Halfway through a year-long exchange to Spain, Adriana Badillo has discovered a renewed love of learning and appreciation for culture.

“I believe there’s no better way to learn about a different culture than to immerse yourself in it,” she said. “It’s the kind of experience that helps you understand the world and the problems it faces.”

The Communications and Economics student from Quito, Ecuador, is spending her third-year studying at CEU San Pablo in Madrid, Spain.

Although there have been some challenges—different dialect and customs—the experience has rekindled a deep desire for continued learning in Badillo.

“My desire for learning is bigger than I thought and unstoppable and moving to Europe has given me the chance to explore a new side of my majors,” she said.

“People broaden their horizons while on exchange because it offers them the chance to meet new people and listen to their stories. It helps you move out of your comfort zone and challenges you both mentally and emotionally.”

Part of her renewed passion for learning came from being surrounded by people who can speak three or more languages—something Badillo is hoping to accomplish as well.

“Being bilingual has opened up multiple cultural and social opportunities, so now I’m really committed to pursuing a summer study abroad program to learn a new language,” she said.

“This would not only be an educational advantage, but a lifestyle advantage as well.”

For more information on exchange and travel study opportunities at St. Thomas University, click here.