Major: Event Management
Minor/option/emphasis: Spanish Minor
Hometown, State: Altoona, Iowa
Type of experience: Study Abroad Program
Experience: ISU on the Mediterranean: Summer in Valencia, Spain
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=264
Destination: Valencia, Spain
My overall experience in Valencia, Spain was unforgettable! I loved every minute of experiencing the Spanish culture, living with a host family, taking classes, and of course going to the beach everyday. On the first and last weekends we visited Madrid, El Escorial, Toledo, and Segovia. It's one thing to sit in a classroom and learn about Spain and their way of life, but to actually live it is an amazing experience! Living there for just 6 weeks, I improved my Spanish skills tremendously and opened my eyes to many issues going on outside of the United States. I made life-long friends and unforgettable memories.
I learned about ISU on the Mediterranean in my Spanish class. A couple of speakers came and talked to our class about it and shared their personal experiences with us. My professor was also a program director and she encouraged us to attend the informational sessions.
An impact to my life...
This experience impacted my life in so many ways but the biggest one is that it opened my eyes to many different cultures. My friends and I were able to travel to other countries on the weekends because classes were only in session from Monday-Thursday. Being able to see how other people live, getting a taste of new languages, and making friends from other countries enhanced my understanding of the world. I also learned a lot about myself along the way and how much I love traveling. I improved my communication skills, independence, and adaptability from this experience that will be useful in my my future career as an event planner.
I will never forget...
My most memorable experience was Noche de San Juan, the celebration of the beginning of summer. Every year on June 23 the city of Valencia hosts a giant festival throughout the whole city. They throw parties in the streets, carnivals, and at night people go to the beach and build bonfires. And when midnight rolls around they put on a fireworks show. San Juan was by far my favorite memory of Spain because I got to truly experience the fun, laid back Mediterranean lifestyle.
Advice for others...
GO FOR IT! Grab this opportunity while you can, travel the world, find yourself, make new friends, and build your resume. There are so many ways you can benefit from studying abroad and you may never get another opportunity like this again. Go into the experience with an open mind and a sense of adventure. Read up on where you will be studying or where you want to study. Learn about the culture and things like the most popular food to eat or places to visit. Make plans to visit at least one other country on the weekend. No matter where you visit or for how long you will not regret it!