The thing that drew me to the study abroad program was not only the opportunity to travel and have more cultural diversity, but was the opportunity to participate in a real life work setting rather than an educational based environment. The program I was involved with was working through a non-profit architecture firm that allowed me to travel the country of Peru to design an orphanage just south of their countries capital, Lima. Not to mention I have major wanderlust, so when I got an email that had the word Peru in the title of course I was going to open it, and I am so glad I did. Traveling is something I will do regardless of the school credit or not, so having an opportunity to travel, get school credits, and get invaluable work experience seemed like the perfect opportunity for me and my major travel bug.

The entire idea of study abroad has always intrigued me. As I grew up I always enjoyed getting close to the foreign exchange students from my high-school. That lead me to wonder what studying abroad would really entail.  Once I got to college I knew study abroad was something I wanted to do and I was just presented the perfect opportunity for it. The friends you make and the opportunities a study abroad program opens for you are indescribable. I was fortunate enough to take advantage of the program as it came to me because I have talked to multiple alumni and they say their only regret was not taking advantage of the study abroad opportunities. Lucky for me I did!

The difference in the program I chose was that I wasn’t going to enroll in any classes besides those through the study abroad program of UTC. I was going into a work experience rather than a school setting. This difference in the program will be an amazing opportunity to include in my resume and give me a leg up for my future competitors in the job market. Not only was I able to get amazing work experience, but I was also able to stay on track to graduate on time. My department head was very willing to work with me to get me the credits I would need to continue on my path to graduate on time. Another wonderful reason this program was really amazing in my life was that I hope to do a similar process of opening a nonprofit to design and build up third world countries. The connections I have made and the work that I got to see first hand will really help me on my path as a professional in the interior design world.

Callie Cantrell is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture. She spent a semester working on a project with KaTO Architecture in Peru.

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