About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Political Science and Global Studies
Program: IES: Madrid
Location: Madrid, Spain
Term: Spring 2022
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
As a Spanish speaker, I was interested in living in a country that would improve my language skills. I also wanted to able to learn with students from the country as well. Because Madrid is such a vibrant city, it offered innumerable possibilities for me to explore and enjoy my time. As an international center for students and professionals from around the globe, I was also excited to meet people from various countries and learn about the world through Madrid's population.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am capable of traveling alone and meeting new people in a completely foreign environment. Not only did I feel comfortable in Spain, but it became a second home were I could travel through the city and now where I was. I also learned the importance of saying yes to experiences because even though they may not seem as important, they can change the way you view the world and the people around you.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from my program was traveling to Salamanca with my program to visit the historical sites there. Not only was our tour in depth and interesting, but it uncovered years of different communities settling into Spain and remaking landmarks. The Moorish influences in the churches with Christian additions illustrate the history we would learn in textbooks with our class. The trip not only served a great academic purpose, but I also traveled with students in the program with different backgrounds and academic pursuits. Some engineering students were interested in the construction of the aqueduct and would give their understanding of the construction with their background. Others would speak about art or philosophy depending on their concentration. Such diverse opinions and interests really changed how I saw the city and really enhanced my experience there.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
It is completely normal to be uncertain about the future when it holds so much change. Still, it is important to lean into the discomfort because with that you will grow and become a stronger and more confident person.
How do you identify?
Student of color, Heritage Seeker, Scholarship Recipient
Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Studying abroad in Spain as a Latina presented interesting interactions with people who questioned my Spanish, but also who were greatly interested in my identity and culture.
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Do not be afraid to speak differently or look different from the majority of the population. People will also be curious, but many are just want to understand your background.