Kelsey Salerno

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Greensburg

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Kelsey Salerno’s international experience was jam-packed with traveling and things to do and see. To start, she lived in the city center of Spain. Kelsey stayed with a mom, Cari, who she adored. Even though Kelsey’s mom didn’t speak English and Kelsey didn’t speak Spanish as well as she would have liked, the two were able to communicate. Some ways that the pair were able to overcome the language barrier was by Kelsey just trying to speak the language, using a dictionary or Google translator. Kelsey met Cari’s family, including her sister, her daughter, her grandson and son-in-law, which was nice because it was like having a second mom and family. A benefit to having a mom who didn’t speak English was that she was able to practice Spanish more, to enjoy authentic home cooked meals, and to experience living how a typical Spaniard lives. To further integrate herself, Kelsey also did an exchange that allowed her to become friends with a local girl named Carla. The hardest thing for Kelsey was mastering the language. Kelsey learned that Spanish in her classes back in America were nothing like the real world. While in class, it seems as if Kelsey knew her material and vocabulary and how to conjugate verbs, however, Kelsey found that actually going out and speaking with other people was more difficult than anticipated. At first Kelsey felt self-conscious about conversing with native speakers, however, she quickly learned that if she wanted to learn Spanish she needed to talk to people more.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: After School Program

For her CEE, Kelsey decided what part of our community would benefit most and what they would benefit most from. She decided to work in a group and teach middle school about the everyday life styles of people in the countries. The next step was to find an After School Program to work with.They gave the kids passports and stamp them as if they were traveling. This made the kids very excited. Then Kelsey presented about Spain. Throughout the presentation they asked the kids different questions so they could be active and many of them answered. The kids also asked the group many questions throughout as well. At the end, they gave the kids mango smoothies, from Costa Rica, then a typical tapa from Spain, which was ham, cheese, and bread. They also gave the kids postcards so they could write down the things they learned that day.