Flynn McClellan (Class of 2024)

photo of Flynn McClellan

  • freshman double major in Spanish and Political Science
  • from Lake Forest, IL
  • completed a gap year in Ecuador and Spain before coming to Miami
  • Undergraduate Academic Scholar in Global Studies (Prodesse Scholars Program)
  • CAS Ambassador
  • member of Women's Club Water Polo and Alpha Phi sorority
"Miami has so many opportunities, with so many different types of classes that fall underneath the liberal arts umbrella. Take advantage of the resources available here, whether that be the writing centers, the libraries, your professors, or your peers."

Why Miami?

"I wanted a place where I could establish my independence, but still feel like I belong in a community. I liked Miami's appeal and that 'work hard, play hard' mentality. In the end, I knew that Miami was the place for me because I felt comfortable, and I was able to envision myself spending 4 incredible years here.

"I also just love the opportunities and the involvement on campus. I have already joined a bunch of clubs, and I just joined Greek life. I like how Miami offers you a million opportunities. You're not missing out on anything!"

Best Miami Experiences

Flynn McClellan and Friend in Newport, Kentucky, with the Ohio River and Cincinnati in the background

"I took a gap year after high school, but as a Miami freshman, my first year has been a mix of being a little overwhelmed, just because I'm getting used to everything. But it's also a lot of excitement. First semester, I was doing nothing but working and doing classes online. But you also get to go out with your friends. I'm in Greek life, and there's always something going on. I go to the gym every day, and I think it's just about staying active and being able to do whatever I want. I want that sense of independence. So, despite feeling that my first year was a bit overwhelming, there has also been a lot of excitement.

"I just joined the Women's Club Water Polo, which is really fun because I played water polo all through high school. Getting back in the water just felt so amazing. The girls are super cool, and I clicked with them immediately. I also just love the camaraderie that I've made here at Miami so far, like the girls from my dorm. And my roommate is by far my best friend. We're both kind of just figuring everything out together."

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"I definitely wanted to have a major in Spanish because I studied abroad when I was 15 in Spain. Then for my gap year after high school I went to Ecuador and Spain again, so I'm almost fluent. Spanish is also the second most widely spoken language in the United States and is spoken in so many countries around the world. Majoring in a foreign language not only teaches me how to speak the language, but also how to communicate effectively with people from different cultures and different backgrounds, which I love.

"In addition to Spanish, I added my Political Science major during my first semester because the department has helped me understand so much about the institutions and laws that govern us. I've always been interested in history and politics, but it really increased during the pandemic. I talked to my dad, who's huge into history, and he recommended some history books that I started reading. I just got really, really into it!

"Political Science also caught my eye because of the vast job market that follows after graduation. The major opens up what I can work in, such as public administration, government, finance, business. There's a lot you can do with it."

Taking a Gap Year in Ecuador and Spain

Flynn McClellan working with her boss at a fair-trade convention in Ecuador

"After graduating from high school, I went to Ecuador from August to December. Then I went to Spain, where I enrolled at the University of Salamanca. I was doing all my classes in Spanish, but because of COVID-19 I got sent home after two months.

"While in Ecuador, I lived with a host family and connected immediately with them because my level of Spanish was decently high. It was so cool being able to travel abroad while not speaking my native language and being able to have a conversation with them. This definitely was my moment of, 'Oh, I love doing this.'

"I also did an internship in Ecuador, where I worked in a fair-trade market that was run completely by 30 women from all over the country. It was amazing. The women were selling their handmade products, like jewelry, bracelets, and scarves.

"My abroad program requires participants to create a project that benefits their internship. They give you X amount of money, which you use to budget and create a project. I created a women's empowerment workshop for my store. We held activities, we had a big luncheon, and we also brought in a bunch of speakers. It was really cool just to set that up and do it all completely in Spanish. I loved seeing these women come together in this dynamic, all with something in common — creating amazing handmade products for the store. I also taught English for a couple weeks to children at a school. Although my time in Ecuador lasted four months, it felt like a month just because I was so busy!"

Advice to Students

"Apply to different things and take advantage of opportunities. Utilize your personal network to find opportunities, and don't be afraid to take a chance and apply to a place you previously never thought of.

"Miami has so many opportunities, with so many different types of classes that fall underneath the liberal arts umbrella. Take advantage of the resources available here, whether that be the writing centers, the libraries, your professors, or your peers. And utilize your alumni networks to connect with professionals and find a career path one day. Just explore your options!"

[March 2021]