needed an exchange program. In exchange programs, students keep scholarships from Purdue and pay Purdue tuition. Witte said, "Knowing I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country and travel Europe— so that left Spain. There was only one university exchange program that fit all the criteria and gave me a lot of flexibility with my classes. Universidad Carlos III Madrid was the perfect and only fit."
And so, it was off to Madrid. When she arrived on campus Annalee felt the feeling of community right away. "I always felt supported, just like I do at Purdue." The differences in culture were some of the biggest reasons to go abroad, so she looked forward to them. One of the biggest differences was the way classes were taught. In many European countries, continuous assessment is rarely used – unlike the US. This means there is very little homework, quizzes, or exams. Usually, majority of your grade comes from one big exam at the end of the semester. That can be a challenge to adjust to. But for Witte, she enjoyed the freedom that came with that classroom model.
Annalee had already met her Purdue course requirements for graduation and that gave her complete freedom to take the classes she desired abroad – which ended up being almost all journalism classes. Of this Witte said, "This was very different than my Sales and Marketing course load at Purdue. It was interesting for me because I got to experiment with new skills. I wrote much more than usual. I filmed news segments. I discussed the role of the media and online civil society. It was great to try new things and finish up my communications minor."
Like many students that are abroad for a semester, Witte took advantage of the ease of travel by visiting 8 cities in Spain, plus three cities in Portugal and London. The travel was everything she had hoped it would be, calling it "absolutely spectacular." She loved being immersed in the history of Europe, all the beautiful architecture, and vibrant culture. Upon reflection of her experience, Witte continued, "I will always remember the feeling of adventure and endless possibilities that I felt."
Witte concluded, "Out of all my time at Purdue, I value this past semester (abroad) the most. I highly encourage everyone to do a semester abroad. It is unlike anything else you'll ever do."