By Jamie Lichtenstein, Communications Intern
Kurt Swartz (BS ’18) had never been outside the United States until he landed in Barcelona, Spain for a semester abroad.
“I was incredibly eager to begin exploring cultures,” Swartz said. “I chose the Wake Forest Barcelona program because of the academic options available for business students as well as the incredible reputation Barcelona has as a historical and social hub of Western Europe.”
The program is based at the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s City Center Campus, providing plenty of access to the city of 1.6 million.
Fully immersing himself in Barcelona’s culture, Swartz has had the opportunity to meet locals and gain insight into the fullness of life in Spain. The business & enterprise management major says, “Having the opportunity to talk with individuals from a wide variety of geographical and cultural backgrounds in class and in my travels has had an immense impact on me. I have learned an incredible amount about what it is like to grow up and live in a place outside of the U.S. and have had the chance to learn a great deal about how those from other countries feel about my country as well.”
While the cultural aspects of life in Barcelona have made an impression on him, Swartz says he’ll be bringing a new perspective with him when he returns to the School next semester.
“Having the opportunity to analyze the global role of the United States and its robust, diverse business sector from an outside perspective has been extremely enlightening,” Swartz said. “It is fascinating how much one can learn by distancing his or herself from the center of an entity and examining it from a novel vantage point.”
This new-found sense of understanding is what the School anticipates its students will gain during their time abroad. It is what professors at Wake Forest hope their students will be able to do when they enter the global marketplace: to open their eyes, listen, learn, and adapt.
“There is never a dull moment in Barcelona,” Swartz said. “The city is alive at all points during the day and there are so many places to visit and activities to engage in that boredom is simply not possible.”
Photo courtesy of Kurt Swartz. From left to right: Jason Ye (’18), Kurt Swartz (’18), Jeremy Purchase (’18), and Will Hathaway (’18).