WLC World Scholars: Samantha Huisman

CATEGORIES: March 2014
  • Major: Kinesiology and Health – Athletic Training · Spanish
  • 3rd year ATS – ISU Women’s Swimming and Diving
  • Sigma Delta Pi – la Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica | President
  • 2013 winner of Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Scholarship
  • 2013 winner of Louise Semmons Scholarship

I spent six weeks in Valencia, Spain independently studying the picaresque genre of Spanish literature and interning for Caroli Health Club. Caroli Health Club is a total heath and wellness clinic. They specialized in personal training, sports performance training, manual therapy, and beauty treatments. I worked as a “trainer” in their fitness center. I worked with clients one-on-one teaching them proper biomechanics to perform specific exercises. I made exercise programs for clients based on their specific needs. I specialized in massages: relax, lymphodrainage, and deep-tissue. I enjoyed my internship very much. My boss, coworkers, and clients were very friendly and a pleasure to work with. As a group, our program traveled to various cities in Spain to go on educational tours and learn about the culture of the country. While abroad, I lived with a host family and was able to form a positive, lasting relationship. I met many new friends from different countries around the world and made memories that I will remember for the rest of my life.

This was my second opportunity studying abroad. I had previously known about the program from my first study abroad experience. The Valencia program is advertized throughout the Spanish department and the Pearson building on campus. I have had friends in the past that had a great experience with the program and suggested it would be a perfect fit for me.

This experience has had a great impact on my life. I was able to travel to a foreign country and immerse myself in a new culture and way of life. I was able to build relationships with strangers, who are now great friends. I hope to go back to Valencia in the future to visit. I miss my host family and coworkers dearly. From an educational standpoint, I was able to work in a Spanish speaking setting. I was able to improve my Spanish speaking skills and learn new vocabulary that is related to the medical world. I am now confident in my Spanish medical terminology and am excited to apply it to my work in the states. Gaining work experience in a foreign language will help me achieve my goal of working with Spanish speaking athletes as an athletic trainer.

With, working at Caroli Health Club I encountered many clients from all around the world. Many times I needed to interact with clients from foreign countries who did not speak Spanish or English. I learned to adapt in certain situations and utilize my resources in order to communicate with others. It was a challenge to communicate with people from outside of Spain, but it was a great learning experience.

My most memorable experience from my study abroad program was getting to know my host family. My host mother and father treated me as their own daughter. It is a great feeling to know a complete stranger could be so welcoming and happy to take you in and care for you. We formed a great relationship, to the point where they called me their “hija americana” (American daughter) and I called them my “madre española y padre español” (Spanish mother and father). We made so many memories that I will forever cherish. Spain is truly full of wonderful people.

I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming my coworkers were at Caroli Health Club. They treated me very well and had great confidence in my Spanish abilities as well as my knowledge of the health and wellness profession. My boss had me creating fitness programs and giving massages within the first days of work. He challenged me just as much or even more than the other employees and interns at the company. I had specific responsibilities and was treated as an equal. I was very grateful for such an amazing experience. I helped me feel comfortable and welcomed. I hope to enter the real world with as much confidence in myself that my boss had in me.

My advice for students who want to study abroad is to put yourself out of your comfort zone and test your limits! Try new things. You will learn so much and gain much more from testing yourself and experiencing new cultures. Traveling abroad opens up your eyes to a new perspective of the world and the people you meet. The world has so much beauty, go explore and learn!