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IES: Barcelona
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Kathryn Thompson

Liberal Arts Major(s): Economics, Political Science
Hometown: Medford, New Jersey

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience abroad has been seeing how much I've grown. From studying abroad, I feel as if I have gained a new sense of confidence and independence that I hadn't had before. I have a new sense of what the world is like and how different it is from what I had previously known. I also have made so many new friends that it makes traveling Europe that much better.

From studying abroad, I feel as if I have gained a new sense of confidence and independence that I hadn't had before

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience has challenged me to look at certain things in a different way. The classes that I have taken abroad have taught me how to handle different teaching styles, along with a different perspective on subject matters that I had learned about in the States. For example, I have taken international economics at Penn State, but here in my economics course we are able to look at the global economies in a different light, from a non-US view. My professors at IES also challenge me to think outside the box from a more world-view basis.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

I believe that this opportunity of studying abroad has given me a great advantage in my future career endeavors. Studying abroad has taught me a lot about myself and my strengths, as well as my weaknesses. As I continue to travel and learn about myself and the world, it has enabled me to be able to discover what can see myself doing with my life.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program has enabled me to live my dream of studying abroad in Europe. They have done way more than just financially help me; the program helped me to figure out a bit more about myself, mature, and find my place within this world. With their help and their trust in my potential, I have made the best of my time here and believe I have grown more confidence in myself and my abilities, as well as gained a sense of independence that I did not have before. This was one of the most incredible times in my life, one I will never forget, and I cannot thank the Paterno Fellows Program enough for giving me the memories, experiences, and lessons that will stay with me for a lifetime.

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