With the completion of my six weeks in Spain, I have learned more about Spanish language and culture than I have during years of classes. Looking back on my time abroad, I was able to meet many of the goals I set out for myself from the beginning. I have an incredibly better understanding of the culture and history, having had many opportunities to experience it firsthand. I have much more confidence when speaking the language, and speaking with native speakers allowed me to learn many of the colloquialisms. While I am still translating back to English in my head, there are many times where I was able to respond to others without thinking through what I was going to say first.
This opportunity has allowed me to experience a different country, its traditions, and its people in a way I have never been able to previously. Not only was I immersed in a Spanish perspective, but taking classes with peers from across the globe exposed me to an entire spectrum of ideas, cultures, and beliefs in a more unaltered way.
For other students planning on participating in this program, I simply suggest taking advantage of any and every opportunity. Just going out for a bite to eat or a walk around the block allows you to hear the language, speak with locals, and take in the surrounding culture. It is a unique and valuable opportunity in that each moment you are learning and practicing, even though it might not seem that way
After this program, I hope to continue to practice communicating in Spanish, so I don’t lose what I’ve done while abroad. Whether that is in class or through a volunteer program or with other Spanish speakers, I hope to continue talking in the language as much as possible. Having this language ability is extremely important, as I hope to practice international law, and would love to travel and work with individuals from different countries.