Nursing student studies abroad

Nursing student Courtney Mellinger does not want to be limited in her nursing profession.

Mellinger, who is pursuing a Spanish minor, wants to become a pediatric nurse. Mellinger also wants to learn to speak fluent Spanish.

“Becoming fluent in Spanish is one of my career goals,” Mellinger said. “It would allow me to help a wider range of children and possibly practice nursing in different Spanish-speaking countries around the world.”

Mellinger is studying abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico for the fall semester. The classes will help hercomplete her Spanish minor.

Instead of staying in a dorm-like setting in Mexico, Mellinger is staying with a host family.

“(Living with a host family) has been so great to practice the language and learn about the culture through them,” Mellinger said. “They are so welcoming and they treat me like I’m part of the family.”

Mellinger said the biggest culture shock to her was the use of time in Mexico.

“Time is not of such high importance here as it is in the United States,” Mellinger said. “If an event or a get-together starts at 7 pm, it is completely normal for people to start showing up around 7:45 or 8 pm.”

Mellinger said the culture difference was frustrating at first, but she learned to adjust as well as rethink how concerned with time she is in her daily life.

“I was a little frustrated with this in the beginning, because my Mexican friends would always be so late to pick me up or meet me somewhere,” Mellinger said. “I understand now that this is the Mexican lifestyle and it has actually helped me become a little more laid-back and less dependent on the clock.”

Mellinger believes the things she has learned by just living in Mexico cannot be emulated in Spanish classes in the United States.

“By coming to Mexico and immersing myself in the language and culture, I have developed a greater appreciation for the language,” Mellinger said. “I have also learned more colloquial phrases and have gotten a sense of how people actually speak in everyday life.”