Hi, my name is Kimberly Lutz and I’m an animal sciences senior in the College of Agriculture. Before I came to Purdue, I started researching colleges that had a great college of agriculture as well as a great animal sciences department. And Purdue really fit the bill for both of those so this was the best option for me and I really love it here so I think I made the best decisions for myself. So I’ve had several unique opportunities and experiences here at Purdue. One of the most impactful I would say is my undergraduate research that I’ve conducted under the supervisor Dr. Chris Bidwell. This was a really great experience for me because I’d never done research before. It’s completely different from anything I’d ever done. But I loved it and took to it right away. Studying abroad is the opportunity to go to another country and study at their university and take classes that would be similar to your classes that you would take here at Purdue. There are different types of study abroad programs. That’s not the only style. My personal study abroad experience was more service learning based. So the first time I studied abroad was directly following my freshman year in May of 2011. I took a three week May-mester class in Costa Rica. That was also a service learning based course. The second time I studied abroad was directly following my sophomore year. A May-mester class in 2012 and that was also in Costa Rica, but in Panama as well. Right out of high school I knew that I wanted to study abroad. I love experiencing other cultures and meeting new people and learning about the way that they live. So I knew I wanted to pick a program that also worked with my Spanish minor which is why I chose Costa Rica program. Not only was I able to apply my animal science knowledge, but I was able to speak Spanish as well. So when I went on the May-mester 2012 to Costa Rica, this was our really big service learning trip. Before we went we applied for several grants and won one of them, which was a $10,000 grant to install water filtration systems in one of the rural communities in Costa Rica. So we were able to survey all the homes in that community which was about 150 homes. Collect water samples from that and determine who needed water filtration systems the most. We found out it actually made a huge difference in their water quality. To get a study abroad scholarship meant the world because that would mean less that I would have to pay to go on the trip and less financial stress that I had. So I didn’t have to worry as much about how I was going to finance my trip because of my study abroad scholarship. I would definitely say it opened up my eyes to a completely different culture, a completely different way of living. I had never really been in poverty stricken situations before I left for my study abroad. So it was really eye-opening to live like they were living. So if you’re thinking about study abroad and you’re not really sure, I would say go for it. You’re going to feel the greatest sense of accomplishment when you come back because you can say you have lived and survived overseas. And had a great experience. More than anything you’re really going to feel that sense of accomplishment. It also looks good on resumes and all of that, but it’s more of a personal thing. It was a personal thing with me because I felt so accomplished when I came back to the US and could tell everyone what I did while I was abroad.