Studying Abroad as a First-Generation College Student: A Journey

Jaime Ramos ’18 majored in communications and minored in Spanish at Elizabethtown College. While at E-town, Jaime was a mentor for the College’s first-generation student program – Momentum, a campus tour guide, and a dancer.

The first time Jaime told his mother about studying abroad she said no. As a first generation college student, Jaime was expecting this response. His mother was not well versed on programs such as study abroad and after much convincing, Jaime received his mother’s blessing.

The blessing was under one small condition – he would have to finance the trip on his own. He immediately spoke with his academic advisor and created a plan. At this time, he was a sophomore in his fall semester hoping to travel aboard in the spring of his junior year.

After creating a plan, he had to choose a country. Since he wanted to improve his Spanish, Jaime met with his advisor and she helped him to choose which Spanish speaking country was best fit for his goals. His heart was soon set on going to Spain.

During the application process, Jaime became very overwhelmed. There was a vast amount of paperwork. As his mother was still nervous about his travels abroad, she was hesitant to help him. He had no one to turn to help him with applying for a passport or visa, because no one in his family had ever done it.

Although he considered withdrawing his application, he remembered how much work he had put into this point and completed the paperwork. He was soon accepted into BCA Valladolid, Spain program.  His family celebrated his acceptance through music, dancing, and food. Jaime’s mother finally gave him her full support, telling him how proud she was and how he needed to represent his culture with pride, while abroad.

In Spain, Jaime lived with a host family, attended flamenco dance classes, and traveled throughout Europe. His time abroad truly inspired him and upon returning to the US, he applied for a Fulbright scholarship or to enter Peace Corps. After choosing the Peace Corps, he was accepted into the program. For the next two years, he’ll be serving as a Peace Corps youth developer in Peru. He’ll be helping junior high-aged students build life skills. This accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without studying abroad.

Studying abroad allowed Jaime to focus on himself and the person he wanted to become. He was able to reflect on his life, become independent, and find his true passions.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the Valladolid, Spain program and to read Jaime’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on May 2, 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: