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Meet Andy Paris

Program and Location:

Spring, Universidad de Las Américas Puebla; Puebla, Mexico


Biological Engineering, Spanish, Feed Milling Minor

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because I knew that I wanted a unique opportunity to grow more independent both in my way of thinking and in how I live my life. I knew that there would be some growth in understanding the uniqueness of my own thought process by taking a semester in a place so different from anything I’ve ever known. I also knew as a Spanish major that it would be more efficient for me to learn Spanish from native speakers.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am far more adventurous than I once thought. I was able to explore some of the coolest corners of the entire city of Puebla as well as around the university in Cholula. I also learned that I’m far better at inferring the right conjugations and words in Spanish than I thought before. I was able to carry on some more detailed conversations towards the end of my semester.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

One of my favorite parts was the amiability and transparency of the study abroad office at UDLAP. The first week of orientation, they made it extremely clear that they would be available any moment to help with anything from paperwork to class difficulties. They also planned a field trip for the international students where they took us to some of the most popular places in Puebla. There were a few events throughout the semester also held by the office. My favorite was the global rally, in which students from each international country present certain facts about their culture to the incoming Mexican students.

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

Do not let your preconceived notions of a country or its culture limit you to what you do when you get there. There are a multitude of open doors and opportunities that could be extremely beneficial for you to participate in and bring that knowledge back to NC State. Keep an open mind not only about what program you choose, but especially about the extracurriculars that come with any program.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

I believe there was a lot more variety of choice in the process, and the classes went into much greater depth in terms of jargon than I may have ever explored if I had taken the classes at NC State. For example, I took an art history course, and we learned about the Academia de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and different periods and artists in Mexico. I took a field trip for my anthropology class in which we went to Chalcatzingo, an archaeological site renowned for its early stone carvings. This was a wonderful opportunity to see in real life the cultures of the people we had learned about in class.

Would you do it again?

For sure