Program and Location:
Spring, Semester in Spain: Language and Culture; Santander, Spain
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I have always wanted to study abroad, ever since middle school. I had great Spanish teachers in high school, so I knew coming into college that I wanted to double major in Spanish. This semester in Spain allowed for total cultural immersion, which is essential to learning any language.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned to tap more into my creative side. I have always had a desire to be creative, but Europe provided endless artistic inspiration. Whether it was seeing firsthand the works of Picasso and Gaudí, or simply walking through the streets of Paris and Madrid, study abroad sparked a new creative energy in me. Currently, I love to write and dance with Fusion, a hip-hop dance crew here at NC State.
What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
The ability to travel on the weekends. Since flights are generally cheaper throughout Europe, I was able to visit London, Paris, Italy, and Barcelona when I wasn’t in class.
What advice do you have to future study abroad students?
If you are learning a language, speak as little English as possible. You’ll never have an opportunity and a community like this ever again.
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?
We took two cultural excursions together as a class. For the first one, we took a bus from the north coast of Spain all the way down to the southern region of Andalucía, which is very different. For the second, we visited historical sites around Madrid on our last days in Spain. It was amazing to see the in person what we actually learned about in class. This is education at its finest.
In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?
In my experience, I was not treated very differently for being Asian-American in Santander. Although the city is pretty homogenous, I never felt judged. In general, the Europeans that I came across were quite gracious in this regard.
Would you do it again?
One hundred percent.
This post was originally published in Study Abroad.