Make The Connection

May 15, 2023 | By Marcos Crespo ’23

During her semester studying in Spain, Ohio Wesleyan student and future physician Mo Cartnal ’24 visits the Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite. (Photos courtesy of Mo Cartnal ’24)

Studying in Spain

Ohio Wesleyan Student Explores a World Outside Her Comfort Zone

Mo Cartnal ’24 absorbs Spanish culture during a visit to San Sebastián while studying abroad as part of OWU’s Pamplona Program.

Name: Mo Cartnal ’24
Hometown: Newark, Ohio
Majors: Pre-medicine and Spanish
Minors: Chemistry
High School: Newark High School
OWU Connection Experience: Studying in Spain through OWU’s Pamplona Program at La Institución de Lengua y Cultura Españolas at the University of Navarra

Impacting My Future

“I was very fortunate to have chosen a program that not only allowed me to experience the local culture, but also surrounded me with people from all over the world. The University of Navarra is a very international school, so I met people from many different backgrounds, and this gave me a lot of understanding of different ideas and ways of life that I don’t think I would have gotten without an experience like this.

“I think this understanding will serve me well in my future career in medicine because I will inevitably interact with a variety of people, so being able to have empathy and understanding for different beliefs and practices will help me to help others make the best decisions for their health.”

Navigating on My Own

“I learned so much … but the most notable thing was how I react and cope with being super far outside of my comfort zone. It gave me an opportunity to find more effective ways to cope with being in a new and scary environment, which will definitely come in handy in the future.

“I also learned how independent I can be; I had to navigate quite a lot on my own outside of the systems and daily life that I am used to, and I did it with little to no issues, which is pretty awesome.”

Mo Cartnal ’24 visits the Eiffel Tower in Paris during her spring semester overseas.

Exploring New Perspectives

“I cannot stress enough how I think this really put into perspective for me that there are so many more ways to think about and exist in our world than the ways that I know, and it has given me more understanding of other perspectives.

“I think that these experiences really allow people to step away from their normal life and consider things that they never thought about before, which can allow them to grow in many ways but especially in being more considerate and empathetic.”

Forming Connections

Sarah Gielink, Class of 2019, was one of my professors! She is studying for her doctorate at the University of Navarra! (Gielink is pursuing her doctorate in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language.)

Dr. Paris-Huesca was a huge help to me throughout this experience; we kept in pretty close contact throughout the semester, which I really appreciated and enjoyed. Also, Lisa Ho was incredibly helpful with all of the behind-the-scenes paperwork/stuff before I went -- I truly could not have done it without her -- and she helped me plan a small UK excursion for the end of the semester, which turned out to be really great.”

(Eva Paris Huesca is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures; Ho is assistant director of the Office of International and Off-Campus Programs.)

And Re-Forming Connections

“One of the coolest experiences was going on an excursion to the Baztan Valley, which is where my host mom’s family is from, and going to the bakery/chocolate shop that her family has owned for nearly 100 years. Her cousin owns it now, and when she found out that I was living with that family, she sent me home with a big bag of treats and a letter to give to my host mom. They hadn’t talked in a long time, so it was really cool to be a part of re-forming that connection.”

Why I Chose OWU

“I chose OWU for a few reasons. Firstly, I just felt at home and welcomed on campus from the very first time I was here. Then, I learned about how successful the students that graduate from here go on to be. And finally, I learned about all of the resources and support that are available for students to study abroad.” 

My Plans After Graduation

“I plan on going to medical school. OWU has given me an incredible amount of support and some really amazing opportunities that have helped shape me into the student and young professional that I want to be. I have learned so much, not only in the classroom, but about myself as well, such as the importance of setting goals and prioritizing them, the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities, and the importance of surrounding yourself with people that bring out the best in you.”