International spotlight: Enjoy the journey

Kelly Horazdovsky traveled throughout Spain and also 10 other countries – France, Monaco, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Morocco – during her study abroad experience.

International spotlight: Enjoy the journey

By Katie Carroll

“I knew from day one.” Since her first day at St. Thomas, Kelly Horazdovsky, now a senior, had planned to study abroad. She had gone to Europe in high school and wanted to return for a study abroad program. The ability to take classes toward her Spanish major helped her decide on Sevilla, Spain, as her study-abroad home during 2007-08, her junior year.

After realizing she would need to adapt to Spanish culture, Horazdovsky embraced the obvious that she was going to stand out as a tall blonde American and started focusing on classes. While in Sevilla, she took classes on Spanish culture (including flamenco and bull fights) along with the Spanish language. The classes were taken with 12 other American students from across the country. This small-group setting allowed Horazdovsky to get to know her professors personally while interacting with the other students.

During her first semester in Sevilla, Horazdovsky stayed with a host family of a señora and her daughter. In the second semester she lived in an apartment with four other women (two from Spain, one from Mexico, and one from Colorado). This experience allowed her to practice her Spanish speaking skills and learn more about Spanish culture. With her roommates, she also was able to learn about the differences in Spanish and Mexican cultures.

Outside of class, Horazdovsky was able to travel throughout Spain and the surrounding areas of Europe and Africa. She traveled to 10 other countries: France, Monaco, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Morocco.

Traveling, speaking with people from other countries, and the classes she took allowed her to learn about the world and herself.  

“I lived a lifetime of a bunch of experiences,” Horazdovsky said. Many of them, she feels, would have missed if she did not study abroad.

That is why she recommends studying abroad for St. Thomas students, especially language majors. “The University of St. Thomas makes it easy and affordable, so plan for it financially and academically. This may be the only period in your lifetime to live in a foreign country,” Horazdovsky said.

Her life philosophy of “stay curious and enjoy the journey” can be seen in her plans. Horazdovsky will be graduating with a double major in Spanish, and Leadership and Management, in May and plans for more travels after that. This includes a trip back to Spain for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, and she is looking into teaching English abroad in Spain or Asia.

Although she misses the sun and how loud and refreshing it was in Spain, Horazdovsky will never forget the wonderful people she met in Spain and during her travels. Her experience has instilled an interest in cultures and a desire for travel that will take her to many amazing places.