Studying abroad is one of the ways students can have an immersive experience while in college; it gives them the opportunity to learn about and experience a new culture and language while still taking college classes.
Seth Martin, a junior Spanish and communications major, arrived Jan. 8 in Barcelona, Spain, for his semester-long study abroad trip. He called the city “the most enchanting city [he’s] ever visited,” and has already planned trips to many other European cities such as Paris, France; Florence, Italy; and Brussels, Belgium. He also plans to visit many famous cities in Spain during his study abroad.
Martin’s major in Spanish has helped him communicate with locals and classmates, and he said being immersed in the language has helped him get a better grasp on it.
“I’m learning about as much simply living in a Spanish-speaking country as I am taking classes in Spanish,” Martin said.
Martin said another perk of attending university in Spain is that there aren’t 8 a.m. classes; the earliest class his university offers starts at 9 a.m. Martin said he loves this “delayed” feeling that is common in Spanish culture.
Another aspect of Spanish culture that Martin experiences is the prevalence and length of nightlife. He said when he and his friends go out on weekends, nightlife activities run from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Martin said he chose this particular study abroad because he was more interested in this program’s classes and excursions than others.
So far, Martin said his favorite parts of the trip have been his residence hall’s rooftop pool and a recent excursion to the city’s art museum, which is housed in a palace on top of Montjuic mountain.
“It was great not just because I’m a museum buff, but also because we decided to go to the rooftop terrace of the palace on a mountain right beside the city I’ve fallen in love with,” Martin said. “The views were absolutely stunning.”
He misses his #CapFam but prefers Barcelona’s warm temperature compared to the amount of snow we’ve been getting in Ohio. Martin said he would love to go on another study abroad if he could still graduate on time, but that isn’t possible for him. Instead, he plans to save up and do some travelling post-grad.
“I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” Martin said.
Taylor Gibbs, a junior creative writing and professional writing major, is also currently studying abroad in Spain, but in the smaller city of Sevilla. She arrived in the city Jan. 31.
“I chose Sevilla because I wanted to learn Spanish and get a really good immersion into the culture,” Gibbs said. “I read that since Sevilla is smaller than cities like Madrid or Barcelona, it has retained a lot of the culture and almost no one speaks English, so it forces you to use Spanish.”
While Gibbs is learning a lot about Spanish, communicating with her host mom has been somewhat difficult and sometimes things are miscommunicated, but she said her Spanish is already improving.
Gibbs also said that in Spain they have a different accent than the Spanish that we traditionally hear and learn in the United States, and this has also been somewhat of a culture shock for her.
Gibbs had only been in Spain for two days at the time of our interview, so she said she can’t yet pick a favorite part of the trip, but she said “everything has been so great” so far. She will be returning to the U.S. in early May.
“I definitely know that my experience has been worth it, and it has only been two days,” Gibbs said.