Maddie Burke

  1. What made you decide to do a study abroad trip?


I am in the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program and studying abroad is one of the many opportunities the Program encourages students to take advantage of in college. I have always had a passion for traveling and knew some people who had previously studied abroad, so I wanted to learn more about it. I decided to intern abroad because I was able to find an internship at a business consultancy firm in Barcelona, Spain where I could immerse myself in a new culture while gaining valuable professional skills. 


  1. Why did you decide to go where you did?


A few of my friends had previously studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and they all had a wonderful time. I have intermediate Spanish skills, so I also knew I had some sort of foundation to the language. I chose to intern abroad in Europe though because one of the most common things my friends told me was that it is easy and relatively inexpensive to travel to nearby countries. I also had heard about Spain’s relaxed culture which seemed appealing to me coming from a place that is constantly on the go. 


  1. What was one highlight of your study abroad experience, that is particularly memorable?


While I was in Barcelona, I got to celebrate the Festival of Sant Joan on June 24. It corresponds to the Summer Solstice- the shortest night of the year. It is common for people to go to the beach and shoot tons of fireworks. My friends and I went to the beach the eve of Sant Joan and saw everyone gathered with their friends relaxing, listening to music, shooting fireworks, and celebrating the holiday. The following day, we went back to the beach where there were numerous parades and festivities. Everything in Barcelona essentially closed on Sant Joan so that everyone could celebrate which is something I appreciated.


  1. What advice would you give to someone else who is considering doing a study abroad?


I would highly encourage them to step out of the comfort zone and experience something that is unforgettable. It may be scary at first, but all you have to do is try and slowly adapt to a new lifestyle for a little while. It can also sometimes be refreshing to get out of your normal routine and do something different. 


  1. What made you decide to come to UA Little Rock?


I decided to come to UA Little Rock primarily because I was honored to be accepted into the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program. I also liked that the university was in the capital of the state because I knew I had the opportunity to form connections with people who may be able to help me once I finish my education. 


  1. What made you decide you wanted to major in International Studies?  Have your experiences met your expectations?


I decided to major in International Studies because I liked the interdisciplinary approach. I’ve been able to take business classes such as business law, economics, and marketing. I’ve also been able to take numerous political science courses and rhetoric courses. I feel like I have been able to gain knowledge in numerous areas which gives me more career options. I also like the international aspect because I believe we live in a world where it helps to have a global mindset. 


  1. What do you want to do after you graduate?


I am currently exploring all of my options right now. I know that I want to take a gap year to have more time to decide what kind of career I want and whether I need to continue my education even further. I am passionate about research and human rights, but I am not sure what I want to do with that specifically. 


  1. How would you describe UA Little Rock to someone who was considering coming here?


I would describe UA Little Rock as a nontraditional university that welcomes diversity. We have students from all different backgrounds such as being from another country or returning to college after raising a family. It’s been fun to have people of different backgrounds in my classes because I can also learn from them. I would also say that the professors at UA Little Rock are committed to preparing students for careers after college. 


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