The University of Iowa

Study abroad considered 'best experience of my time as an undergraduate'

February 19th, 2021

Lyndi Kiple, undergraduate student from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, through IES during the Spring 2019 semester. Kiple feels her time abroad provided the best experience of her undergraduate career. Scholarship funding helped to ease the financial burdens to allow her to maximize her time in Barcelona. Read more below.  

Lyndi Kiple in Barcelona, Spain

Lyndi Kiple in Barcelona, Spain

From your personal website, Chem Conservator, it looks like you are shaping your education to prepare you for a career in protecting history through science. Can you tell us more about this?

I’ve tailored my undergraduate education into an interdisciplinary path of study that will prepare me to be a scientist who works at a museum to analyze and preserve artifacts. My major is chemistry to arm me with the scientific background and analytical techniques necessary for this work. During my time abroad I did not take any chemistry courses, but I took a class that taught me about articulating science to society and courses for my art history minor. I’m also getting a museum studies certificate. This unique path of study gives me academic experience in the multiple disciplines I will encounter in my future career.

How did your study abroad experience contribute to your preparation for a career in protecting history through science? 

The art history class I took on 20th century Spanish painters like Picasso and Dali helped me explore modern art conservation and the challenges that scientists and museum professionals are working together to solve. Additionally, living in a city with so much history, exploring Roman archaeological sites, and seeing history preserved and alive as I traveled helped me realize how important it is to make history accessible for future generations. Physical history was so much more apparent to me throughout Europe, and it helped me solidify the need for my work in the field.

You did a homestay as part of your study abroad experience—what was that like?

Living in a homestay really made Barcelona feel like home. I would commute every morning and come home after classes to a space that felt like my own. My homestay had an amazing terrace where I spent as much time as I could. I worked out and studied there. The fresh air, the frequent sunshine, and the view of the city was unparalleled. Eating dinner every night with my host mom and American roommates was so special. I loved trying the authentic Spanish “weeknight dinners” and watching the evening news and game shows (in Spanish, of course). It helped me settle into a normal life for the months I was there.

Image of Lyndi Kiple in Barcelona, Spain

Do you have a favorite memory or two from your time in Barcelona?

I planned “Sunday Funday” excursions for myself where I would visit a couple museums, shops, and restaurants each Sunday. It was such a fun way to explore the city, hit the best spots, and find hidden gems. Those were some of the best days eating new foods and discovering new places.

How did you grow personally as a result of your study abroad experience?

The night I arrived in Barcelona, I called my mom absolutely sobbing. I was in a completely new place, alone, and admittedly jet lagged. I didn’t know how I was going to handle the next four months. After that night, I don’t think I ever felt like that again. I eased my way into the city and by the end of the semester I felt like somewhat of a local. I developed the confidence to adapt to a new way of life and explore a new place on my own. Now that I’ve conquered that, I feel like I can do anything. 

Do you plan to visit Barcelona again in the future?

My sister is planning to study abroad in Spain next year so I’m planning to go visit her and show her around Barcelona. I can’t wait to be back, and I know it will feel just like home.

"Living abroad was the best experience of my time as an undergraduate. It’s so different than a semester on campus, so much more personally enriching, and truly unforgettable."

Do you have any advice for UI students thinking about study abroad?

Do it! Just go! It’s definitely scary and unknown but figuring it all out is so rewarding. Living abroad was the best experience of my time as an undergraduate. It’s so different than a semester on campus, so much more personally enriching, and truly unforgettable.

Did you receive scholarship funding to help support your study abroad experience?

Yes, I was awarded the Stanley Merit-Based Study Abroad Scholarship and an automatic scholarship from IES. Additionally, I was able to apply all my regular semester scholarships toward my study abroad tuition. I am so grateful for the financial support from those scholarships. The support helped me to just focus on my experience abroad without worrying about finances. The scholarships made it possible for me to make the most out of my time in Barcelona.


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