Apply for Summer 2015 Study Abroad before February 15!

Feature Story - Gibea Besana

Applications for summer 2010170998_10152539506585020_6927977313572516061_n15 are being accepted on a rolling basis until programs fill or until February 15, 2015. Gibea Besana (pictured) studied in Sao Paulo, Brazil in summer 2014 where she continued her education as a International Studies major. We recently caught up with Gibea to see what she’s been up too and hear about her experiences while studying in South America!

 

 

Personally, what was your unique learning opportunity studying abroad and how did it connect to your studies?
I studied abroad in Sao Paulo, Brazil this summer during the World Cup through ISEP. I am an international studies major, so it opened my eyes to how large companies such as FIFA work with host countries. During my time in Sao Paulo, I stayed with a Brazilian family, who was kind enough to share with me their rich culture, cuisine, and perceptions about the United States. This was important for me because I had the opportunity to view life through the lens of someone who is different from me. I gained so much appreciation of their background, values, and as well as the role of soccer in Brazil.
In addition, my program was set up so we had classes 4 times a week and a field trip once a week. The majority of the time, I was in an intensive Portuguese language and history class. The field trips gave me a chance to explore the city, interact with locals, and build new friendships. I was able to learn samba and capoeira , cook a tradition dish, explore the market, make jewelry, and engage in the history of soccer.
Did you gain unique experiences that might help to benefit your career?
The intensive Portuguese class that I took is definitely going to benefit me in my future career. As an international studies major, speaking different languages is very important in order to reach out to other countries and create relations. Having Portuguese speaking skills also allows me to learn Spanish easier and quicker.
This whole experience alone made me more open minded, especially in interacting with people. With international relations, I have to be aware of the different issues around the world and how different perspectives shape opinions. Brazil was portrayed very differently while I was in the US compared to while I was actually there. It made me realize the tremendous power of media. In relation to my future career, I will always keep in mind that there are different sides to any situation, and I must be prepared to find the balance and to not lose my own voice.
What kind of advice would you give to other students who are thinking about studying abroad?
It will be one of the best decisions that you will ever make during college. It’s one thing to learn about cultures and languages in a class room and it is a completely different situation when you study abroad. Studying abroad is one of the best ways to expand your horizons. It can be scary at first, but once you reach your destination, it becomes hard to leave. Get out of your comfort zone and learn from new perspectives!
I also know that financial issues can be hurdles to studying abroad. My biggest advice is to apply to as many scholarships as much as possible. I was lucky enough to have received both the NCSU Study Abroad Scholarship as well as the Gilman International Scholarship. I am beyond thankful for these scholarships because they have made this opportunity a reality for me. Reach out to friends and family and emphasize the value of studying abroad and how your experiences will benefit you in the future and the assets that you will bring to your host country.