As International Studies majors, most students hope to connect what they learn in class to conversations outside of the classroom. Through her study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain, Samantha Ilagan learned what this process looks like and how rewarding it can be.

“I really enjoyed the classes I got to take during my study abroad program. After learning in class about life under Francisco Franco, I’d go back to my homestay and talk to my host mom about what she went through during life under his regime. It was invaluable to apply class content to conservations with her about her personal experiences,” Ilagan said.

As a triple major in International Studies, Political Science, and Spanish, Ilagan said she found that her majors spoke to one another and increased her understanding on a variety of topics.

“I really appreciated the intersectionality of my programs and International Studies gave me that flexibility to take an interdisciplinary approach to my education. I took a class called Marxism, Indigenism, and Populism in Contemporary Latin American Politics which brought all three of my majors together nicely.”

Ilagan cited another abroad experience working for the Canadian Parliament as formative for her future academic plans. While working on human trafficking advocacy, Ilagan said she saw the ways individuals can support sexual assault survivors through the legal system and was inspired to pursue sexual assault survivor advocacy as a lawyer. She has accepted an offer from Harvard Law School and plans to study there in the fall.

Samantha Ilagan

BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation), BA Political Science, BA Spanish ‘20

Hometown: Newburgh, IN

Affiliations: Undergraduate Political Science Association, Michigan Knitting

Future plans: “I will be attending Harvard Law School in the fall!”

Fondest memory of her experience in PICS: “My fondest memory of PICS was studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. I loved getting to explore Spain, our program's weekend trip to Portugal, and the opportunity to improve my Spanish!”

Is there anything you would like to express to your peers, parents, professors, or others?:

“I am so grateful for all the encouragement I have received throughout my time at Michigan from my family, friends, and mentors in working towards the next chapter at law school!”