What is the best way to prepare for studying abroad in Spain for a full semester?
My desire to study abroad stems from wanting to learn the language of Spanish, to travel and see the sights, to re-model myself to see new approaches of lifestyles and to develop and make personal growth with lifetime memories. I might be intimidated to let go of my normal day to day routine as I am a planner who strives on time management and schedules. However, I am eager to learn a different side of myself, to grow more independently and be present for myself and the world around me. Spain is a place that is so relevant to my studies and my intentions as a global citizen. From having family members who have traveled the world tell their stories since I was a little girl, I have been taught and expected to love a country that I have never met. My passion for studying the Spanish language, my major and gaining a deeper understanding of new cultures, has inspired me to apply to study abroad Seville, Spain. I leave in January until May and want to make sure I obtain the best experience and absorb the most learning opportunities. What steps and actions should I look into completing and getting ready before leaving beyond expenses and documents? How can I better prepare my mind to a new culture and the shock along with it? #travel #college #spain #studyabroad #spanish #hospitality #prepare
Ana Isla’s Answer
Hi! I'm a Spaniard so, in order to have the best experience in Spain I recommend you to: Travel, travel as much as you can (get to know the southern cities, Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia if possible); adapt your routine even if it's hard for you (breakfast 8am, brunch 11am, lunch 2pm, dinner 9pm); try as much food as you can (food is awesome!); watch local TV (and soccer!), read local newspapers; make good friends and practice your Spanish; workout (running, biking); enjoy night life (get some drinks on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays). Don't be scared of cultural differences, you are gonna love it!
Dear Kaylee, I am German and went to Spain for my studies. My advice would be to learn as much Spanish as you can in advance and what helped me to learn the language in only 3 month was NOT going to BCN or Madrid, but to Vigo in Galica. this is not a touristy place at all and people don't speak any other languages than Spanish (and Gallego). I feel that in cities like Madrid and Barcelona are great travel destinations, but the real authentic life is rather in smaller towns and cities. I also read several books about the culture and history to understand more about their behavior.
I would definitely second Ana´s comment about adjusting your day to day structure to be a part of society and I encourage you to try all the different local foods. Spain is so diverse in landscape and food. Go visit Asturias, don't miss out on Galicia (Islas Cies are like the Caribbean's,) go to Sevilla to experience Andalucia and also Granada and Malaga are great, as well as one of the Islands.
Most importantly, enjoy!!!!!!
I studied abroad in France, and I am a native Spanish speaker. What help me fully immerse was my determination. One year before going abroad, I went to intense classes of the language, watched movies and read some books for children. I would suggest the same, almost all movies have the audio in Spanish, this would help you get used to hearing it, and reading children's book will help you acquire vocabulary. But the most important one, is dont be afraid!! take a shot and try to speak as much as possible, we are very friendly people always willing to help!
Hi Kaylee: Good for you ! All I have for you are encouraging words. My daughter was a student at Arizona State University and she studied in Spain during the summer between her sophomore and junior year of college. SHE LOVED IT !! She spent two weeks in Madrid. She spent 6 weeks in Barcelona taking 6 units. And, she spent another 6 weeks in Sevilla taking another 6 units for a total of 12 units. (Classes were all taught in Spanish). She lived with a host family in both Barcelona and Sevilla. Nearly every weekend, my daughter travelled to another country -- Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, England, etc. And, when she did spend weekend time in Spain, she attended Soccer Tournaments, festivals, concerts and "Running with the Bulls." You will have an amazing experience... and an amazing time. You can do this !!!