SLU students who are in Spain use this blog to share their experiences of studying abroad.

Pictures from Spain – Alie Mihuta – 2013

Alie Mihuta

This picture was taken when we went on a class trip to Galicia, a northern costal province in Spain. When you study abroad, you learn how big the world is and how much there is to see. This is exactly what I was thinking when this picture was taken, and how lucky I was to have the opportunity to study abroad and to see a small part of it. The best part about the study abroad experience is the host family. The people I have lived with have become my best friends and helped to introduce me to the cultures of Spain. Looking back, I know it would have been a lot more difficult to understand the traditions and cultures of Spain without their help. I feel as though I have a second family here and they will forever be my connection to Spain. For students considering study abroad, I would recommend living with a host family because the experience is just not the same without one. I would also recommend that students considering study abroad in Spain, that they stay for the year. I would not have been able to learn and experience all that I wanted to in just a semester. By the end of the year, you feel completely integrated in the family and you will have gained much more fluency in the Spanish language. Throughout the year you feel like you’re actually living in Spain and are a part of the city, as opposed to just visiting it for the semester. Every day is new and exciting when you’re living in a city and while a year sounds like a long time at first, it really flies by. Staying abroad in Madrid for the year is the best decision I could have made.


Pictures from Spain – Jamie Caroccio – 2013

Jamie Caroccio

This photo was taken in the Plaza de España in Seville, Spain in November of 2012. I went on a weekend trip there with two close friends from the program, Jenny Liano and Christina Rukki. It was our first trip made independently from the program to another city within Spain. Everything about this weekend was perfect, from the weather to all of the culture we were able to absorb.  Besides being a beautiful city, this weekend we were able to learn what it was really like to live and fend for ourselves in a Spanish speaking culture.  Although it was a personal trip we took advantage of the culture reimbursement system we have through the program to see various towers, a Bull Ring, a Flamenco show, museums and cathedrals. Coming to Spain I hoped to improve my Spanish speaking and writing skills. Since August, I have been able to work on this goal, have also found a huge appreciation for another culture, and now have a second family. I was welcomed in by my host family and have made familial and friend connections that I hope to maintain while I reintegrate into my life back in the States.

This past year has been one of the most significant experiences in my young adult life. It is something I will treasure forever and genuinely hope to return some day. The best advice I could give any student thinking about coming to Spain is to just do it! Come with an open mind and heart and learn from everything that happens. Take advantage of all of the cultural things there are to see and do and make friends everywhere you go. Above all, speak every moment you can, no matter how embarrassed you may be at first. The only way to improve is to talk, talk, talk! Make the most of it and say yes to every opportunity that presents itself to you!


Pictures from Spain – Christina Rukki – 2013

Christina Rukki

It’s really hard to describe my experience abroad in just a few sentences. After looking through photos that I’ve taken here in Spain since August, I’ve come to realize how much I’ve learned here.  It’s been a challenge since day one, but is still one of the greatest decisions of my life.  I have been interested in languages (especially Spanish); since a very young age and I think learning another language is a great way to learn about another culture and open up your mind to the world. Even though I had studied Spanish for many years, I was not able to communicate with Spanish speakers, including my own family.

After a just a few weeks here in Spain, I was able to get over my fear and start speaking. Living and studying here has changed my perspective on life, and has given me many opportunities I wouldn’t be able to experience if I were on campus at St. Lawrence University. The most significant part of this journey was being able to explore Spain with the program and on my own personal trips. Although Spain isn’t a huge country, each part is very unique. I never thought I would learn and see so much, and that’s why out of the thousands of pictures I have; I chose a picture from Valencia since it reflects my time here perfectly. Being able to travel and learn about other parts of Spain has been very valuable and I think one of the best parts about studying abroad.

Pictures from Spain – Alexis Beckwith – 2013

Alexis Beckwith

This photo was taken from the balcony of the Alhambra in Granada. As of yet, it is my favorite place I have visited during my stay in Spain. The raw beauty of not only the palace but the quaint town surrounding it makes one realize what Spanish culture is all about: a genuine mix of cultures not only in the past, while the country experienced drastic and frequent changes in power, religion, and tradition, but the value many hold for what remains this day in age.

Before coming to Spain, everyone tried to tell me how much I would love it and the people, the food, whatever it may be. Of course I smiled and nodded, knowing that I was making a big decision to spend an entire year away from home, my friends and family, and our university I love so much. Well, if I told them know, they’d all respond with “I told you so.” I am completely and utterly in love with every aspect of this country. I may have experienced a stroke of luck being placed with the family I was, but I have made friends here that I know I will have for the rest of my life, whether it be Spaniards, or the girls I came to Spain with calling an acquaintance, who I leave with calling some of my closest friends.

No value can be placed on the study abroad experiences: if your goal is to learn the language, I would go as far to say it is nearly impossible without living in a native-speaking country. My Spanish has improved dramatically since I arrived here, and I learn something new every day. What is unique about our program is that although we have a lot of class time and tend to complain about that, when you step back and look at it, we are lucky for that, because it is all in another language and we are constantly surrounded by it, only accelerating the process of learning it.

It’s hard to say what specifically you learn about yourself during a year of growth and new experiences, but suffice to say that you just know you’re a different person leaving than when you came, and for the better.

As I said before, I love it here- this has been one of the best years of my life, which doesn’t sound that impressive, at 20 years old, but it has had an impact on my interests and the road I see myself taking in the coming years, both academically and in my future career.

The best advice I can give is to take advantage of every moment: you can stumble upon something interesting in every corner of this city. Enter a bar that catches your eye, go to that exposition that you saw on that poster, visit museums. While everyone else is taking naps and spending hours on homework, ask yourself: are you going to wish you slept a couple more hours when you get back to the States? You have your life to watch your shows and read books in English when you get back and don’t have all this at your fingertips– you want to be able you made the absolute most of your time in Madrid. I promise you’ll love it.


¡Bienvenidos al Spanish Blog!

Hola todos, ha sido mucho tiempo desde alguien ha escrito aquí– ¡que horror! Quiero arreglar este problema por escribir unas veces y voy a convencer a mis compañeros que ellos hacen lo mismo. Queremos incluiros en nuestra experiencia fuera de campús. Creo que la mejor manera de hacer eso es hablar en inglés para que podéis entender todo que estoy diciendo. ¡Vamos!

Hey everyone! It’s been a l0ng time since anyone has written here. I want to address this problem by writing a few times and I’m going to convince the others to do the same. We want to include all of you (on campus or abroad) in our experience outside of the university campus. I think the best way to do that is to write in English so that you can understand everything I’m saying. Here we go!

At this point, we have been in Spain since the end of August. After the initial days of exhaustion and jet lag from the red eye flight we had to come over on, we were bombarded with constant Spanish– the best way to learn a language, by being immersed in it 24/7. Each day, even if it seemed as if we hadn’t done anything physically exhausting, we all felt so tired from thinking in b0th Spanish and English all the time. However, we’ve learned SO MUCH since we’ve been here, and the time has flown. It seems like just yesterday that we arrived in Salamanca to begin orientation.

After four days in Salamanca, getting to know each other and exploring one of the main university cities, we moved on to Segovia, where we met our host families and ventured out to the pueblos we would be living in for the next 12 days. Here, we had to learn all we could about our pueblo and life there