Brittany Robertson, a senior engineering major, originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming, said she fell in love with international travel in high school. Her adventurous spirit took her on a gap year to Argentina and, subsequently, to Spain for a semester to study abroad as a junior at Baylor.
She recounts her experience as one that gave her a new perspective on life and opened her eyes to different cultures across the globe. We caught up with her upon her return from Spain to learn more.
Q: What is your major? Why were you interested in studying engineering?
A: I’m studying general engineering with two minors — one in business administration and one in math. I knew I wanted to add a minor in business because I really enjoy the managerial side of engineering. I’m interested in a job as a medical device sales representative or sales engineer. One particular position I would like allows you to sit in on surgeries and tell the surgeon how to implement medical devices being used during surgery. This position would demand both my engineering and business skill sets.
Q: Are you involved in any student organizations?
A: I’m a Baylor Ambassador. We lobby the state and national governments on behalf of students for Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) money. We also host important individuals on Baylor’s campus. I’m part of a sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and involved in the Society for Women Engineers (SWE). I’m also excited to say that I have been chosen as the student chair of the public exercises committee, so I’ll be the student liaison in charge of helping plan the commencement ceremonies.
Q: You studied abroad in Madrid in 2018. What influenced your decision to study abroad?
A: When I was in my senior year of high school, I found out about the Rotary international exchange program. I looked into it and really wanted to be immersed in another culture, learn a different language and travel. While in Madrid, I lived with a host family, and I became fluent in Spanish. I developed a close relationship with my host family. I never had sisters and now I’m blessed to say I gained three.
That year-long experience gave me the travel bug. I loved the program and loved being abroad. When I talked to my parents about going abroad again, they told me, “if you’re passionate enough about it, we know you’ll put in the work to make it happen.”
Q: How does class structure while studying abroad differ from your experience on Baylor’s campus?
A: Studying abroad, students are encouraged to travel on the weekends, so classes are only Mondays through Thursdays. That was something different for me. In Spain, there are a lot less assignments and homework. The class grades are based more on tests, and the classes are more spread out. All the classes are taught in English, which was surprising.
The students from the U.S. were focused on grades versus the students from Madrid who were not too worried about their grades, just as long as they passed. The students from Madrid wanted to enjoy life and their experiences.
Q: What were your biggest takeaways from your trip?
A: I learned to be more intentional with my time and take advantage of every opportunity that I can without overloading my schedule. There are so many things that I don’t make enough time for. For example, there was a chance to teach English as a second language while I was in Madrid. I was really hesitant at first to do that, but I took advantage of the opportunity. It was one of the best things I’ve done! I made so many friendships with members of the community that I will cherish forever.
Q: Why do you think it’s important that students study abroad given the opportunity?
A: I think the opportunity to be immersed in another culture and to see how other people live is truly incredible.
Another of my favorite experiences was that we were in different countries with complete strangers, and by the end of the trip, my roommates and classmates became my close friends.
I would say to students considering studying abroad, go meet new people, try a new language, try different foods, and just explore the world.