Ryan Lorenz is a travel enthusiast. After his travels to both England and Kenya, his journey lead him to being a Resident Director for IFSA-Butler in Spain. Currently living and working in Barcelona, Spain, Ryan loves to help students fall in love with this unique city.
What brought you to be a Resident Director?
Good fortune! I never planned to work in study abroad, although I was a study abroad student in London back in ’84. That experience opened my eyes to the wider world, and led to my Peace Corps stint in Kenya. From there, it was one small step to being a study abroad director. After 26 years of doing the same I cannot imagine a life different from this one!
What are some unique aspects of your city and country?
Spain is not a nation. It is many! Four distinct nations and languages of which the Spanish language is only one. One can say the same about Barcelona and Catalonia, which is not only Catalan, Spanish and European- but also Chinese, Russian, Pakistani…the whole world lives here! I have lived here for seven years now and still find it complex, interesting and wonderful.
What is one thing most of your students may not know about you?
I have fabulous stamp and comic collections.
What are some of your favorite aspects of being a Resident Director?
My own abroad experiences have transformed my life. I love watching others make the same journey. Feeling like I am part of that change really energizes me.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
Dealing with ignorance and inappropriate behavior. Fortunately this only applies to a few students! The rest are fabulous.
What have you seen as the biggest challenge for incoming students?
Adapting their homegrown expectations to a new cultural environment. That is normal, of course, but slows down their ability to fully comprehend their new and temporary home. I also think that some students have a very short attention span, which is a real handicap when trying to figure out what is going on around you when you understand few if any of the cultural cues.
What is your advice for students planning to attend your program, or to study abroad in your country?
Lower your expectations. Less is more. Better to dig deep than skim the surface…you experience less yet more profoundly.
What is one thing you think students shouldn’t forget to pack for life in your country?
The right attitudes! Flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor.
What do you think is the most important take-away for education abroad students?
No matter how much you think you know, you in fact know very little. Learning is constant and continuous.
To learn more about going abroad at OSU, check out this link!