University of Oklahoma
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1. What was the best part of your study abroad?
While in Spain, my primary goal was to improve my Spanish. At first I was nervous to speak and make mistakes, but then I learned that not speaking is the biggest mistake of all. Spaniards were so kind and helpful, especially my host family. Conversations at meal-times were my favorite places to practice Spanish because of the welcoming environment they created. They knew how to correct my mistakes and build my confidence simultaneously. Often, we would talk about the newest Spanish songs. Music was another amazing way to learn the language, and it especially helped with pronunciation. They say imitation is a form of flattery but is also great practice. I still listen to my favorite songs from Spain. When I left for my semester abroad I was worried that I wouldn’t improve as much as a wanted to, however, I ended up learning more than I ever thought I could.
2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?
My semester in Spain was the most rewarding experience of my life. I made countless friends, developed a new self-awareness, and gained valuable skills. This experience shaped me in countless ways, and am so grateful for it.
I have always known I wanted to study abroad. However, the when and where changed many times throughout my academic career. When I found CEA’s program in Granada and learned I could take classes and complete an internship, I decided it was the perfect experience for me. Little did I know that what I learned outside the classroom would be just as important. I am a more confident and self-assured person than I was before studying abroad. I did not know anyone in my program before I arrived. This meant I had to make friends quickly and gave me the freedom to rediscover myself without the lens of my normal surroundings. I learned to be adaptable when living with a host family, and how to create meaningful relationships despite a language barrier. I also learned to be independent in ways that I had never previously imagined.
Coming home has shown me how much I changed, and honestly, it has been difficult at times to reconcile who I was before with who I am now. But ultimately, I grew in positive ways from my experiences and any challenges I confronted only demonstrate that growth.