Alumni Spotlight on Allie Strick: From Studying in Spain to a Career in Translation


Allie Strick is a Greenheart Travel high school in Spain alumna that has caught the travel bug after her time abroad in 2009. Since her study abroad program, she has spent time in Barcelona teaching English after college and was recently exploring more of the country visiting Formentera, Granada and Malaga.

Greenheart Travel recently got in touch with Allie to catch up on how her experience abroad has affected her academic and professional goals, and what advice she would offer to future exchange students heading abroad. Read our interview below.

Q: What first inspired you to travel the globe as an exchange student, and specifically to study abroad in Spain?


Throughout high school my favorite subject was Spanish, and the more I studied the language and the culture the more I desired to really get to know the country firsthand. I knew that only by traveling to Spain and immersing myself directly into the culture, by living with a host family and attending a Spanish school, could I properly come to develop my language skills, as well as understand the customs and rituals of the country.

How important do you feel experiencing another culture is to personal growth?


Traveling alone to a foreign country at a young age and finding myself in a city where hardly anyone spoke English was a most invaluable experience, While it was challenging and frustrating at times, it contributed tremendously to my growth as a person, and left me with a passion to independently travel the world. Since this trip I have returned to Europe many times, often on solo journeys.


What were one or two of your favorite memories, experiences or images that stand out for you looking back on your time in Spain?


One of my favorite moments actually occurred right when I returned to New York. I had just landed at the airport and went to meet my parents and found myself talking to them in Spanish rather than in English, as so many months had passed that speaking Spanish was just so natural. Though it seemed silly at the time, it made me realize how comfortable I had become with my Spanish, and this was evidence as to how much my language skills really improved over my six month homestay while studying abroad.

Do you think your semester abroad helped shape your academic and career pursuits? If so, how?


Becoming fluent in Spanish, which I am quite certain never would have happened had I not studied abroad, made me aware of a great passion for language and linguistics which I never realized I possessed. This love for language actually led me to pursue a minor in Italian in college so that I could further expand my linguistic knowledge. Having spent an intensive six months studying Spanish, taking on Italian came much more naturally than it would had I not had such a strong background in another language. Additionally, upon graduating college I ended up landing a job with a translation company, which would have been achievable without my background in languages.

What destinations do you have on your travel bucket list?


Right now my travel bucket list includes: Iceland, Greece Sweden and Morocco.


Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you to get out of your comfort zone and follow your passions?


“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you were talking with someone that wasn’t sure about studying abroad, what would you say to persuade them to go for it?


I would tell them about the interesting and exciting cultures that one could only experience when abroad. Its easy to read about different places, but you can’t truly appreciate them unless you go there!

What would you say was the biggest impact studying in Spain made on you once you returned home?


When I made the decision to study abroad my friends were shocked to hear that I would voluntarily pass up spending my senior year of high school in the States, meaning I would have to miss attending supposedly key milestones such as prom and graduation. However, when I returned from Spain and caught up with friends from home I realized that I had grown so much as a person and had become so independent and worldly that I felt no remorse whatsoever about skipping my senior year. This experience changed my outlook on what was really important to me life, and brought upon the realization that life is short and I must pursue my passion for travel to the fullest extent that I can.


Any additional thoughts you have for anyone wanting to study abroad in high school?


As the world becomes increasingly more global, having an international background is even more important than ever. I strongly recommend that everyone take a risk and travel abroad.

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