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Ogden Honors College Student Adapts to Local Lifestyles in Madrid

Henry Kantrow Studying Abroad for a Year
Ogden Honors College Student Adapts to Local Lifestyles in Madrid

Granada, Spain

Second-year student, Henry Kantrow, is participating in the second theme emphasized in the Ogden Honors College’s four-year curriculum: expanding his perspectives and developing personal independence by living and studying abroad.

The College “strongly encourages students to push their limits and leave their comfort zone behind to study abroad” according to Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. That’s exactly what Kantrow is doing in Spain this year.

Kantrow, a Chemical Engineering major and LSU Presidential Alumni Scholar, is studying at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid. One of the main differences he’s encountered is the time he has to get up for class: instead of beginning 7:30 a.m. sharp, he says that in Madrid it is rare to find any store, restaurant, or university building open before 9:30 a.m. 

“The lifestyle feels a lot more laid back and social here, which I really enjoy,” Kantrow said.

A typical school day for Kantrow begins with a 45-minute train ride around 9 a.m. to the university, where he studies Physics and Material Sciences, French, and Spanish. However, the humanities school (where he attends language courses) and the engineering school are on different campuses. So, Kantrow typically catches a bus to ride about 30 minutes between each campus. His classes end at 7 p.m., with labs often ending at 9 p.m. On weekends, Kantrow said he enjoys taking trips outside of Madrid to the mountains or to smaller towns in Spain.

“The Ogden Honors College gave me the motivation to make sure I was able to have this experience and helped me in sorting out my course approvals prior to leaving LSU,” Kantrow said. “I also got some great career advice from Dr. Drew Arms and Ms. Cindy Seghers on how my plans to study abroad would fit into my overall career goals as a way to prepare me for potentially working or studying abroad later in life and to just make me more internationally-minded.” 

Kantrow is currently considering pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and anticipates doing research abroad. “Likewise, if I do end up working in industry, I’ve known lots of young engineers who have gone to work abroad for a couple years,” he said. “Having this experience in Madrid has been to prepare me for those possibilities and also to help me determine where I see myself long-term.”

Despite how intimidating it was to move to a foreign country for a year, alone and without knowing the language, Kantrow says that the experience has grown his independence. From this experience, he’s made friends from all across the world, and been pushed to improve his language skills.

“The best decision I made in the study abroad process was getting in contact with people who had done these types of programs before, and meeting with advisors from Engineering and the Honors College to help sort things out,” Kantrow said. “My biggest advice would be to use your resources, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Kantrow said that living independently in Spain has given him the confidence to work abroad or wherever his engineering career may take him, but that in leaving, he realized how much he valued home and family.

“Though I’ve enjoyed it here, I think it has also taught me the importance of family and friends back home,” Kantrow said. “Because of this, I’ve learned that although I could see myself working abroad for some period of time, my heart still lies in Louisiana.”

See photos of Henry’s adventures in Spain here:

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Madrid, Spain
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Segovia, Spain
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Toulouse, France
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Gaudix, Spain
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Valencia, Spain