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Many students consider studying abroad to be a life changing, enriching experience. That couldn’t be more true for recent University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduate Cheyanne Grunow who used her experience abroad to develop her plans for the future.

Grunow, of Plymouth, first studied abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico and Alajuela, Costa Rica for two months during summer break in high school. It was there that she found her passion for languages and culture, making it her goal to study and learn Spanish.

Cheyanne Grunow

Grunow then majored in Spanish education with minors in bilingual education and English as a second language at UW Oshkosh. She also earned a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate.

Her sophomore year of college, she studied abroad once again —this time in Spain for nine months, achieving her goal of becoming fluent in Spanish.

“Studying abroad in Spain is as dreamy as it sounds,” Grunow said. “I studied at la Universidad de Granada for one year. At first, it was very difficult. Adjusting to a new culture, location and the Spanish accent was, at times, a headache. However, over time you learn to love it.”

During those nine months abroad, Grunow said she made many friends who helped to make her adjustment a little easier. She also had the opportunity to travel to 13 other countries in Europe and Africa.

After such a positive experience, she decided to return to Spain after her spring 2021 graduation to attend graduate school at the University of Barcelona, otherwise known as Universität de Barcelona.

“Living in Spain certainly ignited my interest to move abroad again once I completed my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I wanted to continue my life and studies in an international environment. Also, living in Spain will allow me to continue my journey learning Spanish.”

As one of 25 international candidates accepted into the applied linguistics and second language acquisition master’s degree program for the 2021-22 school year, she couldn’t be more excited for this new, challenging opportunity.

“I am very excited to move back to Spain. I look forward to adapting to the Spanish lifestyle once again, and learning even more about the culture. I am eager to experience Barcelona and improve my language skills,” she said.

Grunow is a huge advocate for students studying abroad and traveling as much as they are able. She highly recommends that students consider stepping out of their comfort zone to experience things they never would have been able to otherwise.

“My piece of advice for other students is to travel and experience as much as you can! I am a believer that it is important to travel beyond your hometown and experience new things. Be uncomfortable. Meet new people. Grow as a person. Return home and share your experiences. All in all, study abroad!”

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