UMD: A Globally Connected University

Toluwanimi (Tolu) Obalade

ProgramUMD-Summer: Nicaragua: Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (BMGT)
Term: Summer 2016

The study abroad program [helped me] to improve my Spanish language skills. I did not know any Spanish before I left for the trip but by the time I left Nicaragua I could hold conversations with people. The internship also provided me with projects that I could talk about to employers. [Furthermore, it] provided insight on Nicaraguan culture. I learned about the food, the history of the civil war and I built relationships with a wide variety of people that I would not have encountered if I did not study abroad. Last but not the least, I had fun with the other interns as we visited various cities in Nicaragua.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: I would advise you be learn about the culture of a country before you choose to study abroad there. You should also not be offended when asked certain questions about your race, gender etc. Some people are just curious and would like to know more about you.​

One weekend, we decided to visit an island called Ometepe. On this island there was a 1371 meter volcano. The other interns wanted to climb this volcano so I tagged along. I have never gone hiking before but I was keen to partake in a new challenge. It was quite a physically demanding  task. It took about four hours to get to the top of the volcano and when we got the top it began to rain. I was frustrated that I could not savor the fact that I had conquered this mountain (take a picture at the top and post it on Instagram). It took about 9 hours and 30 minutes to climb this volcano then get back to our hotel but it is an experience I will never forget. I came, I saw, I conquered.

The hardest part about studying abroad was being away from all the things that I am surrounded by in the United States. That is, constant WiFi, people who spoke English, certain types of food etc. To adjust to the challenge I just embraced Nicaraguan culture while making a conscious effort to not compare it to American culture.