Fletcher Battles (Student)
Taking part in Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls is one of the many highlights Fletcher Battles experienced during his Mississippi State study-abroad experience this summer in Spain.
A fifth-year international business/finance and Spanish major at the university, Battles had journeyed to the Iberian Peninsula to study and further develop his fluency in the native language.
“I learned a lot just getting out on my own and testing myself and using the Spanish language,” said the Birmingham, Alabama resident. “I would have to ask for directions, bargain with street vendors and just talk with everyday people.”
“That was the best part, just getting out and experiencing the people and the culture,” he added.
Over a two-month stay, Battles lived with a single house mother with whom he grew very close.
“She didn’t speak a lick of English, but she was great,” he said. “She called me son, cooked for me and even washed my clothes. She was like a second mom.”
In addition to native grammar and composition, the MSU President’s Scholar also expanded his knowledge and appreciation for Spain’s ancient culture. During free time, he also visited eight other countries on the continent.
While it would have been nice to extend the Spanish sojourn, Battles said he chose to return home and immediately begin saving for the next foreign adventure.
During the fall semester, he has been sharing his experiences with other students while serving as a Study Abroad Ambassador. He also is a College of Business Ambassador.
Outside of class, Battles works as a student supervisor at the Sanderson Center. Earlier, he completed an internship with the FedEx Corp. Following graduation in December, he will begin working fulltime as a financial analyst with International Paper Co. in Memphis, Tennessee.
Even though studying abroad was a requirement of his specific academic major, Battles said he regularly recommends an overseas experience to other students expressing an interest. He also explains how MSU helps with the application process and provides scholarships to help cover costs.
To those who might wish to follow his example, Battles offers some simple tips born of experience.
“Go in with an open mind and totally immerse yourself in the culture. Speak the language, eat the food and go to the festivals because once you do it, you will look back on it and realize what a cool experience it was.”