Morgan Delapa is a senior elementary education major with a minor in Spanish. She received a Jepsen International Scholars Program Endowment scholarship to participate in a four-week trip to Alcalá de Henares, Spain, in the summer of 2015.

Through the “Jepsen Challenge,” your donations large and small help aspiring education majors afford to participate in unique study abroad opportunities offered by the College of Education. Alumnus Keith Jepsen ’67 M.S. ’68 and his spouse Kathleen Dore will match up to $25,000 in donations made by June 30, 2016, to the Jepsen International Scholars Program Endowment Fund and the College of Education Global Initiatives fund.

How did this experience impact your perspective, both as a global citizen and as an aspiring educator?

This experience impacted my perspective as a global citizen in that I was able to learn so much about the customs, traditions and systems of Spain. I was able to learn about the people and places within the beautiful country. It opened my eyes to how much different places are compared to the United States. As an educator, it impacted my perspective of English Language Learners. I was living in a country where I was not a native speaker. From this experience, I gained empathy for students who are learning English and adjusting to the customs here. I realize how hard these students have to work and think on a daily basis.

What were some of your most memorable experiences from your time in Spain?

One of the most memorable experiences I had while abroad was meeting my host family for the first time. This was a special moment. I was welcomed into another home and another family. Another memorable moment I had was a 30-minute Segway tour through the streets of Sevilla.

How do you believe your study abroad experience is reflected in your student teaching classroom?

My study abroad experience is reflected in the classroom where I am student teaching because it allows me to talk about Spain as a country to my class. It is also reflected because I can talk about different cultures and traditions from Spain. I have shown pictures from my experience to the class so that they were able to get a better idea. Students have discussed how important it is to respect other people and other cultures.

What are some of the strategies or approaches you’ve used that are directly tied to your experience in Spain?

Collaborative and group work was inspired by my study abroad experience because it is beneficial for students to work together who are at different levels and come from different backgrounds. Studying different places and cultures around the world has also been included in my classroom.

What did receiving the Jepsen International Scholars Endowment scholarship mean for you?

The funding I received from the Jepsen International Scholars Endowment allowed me to have the opportunity to study abroad. It greatly assisted my family and ensured that I was able to have this experience.

Why do you believe studying abroad benefits future educators?

I believe it is important for educators to study abroad because it allows them to gain knowledge of other places within our world. It allows them to experience another population, climate, and area. Educators are lifelong learners and studying abroad is a great opportunity to pass on this learning to our students. We can share our experiences, feelings and thoughts as we attended the country. I highly encourage everyone to consider studying abroad. It was one of the most amazing experiences and is worth all the time, planning and money. It is something I will cherish and continue to talk about.