My name is Rachel Silverboard and I am from Largo Florida (near Tampa). My major is International Affairs with a concentration in political science and a minor in Spanish. I am 20 years old, and I will be graduating with my BS from Florida State in Spring 2023.
This summer, I will be volunteering at a local primary school while studying abroad with FSU International Programs in Valencia, Spain. This community engagement experience is related to my focus in the Global Scholars Program because it will allow me to study comparative education and cross-cultural differences between the education system in Spain and the education system in the United States. I am interested in curriculum choices and multicultural education in schools, and I believe it will be interesting to observe and compare my findings while volunteering in Spain to my knowledge of the education system in the United States.
From my experience I expect to increase my knowledge of the community around me, including the Valencian community in general and the teachers and students that I will interact with at the school. I want to increase my intercultural competencies and communication skills while also improving my Spanish language skills. I hope to observe differences in classroom environments and curriculum between schools in Spain and schools in the United States while also learning about religious education since I will be volunteering at a Catholic primary school. When I return to Florida State in the fall, I hope to have developed my leadership and research skills and apply these to future activities through the university and in my professional life.
At this point, I am unsure of what kind of culture shock I will experience once I arrive in Valencia. I know that the language will be an adjustment when I am outside of the study abroad environment on campus, but I am feeling excited that this immersion will allow me to improve my Spanish language skills. I am also unsure of what my volunteering will be like because I have never volunteered in a school with young children and I have not yet been told what I will specifically be doing while I am there.