blog posts How Study Abroad Prepared Me For Med School May 9, 2019 2:15 pm by James ZurawskiSpanishEducationGlobal StudiesSpain/Latin America Images In the Fall 2017, Arnold Oparanozie, a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Global Studies with a minor in Chemistry, studied at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain to work on his Spanish language skills. In fact, it was his Spanish skills that Arnold was most nervous about prior to his departure. However, Arnold had volunteered at an off-campus health clinic in order to practice his Spanish with some of the patients who did not speak English. Through his time at the health clinic, Arnold began to feel much more confident in himself and excited for what awaited him in Spain. During the first few weeks of his program, Arnold got familiar with Barcelona by walking around the city and speaking Spanish with the locals at cafés and food markets. Staying in his host university’s dormitory allowed Arnold to meet many of the local students and other exchange students from around the world, such as Australia, Italy, and Morocco. While abroad, Arnold travelled throughout Spain, from the Basque Country to the city of Zaragoza. His favorite destination, though, was Bilbao for its beautiful scenery. In Bilbao, Arnold saw breathtaking waterfalls, the snowcapped mountains, and the sandy coastline, which was even used as a Game of Thrones filming location! Arnold emphasizes to students studying abroad to spend time travelling around their host country, rather than traveling to other countries. “You can be a tourist any other time in your life, so take the time to really know the country you are studying in. Being in a location for only a few days does not give you the same appreciation.” Arnold said one of the hardest things about studying abroad was being alone and away from his family. “Wherever I’ve been, there were family members I could fall back onto. Once in Spain, I knew no one and the adjustment was hard, but I gradually became more comfortable.” Upon his return back to Illinois, Arnold began applying to medical schools. He said that the skills and experiences he gained while studying abroad have prepared him for many of the interviews. Looking into the future, Arnold hopes to use what he learned abroad, such as his improved Spanish speaking skills, to better assist his patients. Arnold Oparanozie will be attending the Rutgers University Medical School in Fall 2019.