Blog Post

Reflections from our Founder

Linguistic Horizons students with Founder, Nicole Berry, at Machu Picchu

My name is Nicole Berry; and, I’m the Founder of Linguistic Horizons. It’s hard to believe that this year my first child, Linguistic Horizons, turned 10 years old. We have officially completed our first decade of organizing life changing experiences abroad. It’s been an incredible journey! The idea to start Linguistic Horizons all started with my own study abroad experience in Spain.

My Study Abroad Experience

When I was studying International Business at San Diego State University, I spent a year studying abroad in La Coruña, Spain. My year abroad completely changed the course of my life. That year, I ultimately became fluent in Spanish. Reaching fluency involved countless uncomfortable moments lost in translation as I struggled to communicate and study in a language I had studied but never really spoke.

Because I stayed over two different academic years, the second round of international students came to me for support as they also figured out how to navigate living in a new country. I made friends from all over the world, all with the common goal to learn Spanish.

International students in La Coruña, Spain

Some of the key things I learned during my time abroad were:

  • Living beyond one’s means, and the use of credit is not so common in Europe. Debt can easily become a trap. Getting out of student debt as soon as possible after graduation would become my top priority.
  • Speaking another language vastly opens doors, expanding opportunities to connect with interesting people and to learn more about other cultures and ways of life.
  • The amount of vacation days we have in the US is far less than what Europeans get. While American’s get 10 days, most Europeans get over 30 annually.
  • College students in the US, are under a lot of stress. While I was in Spain, the migraines I suffered from in the US disappeared. I later realized it was the reduction in stress that made them go away.

My time in Spain shaped who I am, and what I’ve chosen to do with my life. I grew so much as a person while I was there, that I wanted to find a way to help open this door to others. I wanted to create something that would help more young adults broaden their horizons through meaningful international experiences. After much thought and brainstorming, Linguistic Horizons was born. I started with a single destination, the one I knew best: La Coruña, Spain. Our first program was a summer study abroad Spanish immersion program.

Some of our interns who dedicated Summer 2019 to improving their Spanish in Spain on a weekend trip to Porto, Portugal!

La Coruña is, in my opinion, the perfect study abroad destination for students who are truly dedicated to learning Spanish. It’s a coastal city that is small enough to not feel overwhelmed yet large enough so that there is plenty to do. Also, it’s not overwhelmed with English speaking tourists, making it great for Spanish language immersion.

Expanding to New Destinations

In December of 2014, we added our second destination, Peru! Our first program in Peru was our Intern in Peru program. Through this program, we arrange customized internships and volunteer projects at a variety of local Peruvian companies and organizations in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Students from the US and Colombia with Nicole traveling in Peru in 2015

After a few years of spending time in Peru, we launched a second Peru program. A variety of incredible superfoods, like maca and quinoa grow in Peru. There is also a wealth of knowledge about plant based medicine and natural healing techniques. I decided to design a hands on learning program through which participants could come and learn about these topics. Hence, our Nutrition and Natural Medicine in the Sacred Valley of the Incas program was born. This program in particular attracts diverse groups of participants for all over the world, and a variety of ages.

Learning about Andean medicine, through a plant identification hike with a local herbalist in the Andes.
Turning plants into topical medicine at an Andean medicine clinic.

Our other destinations

In 2016, we expanded our offerings to include customized internship placements in various countries around Europe and New Zealand. Whereas our Peru and Spain programs are group programs with a lot of in-country support, our Europe and New Zealand programs are meant for independent students who are confident and brave enough to travel on their own, with our remote support.

Our intern, David, visiting Rome on a weekend trip from his internship in Germany.
Kiran exploring Paris. She interned in France in 2016
Marina interning in the UK in summer 2023

Follow Linguistic Horizons Instagram. You can also follow Nicole here.

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