Study Abroad Series: Featuring Dillon Sawyer
April 4, 2017 • 198 views
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A passion for traveling and a love for experiencing new cultures and traditions is one way to describe Pace junior Dillon Sawyer.
Sawyer studied abroad in the fall of 2015 in Bilbao, Spain and already has plans to study abroad next fall in Florence, Italy.
The hospitality and tourism management major chose Bilbao for the International Business program the school offered as well as the intensive Spanish language program that helped him learn the language.
“Classes abroad for me weren’t too different from my courses here at Pace; they were all relatively small, maximum of 30 students,” Sawyer said. “My Spanish courses were even smaller with a group of only 12, allowing for a very personal relationship with each other and our professor. I felt I formed very strong bonds with my professors and to this day would feel comfortable reaching out to them with any questions I may have regarding my academic, professional, and personal life.”
Sawyer’s favorite memory while in Spain was Halloween weekend when he and friends traveled to Barcelona, which has a great bar scene and places to go dancing and meet people. Sawyer met a Barcelona local that he instantly connected with.
“This friendship has endured time and distance in that we are still very close today,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer traveled to many different cities including Barcelona and Madrid while in Spain. He also traveled throughout Europe to France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
“Over our long winter holiday, my friend Halle and I went to Amsterdam for a quick day and then continued to take the train to Dusseldorf, Germany, one of the more random yet incredible cities I’ve ever been to,” Sawyer said. “I highly recommend trekking to the top of the Rheinturm, similar to the Space Needle here in the states.”
Sawyer’s biggest challenge abroad was realizing that all good things must come to an end and he would have to return home. He cherishes the memories of living abroad in the prime of his youth without a care in the world other than planning his next weekend trip.
He got to experience the different cultures throughout Spain’s cities, especially where he lived.
“The Basque culture, of which I lived in the capital of, was incredibly unique given that they are their own people of Spain,” Sawyer said. “Spain is very divided culturally speaking and the Basque are no exception. Their culture is so antiquated it’s rather beautiful how devoted they are to their history.”
Sawyer would recommend studying abroad until the day he dies. He describes it as a unique experience that offers young adults the ability to grow into the person they truly are. He believes that studying abroad allows one to develop their own personal identity that is shaped by something no one you have grown up with can influence.