Learning is a life-long endeavor. By this time, I’m sure you have sat at hundreds of classroom desks and learned about subjects such as geography, history and art. While these classrooms have helped develop our intellectual development, some of the best learning experiences unfold outside of the classroom. These potential learning opportunities result from taking meaning out of the everyday interactions and applying this newfound knowledge to your own life. Study abroad is a unique experience that encourages this type of active learning. This may be unlike any learning experiences we have had in the past. Instead of learning information from a textbook or lecture hall, active learning is a result of complete immersion in a new experience and an open mind.
Since the moment I stepped off of the plane in Granada, I have been an active learner. Studying abroad is a unique experience that allows this at all times. I am not only actively learning a second language through everyday interactions with my host-family, friends, teachers and locals, but I am also learning more about culture, world issues, religion, literature, art, history and more. My learning takes place due to the opportunities I am given each day. I have had the opportunity to tour, and learn about the history of famous Cathedrals, palaces, cities and ancient ruins. Through learning about the history of Spain in these guided tours, I’ve also developed a better understanding of life and Spanish culture. Normal everyday occurrences are also a source of personal growth. Every day I challenge myself by trying new food, planning trips to places I never imagined visiting, speaking with locals, meeting new friends for tapas, and exploring more of the city.
I believe active learning truly is the preferred way to learn and grow. Not only have I learned more about culture and become more globally competent, but I have also learned more about myself, including my own cultural identity. I have learned more and grown more as a person in these few short months than I have in my life. My six months as a student, daughter, sister, and friend in Spain has made me a more understanding, cultured, well-rounded, confident, risk-taking, and enthusiastic individual. I never want to quit being a full-time active learner here in Granada, and will carry this active learner’s perspective with me as I continue down life’s path.
Ryann Fromknecht is the CEA MOJO in Granada for the Spring 2013 semester.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.