Meg O’Sell, a spring graduate of the Language and International Health program, is our student spotlight in this new feature. Meg has studied and worked abroad in several Spanish-speaking countries, including Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Spain. At the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities spring awards ceremony, Meg received the Language and International Health Award of Excellence in Research, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Award and the Blue Key Academic and Leadership Award. Let’s learn more about her.
Where are you from?
I was born in Davenport, Iowa, and grew up in both Davenport and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just last year my family moved to Clemson.
Why did you select Clemson?
My oldest sister attended Clemson University, so I became familiar with Clemson when my family and I would help her during move-in and visit her for family weekends. I loved the campus, the size, the lake, and the South. I liked that Clemson is large enough so that if I wanted to change majors, it would likely have whatever I would be interested in. Location was also important to me. Even though Clemson was a long way from my parents in Pittsburgh, my mom’s side of the family is just a short drive away in Athens, Georgia. Also, I wanted to escape northern winters and dirty parking lot slush.
What three words describe you best?
Fun, adventurous, easygoing.
Why did you select your major, Language and International Health?
I actually began Clemson as a chemistry major before changing to Language and International Health (L&IH). I am interested in medicine and thought that chemistry would be a good route to medical school. The first semester of my freshman year I decided that because of my strong interest in other cultures, I wanted to find a major that better integrated that with science classes. Thanks to the friendly people in the Michelin Career Center at Clemson University, I found L&IH which is a perfect fit for me. L&IH combines my favorite subjects: Spanish and international health.
Where did you study abroad, and how has this experience shaped your life?
I spent a semester studying in San Jose, Costa Rica, and liked it so much that I extended my stay an extra month. I took health and Spanish classes while also interning at a local medical clinic. I learned a lot from the doctors and nurses at the clinic by observing during consultations, in the emergency room, and going on house calls. I am also grateful to have made some wonderful friends during my time there. I have always been interested in traveling, experiencing new cultures, and practicing my Spanish. Spending so much time with and observing the doctors helped me “confirm” what I plan to do for a living.
What has been your most memorable experience in your major?
My most memorable experience in my major was participating in Creative Inquiries led by Dr. Graciela Tissera. For one of these Creative Inquiries I analyzed a short story by Jorge Luis Borges and its filmic representation and presented my essay at an international Jorge Luis Borges conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Besides attending the conference and being able to hear others’ ideas about works of Borges, Dr. Tissera made sure I experienced the culture of Argentina while there. I explored the city, drank coffee at Café Tortoni, and went to the countryside.
How does knowing a foreign language benefit you?
I have been able to meet, talk with, and get to know so many interesting people because I am able to communicate in Spanish. I believe that knowing another language is so valuable. I value knowing Spanish because of the Spanish-speaking friends I have made. Not only are we able to help and learn from one another, but we also share little things like jokes and laughs.
What are your future plans?
I am currently applying to medical school for admission in fall 2016. This September I am moving to Spain for nine months to help teach English in two public elementary schools.
What interests/hobbies do you have outside of academic work?
I enjoy spending time on the lake, whether it is stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, or just floating. I also like visiting my family in Iowa and Athens and baking with my grandmas. Besides health and Spanish, for fun I like to read about handwriting analysis. I love to travel to see new areas and live like the locals live.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I ride a motorcycle.
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