Lauren AbuAli, Spring 2014 SIT Study
Abroad Pell Match Recipient, SIT Buenos Aires, Argentina
Study Abroad (SA): Please tell us a
little about yourself.
Lauren AbuAli (LA): I am an international
studies major with a double minor in Latin American studies and film studies. I
have a lot of interests, ranging from language and culture to video production
and film, obviously reflected by my choice of majors/minors. More than anything
I have taken great interest in traveling and exploring, whether that is here in
the city or on another continent. For next semester I will actually be studying
abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 3 and a half months doing a public health
program, and at the end of my program I plan to go to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
for about a week and a half to enjoy the festivities of the 2014 World Cup
SA: Did you win a scholarship for the
study abroad program in Buenos Aires?
LA: Yes, I received the SIT Study Abroad
Pell Match for $2,822.00
SA: That’s great! Was the application for the scholarship difficult?
LA: Not at all. It was only about a page or two, and asked very
basic questions about household income, scholarships/financial aid that you
receive from your home institution, etc.
SA: That's easier than I thought.
Why did you choose the SIT program?
LA: Well originally I was never able to study abroad during the
school year as a result of athletics. When I stopped playing soccer this
semester, a good friend of mine who had also stopped doing USF cross country
told me she wanted to study abroad in Chile for the Spring. I was originally
looking into doing the program with her, until I met with Sharon and she told
me to consider looking into programs that were a good fit for me specifically.
She mentioned SIT and we went through the packet of the different
programs/places they offered in Latin America (I definitely wanted to do Latin
America in order to fulfill the requirements for my L.A. minor and practice my
Spanish!). She brought up Buenos Aires, Argentina to me as being a really cool
place, and they happened to be offering a program in public health. Though my
major is international studies, I have secretly been wanting to pursue
something more so in the field of science/health and thought this would be a
great opportunity to still get my minor classes fulfilled while also veering
off into a subject not necessarily on point with my major.
SA: Looks like the secret is out and the program sounds like it
fits in to your academic plans for graduation.
To be certain, are you still able to graduate on time? If so, what did you do in order to confirm
the credits will transfer back properly?
LA: Yes! I will graduate in the Spring of 2015 as planned. In order
to confirm the credits would transfer I had the classes approved by the chair
of Latin American Studies and he said the classes that I am taking are
sufficient to meet USF standards. With his approval I was able to complete a
PEAI that acknowledged my classes in Argentina would equate to the classes I
would have taken at USF. In addition, I met with the chair of International
Studies to go through where I am at right now in the major, what I have
fulfilled and what I have left to fulfill. I also met with my CASA adviser to
go over my four-year plan to make sure that I can get everything in. I am also
doing a film minor, so it's a pretty tight squeeze but I am actually able to
get away with taking four classes a semester for the next year and that will
get me up to speed! The only "outstanding" credit I guess you could
say comes from research methods- a required class for BAIS. Though I am taking
a research methods based class in Argentina, this class is only worth three
credits versus four, in which I need to do some kind of project to makeup this
SA: I'm glad you have your graduation plans all mapped out. You're an International Studies Major and you
mentioned earlier that you have "secretly been wanting to pursue something
more so in the field of science/health."
The SIT program is in public health.
What do you expect to get out of this program? And how does this align with your future
goals after USF?
LA: From this program, first and foremost, I hope to master my
language skills and become proficient in Spanish. I think that acquiring
another language, and acquiring it well, is one of the best assets you can have
when competing in the job market (not that I would know yet, but I assume so!)
I think this program will help me to develop a better understanding of Latin
American history, culture, education as a whole (though coming from an
Argentine perspective!) but will also help in diversifying my skill set by
giving me a hands-on look at public health. I think gaining this experience
know will open up opportunities for me past USF if I ever wanted to do
something with international relations and public health. And future goals
within the next couple of years including going to graduate school, although I
am not sure if I want to continue with international relations per say or go
into a similar field, and after graduate school I would love to acquire an
internship or a position with a global organization or get into some type of
global diplomacy! All of these are aspirations, however, and I am still in a
process of figuring out exactly what it is that I want to do! Which I think is
one of the biggest reasons why I try to expose myself to all different types of
SA: Lauren, thank you for sparing time to talk about your
plans. Good luck with your Spanish and
have a great time at your study abroad.