Program and Location:
Spring, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia; Valencia, Spain
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I wanted to practice my Spanish and experience a different culture. The best way to become fluent in Spanish is immersion, so I knew that studying abroad with classes in Spanish would be a great way to get better at it.
What did you learn about yourself?
I’ve always been a picky eater, but I decided on this trip I wouldn’t tell my host mom any of my food preferences and just ate what she gave me. There are a lot of food I didn’t realized I liked until she gave it to me.
What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
Valencia is the perfect city to study abroad in. It has the highest amount of exchange students in the world, so not only did I get to learn about Spanish culture, but I also met many people from other countries like Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Croatia, and more. It also has a big city feel without being too touristy or expensive. If you go to Valencia during the Spring semester, you also get to experience Falles which I can barely explain myself. Imagine the Fourth of July times 10 for a month straight. Valencia is the perfect city to study abroad in.
What advice do you have to future study abroad students?
I’d highly suggest staying with a host family, especially if your goal is to learn the language. With my host family I was able to practice so much of my Spanish. It also gave me a great support system despite being thousands of miles from home. I am still in contact with my host mom and I can’t wait to eventually go and see her again.
Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?
This may seem like somewhat of a silly answer but I was very surprised that the idea of petting someone else’s dog is truly an American thing. When I first got there, I’d ask so many people and they all said yes but with a confused look on their face. My European friends were also very confused. Their response was if you want to pet a dog, why wouldn’t you just get your own dog. There are so many little cultural differences that you would never even think about.
Would you do it again?
I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat. Every country has so many hidden experiences. You would never have time to experience it all in a single semester.
This post was originally published in Study Abroad.