December 2, 2020

HHS Graduate Studies Abroad in Europe

Jessica~Written by Jessica McQuain

I imagine that a baby kangaroo inside of its mother’s pouch must feel the same way I felt while growing up in Heard County. Everything is cozy; everything is familiar.

In a small town, you know everyone and everyone knows you. Life is simple, the world is small, and you are rarely outside of your comfort zone.

For many people, this is the life they enjoy and the life they choose to continue after high school.

For me, I always dreamed of seeing the world and living in the city. This past spring, I had the chance to do exactly that for five amazing months.

After starting at Georgia College in Milledgeville in the fall of 2012 I continued to pursue the study of Spanish, just like I started back at good old Heard County High School.

Through my studies I was introduced to the many opportunities that my college offers to go abroad. I decided to take a risk and spend a semester studying Spanish literature in Almeria, Spain.

At first, I was slightly terrified. Could I survive on another continent? What about my family? As the time grew nearer to leave the United States, my anxiety turned to anticipation. What cool new friends would I make? What national monuments would I visit? After a tearful goodbye at the airport, I was off to experience a whole new world.

I will be honest, the first couple of weeks abroad were tough. After that initial adjustment, my eyes were opened to many new cultures and ways of life.

I got to travel around Spain, I was able to visit Portugal, and I had a breathtaking trip to Belgium with my two best friends. Drinking in the Spanish sunset while sitting on shore of the Mediterranean Sea is an experience I will never forget.

While I will always appreciate the lessons that small town life taught me, I absolutely recommend that any student who has the opportunity to study abroad take full advantage of it.

There are so many amazing programs out there and they are willing to help you find the perfect way to experience something new. Additionally, there are many scholarships to help alleviate the costs.

Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary, but the payoff is unbelievable. As they say, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.


  1. glad you enjoyed your visit……….

  2. Wylene Spearman, teacher at HHS says

    Go for it, girl! Enjoy life! The world is yours to explore!

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