Lakers travel to border and abroad


Vydalia Weatherly, Staff writer

During winter break, students had opportunities to study abroad in Spain and Portugal, in addition to traveling to the Mexican border in Texas. Ally Burrington, a senior psychology major with a Spanish minor, studied abroad in Spain and Portugal. Burrington found out after their Psychology professor who co-led the trip mentioned it in class and helped Burrington sign up. “I traveled abroad because it was the perfect opportunity to experience both Psychology and Spanish in one trip,” Burrington said. “I had always wanted to go abroad and it was amazing to have my first time be with a group of
fairly experienced travelers.” As part of the study abroad experience, Burrington had to take a class during the fall semester related to the trip. “The class we
took, which was basically a Spanish sport psychology, was super interesting! We watched many documentaries on different Spanish sports, including surfing, bullfighting and soccer (football in Europe). We also did a few presentations which were super fun,” said Burrington. Studying abroad provides students with new experiences and opportunities to learn as Burrington experienced. “My experience in Spain and Portugal was fantastic! I learned so many new things, experienced culture that I had only read about, and even was adventurous with what I ate—the octopus was pretty crazy! Overall, it was the best thing I have ever
done!” said Burrington.
There are some challenges when
it comes to studying abroad as
Burrington found out, such as
not being able to drink tap water
due to different filtration systems
and ensuring that your credit/debit card works properly—“I had
some crazy ATM fees in Portugal
because I made the mistake of not
researching enough,” Burrington
When asked if they would recommend studying abroad to other
students, Burrington responded,
“I would absolutely recommend
traveling abroad! There are so
many exciting new experiences
that you will never get in normal
classes, and even if you travel alone
you may not get the same experiences of learning the in-depth culture of each place you visit.”
Allison Siegmann, a senior double majoring in Spanish and Intelligence Studies, and Sabrina Pizzarelli, a senior double majoring in
Applied Sociology and Spanish,
both traveled to Texas over winter
break to visit the U.S.-Mexican
Both Siegmann and Pizzarelli
both found out about the trip to
the border from Alice Edwards,
Ph.D., head of the World Languages and Cultures Department.
Seigmann and Pizzarelli had different reasons for traveling to the
“I decided to attend this trip
because I wanted to learn more
about the immigration process
and the current immigration crisis that people are facing at the
U.S.-Mexico border,” said Siegmann. “I was hoping to practice
my Spanish (and I did!) with the
community members in McAllen. I was also quite excited just to
travel anywhere, especially somewhere new. I was curious but very
nervous about what we would
encounter at the border,” said Pizzarelli.
Prior to heading down to the
border, attendees met several times
to discuss expectations and hopes.
Traveling to the border, provided
attendees with new insight.
Traveling to the border also offered students new experiences.
“I’ve never experienced hospitality
quite like I did on our trip. The
women at ARISE, the organization that graciously ran the program for us, cooked for us daily
and treated us like family. By the
end of the week, I felt like I was
sitting at the dinner table with a
bunch of my tías y primos. I felt
so welcomed there, and it really
helped us become comfortable
with asking questions and engaging,” said Pizzarelli.
When asked if they would recommend students travel to the
border, both Siegmann and Pizzarelli said yes.
“If there is one thing I would
like to share with others about
my experience, it would be that
migrants do not receive handouts
from the government. They face
extreme difficulties to find and
maintain stability in their new
lives in the United States, and it
is important that they are given
more assistance so that they can
live and thrive here in the United
States, after facing whatever difficulty they may have escaped from
their home country. I thought this
was a very important takeaway
from my experience that I think
not everyone realizes and is very
important for others to understand,” Siegmann said.
If anyone is interested in attending, the trip to the border is set to
become an annual trip. Additionally, anyone interested in studying
abroad can reach out to the Study
Abroad Office with any questions.