Peer Advisors

Rachel Tarr

Major: Spanish Language & Literature

Minor: Anthropology; Latin American Studies

Year in School: Senior

Email: rtarr@niu.edu

Study Abroad Program: USAC Heredia, Costa Rica (semester); AIFS Granada, Spain (summer)

Other Countries you have visited: Nicaragua, Panama, England

Why did you decide to study abroad?

I knew before I even started at NIU that I wanted the study abroad experience. My mom studied abroad in both high school and college, so the importance of experiencing another culture was instilled in me at a young age. I’ve also always had a passion for the Spanish language, so studying abroad was a way for me to hone my skills and gain more confidence in my speaking ability.

Favorite memory from studying abroad:

One of my favorite memories from studying abroad is hiking the Sierra Nevadas. One of the other students and I, who has since become one of my best friends, spent an entire day hiking a trail up the Sierra Nevadas. We had to take a 2 hour bus ride up the side of a mountain to even get to the start of the trail, then spent the next 5 hours hiking. Even though it was warm in Granada, the mountains still had snow on them - it was absolutely breathtaking! There's nothing like taking a lunch break at the top of a mountain overlooking the beautiful countryside of Spain. That moment will forever be etched in my memory.

Favorite excursion or adventure:

There are too many to count! I would have to say my favorite excursion was a 3-day trip to London with AIFS. It was such a blast to travel the city and meet other students in my program. There was so much to do, and our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the city and right across the street from the Tower of London! My favorite adventure, however, has to be zip-lining at Monteverde in Costa Rica. By far it was the most beautiful rainforest I saw during my semester there, and their zip-lining is the longest in the country! It was amazing to see the beautiful scenery from a different perspective.

Why do you think that it is important to study abroad?

It is so important to gain as much world experience as you can before you go into the real world, because it prepares you for a variety of situations and gives you the skills to work with many different types of people. I believe traveling allows you to view the world in a new light, as well as makes you more aware of who you are as a person and what your potential is.

Any tips you have for students interested in studying abroad?

Don’t be afraid to jump in and do it! It may seem scary or it may be hard to fit into your schedule, but studying abroad is the most amazing and rewarding experience. Rarely do you get a chance to experience a country in this immersive way after you graduate university, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain credits AND travel the world!

Hours you are available in the Study Abroad Office:

Mondays 2-4:30pm

Wednesdays 9:30am-12pm