For Broward College Student, Study Abroad Experience in Spain Makes World of Difference
There was a time when Samuel Jordan thought he wasn’t smart enough to finish high school, let alone pursue a college degree in a foreign country. But, that’s where the Broward College student found himself this past spring, in Seville, Spain, the birthplace of flamenco dancing, interacting with locals, taking classes toward graduation and living a dream he once only dared to imagine.
“If you told me two or three years ago that I would be studying in Europe, I would have said, ‘You are crazy,’” said Samuel, who was awarded the William E. Greene scholarship for a semester study through the International Education Institute at Broward College.
The scholarship covers the cost of airfare, housing, tuition, program fees and travel insurance for students who choose to study at one of Broward College’s international centers in Ecuador, Peru or Spain.
Samuel, who is fascinated by world history, geography and geopolitics, said his choice was easy. As a journalism major at Broward College, he figured the four months in Europe would not only give him a chance to observe current events from a foreign perspective but improve his Spanish as well.
“I had never been outside the United States,” said the 19-year-old, who, up until the trip, had lived with his mother, father and 11 siblings in Tamarac. “I had never even lived on my own, but I loved the challenge.”
During his time in Seville, Samuel lived with a local family that spoke little English. He had no other choice but to adapt.
“When I got there, I knew next to nothing in Spanish,” he said. “But I will never forget the look on my host mother’s face when I could communicate with her comfortably in Spanish. She was full of pride and joy.”
When he wasn’t taking in the European culture, Samuel took classes at the International College of Seville. His curriculum included courses in international business and international relations along with nine-credits of Spanish. On the weekends, he traveled to Scotland, England, France, Italy, Morocco, and Portugal.
“It was eye-opening,” said Samuel. “Being from someplace else, people tended to look at me differently. But, when I said I was from the United States, their eyes lit up.”
With each encounter, Jordan became more comfortable, and his maturity level grew. He made friends. And his love for learning deepened. Home-schooled from sixth- through 12th grade, he lacked motivation until some much-needed introspection gave him the push to complete his GED. He then enrolled at Broward College.
“I didn’t have any friends until I met so many people at Broward College,” said Samuel, who is finishing up a summer internship in San Francisco where he works in 3-D graphics and map design for Roblox, an online game-creation platform. “I really enjoy learning now.”
In another few weeks, Samuel will be back in South Florida. He will bring a 3.9 grade-point average into the fall semester. When he completes his associate degree, he plans to transfer to a four-year university.
“I’ve missed my friends at Broward College,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back.”