Hola! Dumelang! Habari gani?
I just gave greetings in the three languages that I have a working understanding of. None of this knowledge would have been possible without studying abroad, which is why I am such a huge advocate of “taking on your world” outside of the country! But first, let me back up and introduce myself properly.
My name is Andi Utter. I hail from a small dot on the map known as Eureka, Montana, and my family has lived there for several decades. I’m a senior (May 2020) studying Environmental Science and Policy. I chose to study ENSP because I took this wonderful class in high school as part of the International Baccalaureate program called Environmental Systems and Societies, and as a part of that class we did a lot of citizen science work for Glacier National Park. We caught dragonfly larvae for Mercury testing, in addition to projects about mountain goat counting in the park. This sparked my interest in this branch of science, mainly because it is so relevant to our everyday existence! I chose St. Edward’s because of the generous scholarship assistance in addition to the small campus with a friendly teacher to student ratio. What I found here was so much more, especially when it came to opportunities to go abroad!
My sister served as my original inspiration to go abroad because I had asked her “What was your biggest regret from college,” and the response was “I didn’t study abroad.” I told myself that will not be me, I’m simply too curious.
It started with going to study food justice and production in Costa Rica, traveling to San Jose, Volcano Irizu, and a coffee plantation. After all of my classmates left, I decided to stay and volunteer with a turtle conservation group in the small town of Osteonal, in a wildlife refuge. My host family helped me to improve my language skills in Spanish, mainly because no one knew a whiff of English!