Nell Shea '20

Nell Shea '20

Eliot House
Social Studies
Nell Shea '20

Ask me about studying abroad in the southern hemisphere!

Because I went abroad…

I found balance. Around the time my peers started returning to school and I was left at home waiting for my departure date, I started to get nervous. The idea of taking classes in a foreign language, missing out on all of the memories those close to me would make without me, and furthermore not having the ability to return for summer had me worried. It was not always easy, and yet I found myself ending this semester more grounded. I continued to do what was most important to me: explore beautiful landscapes and spend time with friends and family - including the four grandchildren of my host family. I felt time expand; I thought more deeply about the subjects I was studying, and reflected on my own experiences and values. And, despite my fears of “missing out” I found my relationships with those I am closest to deepen in unique ways. Studying abroad has not left me isolated from the world that continued on without me. Rather, I know I will go into my senior year knowing what and who is most important to me.

Ask me about….

  • Applying to thesis grants and finding a thesis advisor while abroad
  • Attending classes in a foreign language 
  • Having a southern hemisphere schedule (March-July)
  • Solo travel as a woman 
  • Playing club level sports abroad
  • Living with a host family

Study Abroad Highlights…

  • Taking a Spanish language course in a Spanish-speaking country allowed me the space to ask questions, review and learn new grammar that I would put into practice the same day and understand cultural and regional specific aspects of the language I had previously not explored. While my “classroom” Spanish certainly improved, I also learned about the roots of “chilenismos” in indigenous languages of Quechua and Mapudungun (among others), broadening and deepening my understanding of the Chilean dialect. 
  • As part of the CASA proseminar and a historical memory fellow, I had the opportunity to take my learning outside of the classroom. This year, the CASA-Santiago theme was collective memory. We visited memory sites Villa Grimaldi and the Estádio Nacional, former detention centers during the Pinochet Dictatorship, and the ESMA in Buenos Aires. While both are valuable, it is one thing to read about history in a text book and another to stand in the place where it took place. I found this aspect of the proseminar profoundly moving as well as crucial to my academic experience. 
  • My course on Latin American history in a classroom of students from across the Americas was a truly unique experience. With around 72 students, the conversation was always lively, with students enthusiastically offering their own (often contradicting) opinions and in a way I haven’t seen in a class of that size at Harvard. 
  • Living in a home stay allowed me the unique experience of fully immersing myself in both Chilean and culture and Spanish. Over long dinners my host father told me personal stories from his life and the lives of his parents, giving me an intimate retelling of a century of Chilean history unachievable in a classroom.

Other International Experience...

  • Summer 2018: High School Summer Program Teaching Assistant, Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Nafplio, Greece 
  • Summer 2018: Internship at American Space in Valencia, Spain


People Terms

Student Advisers House