Back in March I began my first semester at the Universidad Americana in Paraguay, South America. After four months I've finished the semester and I'm here to share my experiences about studying abroad.
In December of 2017 I flew back to Michigan to spend the holidays with my family. While I was there I had decided to get my GED (General Education Diploma) and graduate from high school. This came about when I decided the high schools in Paraguay just weren't for me. So once I went back to Paraguay I did my research and figured out which university offered the best course for the degree I wanted to study, fashion design.
Sometimes you need to explore all your options to find the right path.
Universidad Americana is one of the top rated universities in Paraguay. Now, if you were coming from the States I would caution to appreciate the quality of the university compared to other ones in Paraguay. It can't compare to the state of the art facilities in the States, but it is a pretty nice university.
There's five floors with classrooms, the design students floor being the fifth. A library, a small food court on both the bottom floor and fourth, and free parking for students in the back.
My experience studying here has overall been very good. The professors have all been very easy to work with, the classes easy to understand, this university was definitely my best choice.
Learning in Spanish
The one thing I was most nervous for when starting was the fact that I would be learning in Spanish. Yes, I did study at a Spanish speaking high school, but this would be my career, I wouldn't be able to slack and procrastinate. I'm pretty sure I almost started crying on the first day but my mom kicked me out of the car before I could. (you can laugh if you want but it was actually really terrifying and most people don't quite go through what I did.)
Beforehand I hadn't toured the university so I had no idea where my classes would be, nor did I know anybody. I get that a lot of people experience this, the beginning of university is scary for everyone, but the fact that it was all in Spanish made me think, "What did I get myself into?" Of course, it never ends up being as bad as you think.
The first week of classes was definitely interesting, meeting new people, introductions, and for me explaining what a 16yr, United States citizen, was doing at a university in Paraguay. At the beginning I was so nervous and felt like I never knew the right words to say to explain my situation, now I just roll with it because I've learned the language a lot better as the months have passed.
Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.
When I was looking into universities I already had an idea of what I wanted to study, fashion design. For me, this career is something I not only enjoy but is also easy for me to understand in Spanish. At the time I began classes my Spanish was lacking in the fact that I was shy to speak. So taking a career like fashion design was an easy choice because I've always been into fashion and art. And since I knew the most of the terminology in English, it was easy to understand it in Spanish.
Fashion design isn't a common course to take in Paraguay. As far as I'm aware only two universities offer it as a career. But even so, the classes were surprisingly good considering it's a newer career offered in Paraguay. Since it's only been the first semester we haven't done much of actual designing, but we have already sown our own skirt. My class of molderia (creating the patterns for clothing) is probably the closest class to actual fashion design. The other classes have more or less focused on building basic skills.
Will I Continue?
As i've been considering all my options, for the next coming semester I will be taking a break from university. Opportunities have come up where I need to focus my attention on other things that are important to me. It has also become a matter of what's going to make me the happiest, which is what I'll be trying to figure out on this break.
However, since moving countries, it's made me want to experience even more of the world. So for now the future isn't set for me. Maybe in the future I'll decide to move to another country to finish my degree, or I could end up finishing my four years in Paraguay. For me, the future is open with many possibilities.