Cross cultural x2


Jaden McConnell

Between study abroad sessions, Jayden McConnell has served as paid intern for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.

improving multiple language skills
for law enforcement future

Jayden McConnell ’25, a criminal justice and Spanish double major from Sunbury, Ohio, had such a great experience studying abroad in Argentina during the fall 2023 semester, he’s returning for the spring. McConnell’s second term with CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) starts in late February. 

“Originally, I was only going to go for six months,” said McConnell. “My Spanish was improving a lot, but I wasn’t as fluent as I was hoping to be so that’s when I started to wonder if I could do this again.”

When he returns to Buenos Aires, he’ll continue living with the same host family: a mother and her 25-year-old graduate student son. The family’s nieces and nephews often visit, and they also host shorter-term CIEE participants, giving McConnell a wide range of people to connect with and practice his Spanish skills. 

Because the people are welcoming and the food is delicious, McConnell said it didn’t take long for him to acclimate to the culture. However, there was one trait he had to get used to.  

“They’re straight to the point,” said McConnell. “To Americans, it might seem like they are being rude, but they’re not.” 

McConnell hasn’t picked out his classes for the spring semester, but in the fall, his schedule included a Spanish class offered by CIEE as well as social research, institutional communication and tango classes taught at local universities including Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA). Because his class schedule ran from Tuesday to Thursday, McConnell often spent Friday through Monday traveling. 

“My favorite trip was my last trip which was to Iguazu Falls,” explained McConnell, who journeyed with friends from CIEE. “It’s basically a bunch of waterfalls, and it’s bigger than Niagara Falls.” 

During the break between study abroad sessions, McConnell has been back in Ohio and gaining experience in his criminal justice major. He’s a paid intern for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and has already put his Spanish skills to use when the department connected with law enforcement officials in Mexico.

McConnell previously interned at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and has known since he was a kid that he wanted to pursue a future in law enforcement. 

“I just love the people and the work they do,” McConnell said. “I just want to be helpful and with another language, I can communicate to a larger group of people and help even more.”

In Argentina, he’ll continue not just studying Spanish but Russian thanks to a connection set up by his host mom.

“She works with someone whose family was Russian, so I started taking Russian classes from Spanish just for fun,” explained McConnell. 

McConnell remains on pace to graduate in four years. When he returns to Bluffton for his senior year, he plans to continue running sprints on the track and field team and being part of Student Senate and Spanish Club.