Posted in Miscellaneous

Study Abroad: A Unique Experience

I spent the last two months in Spain on a study abroad program. Every program at BYU is a little different, but I had a very good experience. I would encourage any student to look into studying abroad if they are interested.

        It is an amazing opportunity because not only do you get to travel, but a BYU program director arranges most everything and travels with you, ensuring that you’ll get to see both the important things and the unique and lesser-known places. In addition, most travel logistics are taken care of. I loved seeing many different cities and towns and learning more about Spain’s history and culture.
Santo Domingo de Silos
For example, on our trip to Burgos and León we got to stop at a town with 150 people in it named Santo Domingo de Silos and listen to the monks there (who had a popular album on iTunes) sing Gregorian chants. More recently, on our trip to Southern Spain we stopped by a town called Camuñas to watch a popular Corpus Christi celebration. There were about 30 or 40 people that did a religious enactment with masks, colorful costumes, and tambourines. We’ve seen many interesting events and places without having to work out difficult logistics.
Corpus Christi Celebration

Another way I learned about the culture is through living with a host family. It was one of the things that I was most nervous for, but it was actually a wonderful opportunity. I was able to live a true Spanish lifestyle and ask my host family questions about the culture, not to mention being spoiled and having all my meals cooked for me.

Being in Spain helped me greatly improve my Spanish, and I enjoyed getting to practice it all day every day. After studying the language for so long, it was so exciting to come here and see people actually using it in their daily lives. Being immersed in the Spanish language is probably the thing that I miss most about Spain, but I’m glad I got to practice my Spanish because it will be useful when I am a teacher.

BYU group in front of the Cathedral in Segovia

I also made many friends while here. After seven weeks together, the 35 of us from BYU became very good friends and made many good memories. I also spent some time with the young single adults here. One night I went with them to eat tapas (little snacks), and when we said goodbye I struggled with traditional two kisses on the cheek that they do here. The first time I awkwardly held back, the second time I did a little better, and by the third time I felt comfortable. I loved interacting with all the people I met, both American and Spanish!

While a study abroad can be costly and uses up a semester or term, I had a great experience and would definitely recommend it.

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