Semester in Spain is definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This is a semester where students like me can come and be immersed in a completely different culture. We come from all different backgrounds, yet we share the same goals of wanting to really learn another language and experience different ways of life.
Classes here are incredible. In Art, I’ve learned about the beauty of Spain and the best part is that our group then takes trip to actually see what we learned about in the classroom. I’ve seen paintings with my own eyes that I’ve only seen in textbooks. Grammar is a huge help because I am submerged in the language here and as a result, so many questions come up that only natives can really explain. The classrooms are safe places to ask questions and learn. The homework is light but I have still learned so much. The professors love to answer questions and they make me want to learn and master the language.
One of my favorite parts is how much we can travel. The school takes trips to towns in Spain but we also have several long breaks where we can travel anywhere we want. I have been able to see Madrid, Barcelona, and I plan on visiting Paris and Zurich soon! There is no way I could have seen all of these places on my own. The leaders at the school are very good at giving us our freedom to travel where we wish, but they still make sure we are prepared and that they know where we will be.
I feel like I have really grown and changed as a person. I am more confident in my ability to function on my own because I’ve had to arrange my own travel plans, book flights, find bus stations and hostels, and make sure I do not get lost along the way. This experience has definitely been trying, as well. It is hard being away from loved ones and we miss some of what goes on at home. The language is very frustrating at times and sometimes it seems like we will never learn it. Nevertheless, I would not trade this experience for anything. I know more about who I am, I am mastering another language that will greatly help me with job searches in the future, and I am getting to see parts of the world I only dreamed about. One thing to remember is to keep an open mind. Trying new things is scary but it’s so wonderful when you take the chance, discover something you would never have known you liked (or hated), and expand your understanding of the world.