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Dena Staggs Spotlight

Dena Staggs

Muncie, Indiana

Senior majoring in Spanish and Organizational Communication

Subjects studied: Spanish culture, grammar and conversation

Studying abroad has helped me complete my Spanish major and gain confidence in speaking the language, as well as confidence that when I graduate I will be able to obtain a successful job that utilizes my Spanish. Studying abroad has given me the opportunity to enhance my academic pursuits in various ways. It allowed me to become completely immersed in the language and develop my skills grammatically and orally. I was able to put in to practice what I was learning in the classroom by applying it to my life with my host family and friends that I met.


 With my host mom, Pilar

My study abroad enabled me to experience what people read about in books. I had the opportunity to live with a host family, who shared their lives with me, allowing me to become a part of their family. Studying overseas you are often placed outside of your comfort zone. I gained confidence in myself by being able to adapt to a foreign setting and an environment. I learned that life is about changing and not knowing what is going to happen next, so enjoy the moment and make the best of the situation at hand even when it’s challenging.  

When I first arrived in Spain I was scared to talk to even my host family, but by the end of the trip when my parents came over to visit I was able to escort two non-Spanish-speaking people easily around the country with my improved language skills. 


 On the coast in Santander, my host city

Studying abroad was one of the best opportunities I have had while at Western. I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to go and experience the world. It’s a different place out there and it longs to be discovered by me and you. I have had my chance now and I hope that there are many more people who get to receive grants and scholarships that allow them to study overseas.