Joshua Utter - Students Benefit
Joshua Utter (’13) knows what a difference it can make to experience a new culture. “So many people have commented since I got back that I’m more relaxed, more focused, more communicative,” he explained, “I feel that I really benefitted and took away some very universal skills.”
Josh is referring to his recent study abroad experience in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He spent the semester abroad through Loras College’s Center for Experiential Learning, hoping to improve his Spanish language skills and immerse himself in the Spanish culture.
While in Spain, Josh not only took classes, but experienced an internship and completed four hours of service each week, socializing with elderly residents of a nursing home in the city. “Getting international experience through academics, through business, and through service was great. I got to speak Spanish and English in the office where I interned and was greatly exposed to the Galician language through my service work. I learned not only how to overcome language and communication barriers, but how to communicate with different groups of people.”
Josh was a recipient of Scholl Foundation funds to help offset his costs to study abroad. He applied thinking that the funding would really help him feel more at ease and less anxious while in Spain--allowing him to concentrate on getting the most out of his experience.
He explained that hearing that he was a recipient “was really a huge relief. I thought, ‘Someone is really supporting me while I’m getting this experience abroad.’ My family was also very happy that I was able to have this experience without such a large financial burden.”
Josh feels his experience through Loras’ Center for Experiential Learning made a real impact on him. “It was awesome to get an international feel in a small city, a small office setting. I’ve really gained and improved skills that I’ll be able to apply anywhere in my life, thanks to this experience.”