Beyond the Classroom: Studying Abroad in Spain

Kristina Martzke (right) with her classmate, Emalie

Beyond the Classroom: Studying Abroad in Spain

Semester-long program gave Kristina Martzke the opportunity she was looking for to expand her language skills and find adventure

| By: Britten, Casey

Shawano native Kristina Martzke has always wanted to see the world. As a child, she pored over photos on Pinterest and felt a growing sense of wanderlust. So when it came time to go to college, studying abroad was high on her list of musts.

She came to FVTC to start her education in Nursing, earning general education credits as well as her Nursing Assistant technical diploma. As a student here, she also took advantage of a semester-long study abroad that took her to Sevilla, Spain during the spring of 2023. It’s part of an international studies consortium called the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP), and Kristina was the first FVTC student to participate in this program.

In addition to learning Spanish, she experienced the culture, earned 18 credits toward a Spanish certificate, and travelled to places like Morocco, Ibiza, Portugal and France. Kristina now lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is continuing her journey of becoming a nurse.

How did you decide you wanted to take part in this experience?

I knew for most of my life I wanted to study abroad. I knew that I had to see the world, and travelling became one of the most important things to me. Once I started college—being a young adult and not knowing how to proceed or what to move forward with—I had a sense I needed to see more of the world and live in a different culture before I should make any decisions. I wanted to learn Spanish for its versatility, especially in the United States, so I went with the program in Sevilla. 

Where did you stay primarily during this experience? Where else did you travel?

During my time in Sevilla, I stayed with a host family. I lived with another student in my program (Emalie, pictured in yellow dress) and two house-moms who were sisters. They were amazing people and great chefs. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel a lot during my time abroad. Many trips were included in the program, such as trips all around the south of Spain, and a trip to Morocco. Additionally, I visited Ibiza, Portugal, and Paris.

What was the most memorable experience for you?

One of the more memorable experiences was a trip to the Sahara Desert. We loaded up into a tour bus and travelled from Spain to southern Morocco, where the Sahara begins. It was amazing to be able to see so much of a country, and the Sahara was incredible. We rode camels to our camp, where we stayed the night. There was incredible food and a drum circle around the campfire. When we woke up, we rode the camels back to civilization, and you could see numerous tracks in the sand from all the animals that only come out during the night. 

What do you hope to do upon completion of your program? What are your career goals?

Upon completion of my program, I will be a registered nurse. I then want to continue my education and earn a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery. I am passionate about holistic healthcare, the intersections of spirituality and medicine, and women's health. I hope to become a midwife that cares for my patients throughout their whole lives, helps build community through my practice, incorporates herbal and spiritual medicine into my practice, and helps educate my patients about their bodies and healthcare so they can have agency over their health. 

Learn more about the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP) program at

Study Abroad with FVTC

While Kristina’s program spanned an entire semester, most FVTC study abroad programs are weeklong excursions. Destinations have included England, Ireland, Guatemala, The Bahamas and more.

Not only does the experience provide students with experiences that will last a lifetime, but it also gives students an edge over other candidates in their career fields. It allows students to learn invaluable intercultural skills to successfully work with diverse individuals that are highly sought after in all career fields.

Learn more about FVTC study abroad opportunities >>