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!