Preeta William will say ‘adiós’ to the United States this summer to immerse herself in the language, culture and art of Spain.
William was recently announced as one of six recipients of the spring-summer 2015 scholarship from the Foundation for Global Scholars (FGS). The award, valued at $2,000, is given to students to fund a prospective study abroad experience.
Originally from Elizabethtown, Pa., William is currently a senior at Millersville University studying graphic and interactive design. She will travel to Barcelona in July to further her knowledge of the artistic heritage in the country of Spain.
“The overarching reason I wanted to study abroad was to experience cultural assimilation–what it is like to have to adjust to a new country, culture and language,” William said. “My parents were immigrants, but I’ve never gone through the experiences they did. So, I knew I wanted to go somewhere that would push me out of my comfort zone and somewhere I would really get to experience a completely different culture.”
Choosing her destination of Spain was initially influenced by her love for Spanish soccer, specifically the rivalry between the Barcelona and Real Madrid teams. However, William became certain of her choice after she watched the experiences of a close friend who has lived and worked in Honduras for the past two years.
“It’s inspiring to talk to her-seeing her fluency in the Spanish language and all of the relationships and the good work she’s done by breaking down a language barrier,” William said. “It was after talking with her that I realized I wanted to be able to connect with people on the level that she was, so I decided to start studying Spanish again and work toward fluency. Since several of my friends had studied in Spain and had experienced tremendous language improvement, I focused on Spain as well.”
The skills and experiences William gains from the trip will continue to influence her long after it ends. When she returns, she plans to volunteer with Church World Services in Lancaster to help a Cuban refugee family adjust to life in the area, allowing her an opportunity to use the knowledge of language she gains while in Barcelona. While she has plans to eventually pursue jobs in the interactive design field, William is also interested in discovering opportunities that will take her internationally, specifically where knowing the Spanish language will help her.
The mission of the Foundation for Global Scholars award is to inspire and equip young adults to tackle global challenges with international experience, leadership skills and cultural competence. FGS has awarded more than $1,750,000 in study abroad scholarships to over 1,700 students since 2007.