Student Spotlight: Claire Walczyk

Female student in garden holding an orange

Environmental Sciences and Business Administration double major Claire Walczyk spent her spring semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, learning more than just Spanish and Spanish culture. Pushing herself to explore the world beyond her comfort zone, her immersion experience truly impacted her time at NC State. Now that she’s back on campus, she has joined the Leadership Council at the Cultural Exchange Network, a student group that helps international students when they study at NC State. As part of the council, she plans and leads volunteer work, cultural, social and educational activities for students. “I love my time speaking to international students at home as it creates an environment where I can continue to learn about other cultures,” she said. Check out Walczyk’s own international experience supported by the CNR Student Assistance and Enrichment Fund.

How has studying abroad impacted you?

Studying Abroad has been one of the most influential experiences in my life. I have grown to become an independent person, learned I can be successful on my own without always relying on others and learned not to stress about small things in life because in the bigger picture, everything will work out.

What did you enjoy most about your experience?

I really enjoyed the chance to travel and learn about different cultures. I loved being challenged in a fun way every single day. Every day I had to have new conversations, go new places, and it really challenged me but I also had a lot of fun in the process.

What did you learn about yourself during your experience?

I learned a lot about myself throughout studying abroad, most importantly I learned that I can do what I set my mind to. I went to another country that I haven’t spoken the language in 3 years and was able to stand on my own, make friends, budget, take classes, and live life! Studying abroad has made me much more confident.

Would you recommend this experience to other students?

I would strongly recommend this experience to every other student. It is so important to experience other cultures and learn how the world works outside of the U.S. I can also assure every student that they will grow as a person in ways that they didn’t even realize they needed to grow.

Other hands-on experiences?

Yes, I completed an internship last summer and fall with Self-Help Credit Union. This was an amazing opportunity that was incredibly important for me to learn first-hand how businesses apply environmental standards and try to become more environmentally friendly. It showed me what was feasible and practical for all corporations to do from an environmental standpoint.