#StudyAbroadBecause You Can

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Feb 18, 2015 / 0 comments

My name is Austin Conte and I am currently a graduating senior at the College of Charleston, SC. I am API alumni and I am now also an API Campus Advocate for the College of Charleston. I am a International Business Major with a concentration in Marketing and Management accompanied with a Spanish Minor and Economics Minor. I have been abroad on two accounts, one of which was the enlightening experience in Madrid, Spain with API. Also, I have spent time abroad independently in the Philippines during the summer of 2013. I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, sports, and of course I am a traveling fanatic. I like to push things to the limit and I always strive to go above and beyond the normal whether it's in school, work, traveling, or just living a lifestyle. 




What motivated your decision to go abroad? How/why did you choose where to go?

Initially, studying abroad has been a dream of mine since I had been a child. Traveling has always been a passion so during my studies at the College of Charleston I pursued a International Business Major which required time abroad. I am also a Spanish Minor so choosing Madrid, Spain made perfect sense in order to become immersed within the culture.


In Spain. #studyabroadbecause you can


What was your experience like? What is your favorite memory? What were some challenges you observed?

My experience was one of the most enlightening ones I’ve had yet in my lifetime. Spending mornings in class, days in the park or casually strolling through the city, and nights in the different tapas bars and jazz clubs. My favorite memory was by far the San Fermín festival when I ran with the bulls. A daring moment on my part, however, it was one of the most incredible things I have ever done. Mostly the challenges I faced were language based, which slowly but surely became less of a problem once I improved my fluency.


#Studyabroadbecause you can


What skills did you develop from your experience? Do you feel changed from your experience abroad?

I developed a plethora of new skill sets once abroad. From navigating in foreign countries without a GPS to learning a new language, I learned a series of new skill sets that will be of great value through out my entire lifetime.


#Studyabroadbecause you can


Has your experience helped you get to where you are today?

Yes, without a doubt it has helped me get to be where I am today. I came back to the U.S. with complete confidence of any goals I had in mind and conquered all of them. It makes you quite well rounded in the sense that you can balance more in life after you’ve been abroad.


What advice would you share with other students who are thinking of going abroad?

My advice would be to break up your finances into weeks. It’s quite easy to splurge on consumer goods and services, however, my most memorable investments were trips to other cities and countries which is what I believe the most valuable. Plan your trips accordingly, eat locally, spend wisely, and you’ll gain much more out of the abroad experience.


#studyabroadbecause you can - Paris


How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?

I believe international education has truly made me more open-minded, creative, and culturally knowledgeable.


Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Studying abroad isn’t just a great experience, but a life path that some take that almost never becomes a regret. The world is becoming more so interconnected, therefore, we should all become more culturally knowledgeable regarding one another.



#studyabroadbecause you can





All photos courtesy and copyright Austin Conte