A Study Abroad in Valencia, Spain
Hands down the best part about attending a major global university was the opportunity to study abroad. Growing up a mere twenty minutes from MSU, I came to realize that the world is so much larger, more complicated, and more beautiful than mid-Michigan– I needed to enlarge my world. Luckily, Michigan State University offers around 275 programs in more than 60 countries across the globe.
As my friends headed off on six week whirlwind trips through Europe, taking pictures with every major monument and hoping to find temporary European boyfriends, I realized that this ultimate college tourist experience did not appeal to me. I wanted to live somewhere. I wanted to get to know the customs, language, food, landscape and people on an intimate level. I wanted to go beneath the surface and really understand a new people. This requires time and immersion.
After listening to a little bit too much of the Counting Crow’s A Holiday in Spain, I set my sights on the Iberian peninsula.
I embarked on a 5 ½ month Spanish language program in Valencia, Spain. I left Spartan football games, sorority recruitment, and the chilly fall weather behind to spend the fall semester of my junior year with palm trees and siestas. Here I lived in a home-stay while taking 15 credits at a Hispanic institute affiliated with the University of Virginia- five classes in Spanish about Spanish.
My deal was sweetened when a Spanish foreign exchange student moved into my neighbor’s home. Right before he headed back to Spain I invited myself to spend a month with his family before my studies began. For some reason he agreed to have me.
I visited almost every corner of the country: Galicia, Marbella, Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona, Segovia, Peñiscula, Alicante, Sevilla and Cordoba. I was even fortunate enough to expand my travels further into Europe to London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich and Tangier.
So, these are my Spanish musings from my holiday in Spain. It was a journey of a lifetime, trying to discover a little bit about Spanish culture and language, and a lot about myself.
Check out my Spanish blog posts here:
- London’s Winter Winds
- Gaudí’s Playground: Barcelona
- General Strike
- A Crossroads of Culture: Morocco
- That one place where Magellan set sail: Sevilla
- Heading Inland
- A Bavarian Weekend in Munich
- Pretending that futbol is the same thing as football
- Reflections on 9/11 from Across the Atlantic
- A Day of Rest
- Lost and Found
- Royalty and Madrid
- Toledo: A World Heritage Site
- Marbella: The Exception to the Spanish Financial Crisis
- First Taste of Spain
- Bienvenido a España
- A Holiday in Spain