A Whole New World
Graduation season is almost in full swing, and for International Studies and Spanish Major Megan Ash, it is time to say goodbye, adios, and auf wiedersehen to Colorado State University.
Ash has lived in Fort Collins her entire life and after graduation she plans on volunteering with the Peace Corps. Traveling and helping people was not always her plan, it took her some time to figure out what she wanted to do post graduation.
Anna Gerber, Communications Manager for International Programs at CSU, said Ash is “a great example of a student who has taken advantage of international experiences during her time at CSU, and who will continue to do international things as an alumna.”
Let’s take it all the way back to the beginning. During her sophomore year, spring 2014, she traveled to Spain, since she always wanted to learn more of the language and challenge herself. Ash studied at the University of Alcalá, and while there she learned the historical significance and architecture of the area.
“I took Spanish translation and literature, and art history, and sort of a political international studies dealing with Spain and Latin America” Ash said. This gave her an insight to the area she wouldn’t have obtained back in the United States. Being constantly surrounded by the Spanish language gave her a challenge and allowed her Spanish language skills to widen.
When she came back from Spain she started working at
the education abroad offices at CSU. Ash started out as
an office assistant, but quickly rose into a peer advisor
position. The job entails helping students pick programs
they would benefit from the most and how to go about
starting the application process. Ash’s specialty in the
office has to do with alumni and students who are coming in from other countries to study at CSU.
Ash found an opportunity online that allowed her to become an au pair in Germany. This job provided a salary that included room and board, the flight, transportation pass, vacation time and German classes.
Ash lived in a small community of around 40 thousand people located near the border of the Netherlands. Looking back on the experience Ash said, “there wasn’t much support like there is in the education abroad programs. I went there and I didn’t know anybody so I think it was a huge learning experience like having to really dive into the language and met people.”
The experience was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for her and she decided to take it, with only one year left in college and no idea what she wanted to do with her life.
Her year in Germany quickly came to an end, and Ash decided she needed to come back to Fort Collins and finish her degree. She still continues her work at the Education Abroad offices here, and enjoys helping students expand their horizons.
When talking about why students should participate in the Education Abroad programs Ash said, “It gives you a completely different perspective on your life and on other people. It allows for so much personal growth because you are put into a situation where you have to be creative and think on your toes and be independent and I think it just makes you become a more confident person.”
That is exactly what happened with Ash. Through traveling she figured out what she wanted to do after graduation. Come July 2017 she will be joining the Peace Corps and is heading to Costa Rica for two years. While there, Ash plans on teaching English to children in rural parts of the country. “I am going to be working with Costa Ricans who are English teachers and just helping them, and having that native speaker to help them with their classes and maybe like implementing different lesson plans” said Ash.
As for her time after the Peace Corps, Ash is open to anything.