Study Abroad Experience – Kate Poltrack

BHS Senior Kate Poltrack shares about her study abroad experience this summer in Chile. Kate was one of two BHS students who received a $2500 sponsorship from BCEF, thanks to the newly created Andy Koors Legacy Fund. This is just one way BCEF provides opportunities that go beyond the basics at BCSC.

“This summer I was very fortunate to have had the incredible opportunity to travel to Chile with IUHPFL (Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Language). Originally when I became interested in IUHPFL, I learned that for Spanish students, there were 3 options of countries to travel to: Spain, Mexico, and Chile. I made the choice to go to Chile because I think that I will someday have the opportunity to travel to and tour Spain and Mexico, and maybe even study there, but the opportunity to travel to Chile could be once in a lifetime. I also was interested in learning more about South America, because I feel as though it is almost forgotten by much of the world and I knew it would be very interesting and different to experience.
I decided that I wanted to participate in IUHPFL because, although I love Batesville, I want to explore the world, and I do not want to live my entire life in the same small town. I love teaching others and believe I am interested in education as a career. My dream is to join the Peace Corps after I graduate from college and travel to a Spanish speaking country to teach English as a second language. I thought that this program seemed like a great way to jumpstart my life abroad and help me prepare for my future career by allowing me to learn a lot of Spanish that I will someday use every day.
My trip to Chile made it clear for me that I would like to continue to study Spanish in college, and as of right now I plan on minoring in it. I would love to go back and visit Chile someday, as I love the culture, people, and honestly everything about the country. My host family was amazing, and living with them was my favorite part of the program. I am so thankful for the opportunity and I know I am very lucky to have been able to spend six weeks studying abroad before I even graduate from high school. I had this opportunity in large part due to the generous scholarship donated by BCEF through the Andy Koors Legacy Fund. I am so thankful for the scholarship that I received and cannot express enough gratitude to BCEF for making my trip possible.
While I was in Chile I had many amazing experiences. Not only did I learn a lot about the Spanish language and culture, but I learned a lot about myself. With the IUHPFL program, all of the students took an exam at the beginning and the end of the program so that we could gauge our improvement in the language. My exam score jumped tremendously from the first week to the sixth, and I went from basically not being able to understand anything my first few days, to understanding almost everything by the last few. While I enjoyed my experience thoroughly, I did experience a little bit of homesickness in the middle of the program, because I was only able to email my family and friends once a week and felt disconnected from life back home. This feeling allowed me to have a greater appreciation for life in Batesville and taught me to enjoy life while I have what I have. I now realize that as I start my senior year in just one week, I need to cherish all of the time that I have in Batesville with my family and the friends I have grown up with, because in just 1 short year we will all go our separate ways. High school seniors are always told to cherish their last year at home, but I feel as though I have a deeper understanding of this fact due to my IUHPFL experience.
I am very happy that I had the opportunity to travel to Chile with IUHPFL and I am so thankful that BCEF made my experience possible. I learned so much about the Spanish language, about myself and my future plans, and about the country of Chile. My experience was everything that I dreamed it would be and more.”

Katherine Poltrack