By Kistler Hunt
Honors College senior Emma Denton studied abroad from May 21 to June 18, 2023, in Sevilla, Spain. As an exercise science major, Denton took classes that fit well within her major coursework, including sports medicine and sports nutrition. She studied at the Sevilla center of CEA CAPA, a study abroad institute.
Denton explained that the Honors College’s international education requirement compelled her to attend App State. She reflected that a previous trip abroad, “opened my eyes to the importance of not only learning about different cultures but experiencing them. It brings a greater appreciation and a deeper understanding of people outside our own small bubble of existence,” motivating her to engage in such experiences again.
Denton highlighted her Honors College seminars as a vital resource that prepared her for her time abroad. She stated that her seminars, “have broadened my perspective in many ways and have taught me to consider things critically and respectfully. I believe that this perspective is perfect for entering a new country and experiencing a new culture.”
Denton’s desire to learn more about new cultures inspired her to go to Spain. She said, “I chose Spain because I knew I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before and challenge myself to learn about a country and culture that I knew little to nothing about.” In addition, the coursework she took while at CEA CAPA “fit perfectly into my graduation plan.” While abroad, Denton traveled, taking trips throughout Spain to Cadíz, Córdoda, and Granada, as well as to Albufeira and Lagos, Portugal.
While in Sevilla, Denton’s class in sports nutrition focused on the Mediterranean diet, which is common in Sevilla. The course explained how the Mediterranean diet benefits athletes and offered insight into sports nutrition at large. This coursework and her study abroad experience greatly broadened her perspectives, both in general, and with respect to her field of study. She learned tangible, and as she noted, “invaluable,” lessons, which she has brought back to the United States. Denton shared, “From this time abroad specifically, I learned that it is so important to enter a new culture with a posture of openness to learn and an appreciation for being taught and shared with. On another note, I learned the importance of learning about subjects related to your future vocation from different cultural perspectives! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about sports nutrition from the view of a Mediterranean diet.”
Denton plans to graduate in May of 2024. She is currently in the process of preparing and writing her thesis, which is chaired by Dr. Rebecca Battista, professor in the Department of Public Health and Exercise Science. For her thesis, she is using data from the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) to comparatively analyze physical activity trends related to outdoor play in childcare centers across North Carolina. After graduation, Denton plans to apply to Doctorate of Physical Therapy programs. She appreciated the opportunity to learn about the physical therapy profession while in Spain. About her time abroad and upcoming graduation, Denton concluded,
“My experience has caused me to have a more well-rounded view of life and therefore a more complete view of my education and the importance of perspectives outside of my own.”
Top photo features Denton at Setas de Sevilla, a popular wood sculpture in Sevilla, Spain. Photo submitted.