Tiffany Marzullo is a senior bilingual/bicultural elementary education major in the College of Education. 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.

Why did you decide to pursue a study abroad opportunity in Spain?

As a bilingual major, I wanted to study in Spain to strengthen my Spanish speaking skills. As a student teacher, I believe the experience has already paid off, as I am able to understand the fast speaking of my students more effectively than before my visit.

How important was the Jepsen International Scholars Endowment scholarship for you?

It meant a lot because it helped make the trip possible.  Without this money I would not have been able to pay for my plane tickets.

What was one or two of your most memorable experiences in Spain?

For me, the most memorable part was living with and building connections with my host family and working with the kids in the schools. I also appreciated the range of experiences I was able to have. In addition to Alcalá de Henares, I was able to take trips to other parts of  Spain including Madrid, Toledo, and Segovia, as well as Rome.

Why do you believe it is important for aspiring educators to study abroad?

I believe it is important for multiple reasons. It improves your language abilities.  It also helps you better understand other cultures and cultural traditions. In turn, you better appreciate and celebrate differences. Because this experience involved working in schools, it showed me and the group of Illinois State education majors I traveled with different ways of schooling.