Profile: Iona Feldman '17
Majors: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Study Abroad Program: DIS Copenhagen, Denmark
Current job: Working as an English language teaching assistant at a high school in Murcia, Spain, while pursuing a master’s in secondary school education at University of Murcia in Murcia, Spain.
Why did you originally choose to study abroad in Copenhagen? Interest in Scandinavian society, especially around social welfare and environmental sustainability. Desire to connect with social justice activism in Europe.
What have you been up to since graduation? Remained in Boston for about a year and a half, involved in different social justice organizations in the city, such as Boston Food not Bombs. Eventually found temporary work at BC’s study abroad office, and later at BU’s summer term office. Then, I found out about the opportunity to move to Spain to teach English, with the language assistant’s program. For the last three years, I have been doing that, and traveling around Spain and Europe during my vacations.
What lessons or skills did you learn from studying abroad that you still think about today or still impact you today on your current path? First of all, study abroad experience (as well as languages studied while abroad), can definitely be a boost for your resumé. I believe that my study abroad experience helped me get the jobs that I had in the U.S. after graduating, without which I wouldn’t have gotten on the life trajectory that I am on now. More broadly, my advice for anyone who hasn’t yet had a chance to live outside of the United States is to DEFINITELY take that opportunity. Once you learn to look at the world from a lens that is different from that of this one country, there are a lot of things you notice more.
One memory from abroad that still feels like it happened yesterday: One of my last nights in Copenhagen, at Bolsjefabrikken, an autonomous cultural space in an abandoned warehouse. I went to a musical evening there with some of the local friends that I made that semester… and there was an invitation to participate. I took out my recorder, and together with the two guys playing guitar on the stage, and together with members of the audience, we played and sang the Italian antifascist anthem “Bella Ciao.” It was almost exactly six years ago [In 2015] from this day [this response was written in December 2021]. Since then, I have returned to Europe and visited many more countries, but I haven’t had a chance to return to Denmark yet… I hope to be able to soon, that country will always have a place in my heart.
Your message to students thinking about studying abroad: Go for it! Study in a country that is unfamiliar to you, but you are very interested in. If the main language in that country is not English, study it! Even if most people in the city you’re going to be in have a good level of English, learning the local language is really key to having a more profound experience. Try to meet local people, whether natives of that country, or other folks with international backgrounds who have moved to this country. Don’t be afraid to go to places where other study abroad students in your program don’t go.
“Study in a country that is unfamiliar to you, but you are very interested in. If the main language in that country is not English, study it!”
Iona Feldman '17