I have always dreamed of studying abroad and I recently gained the experience of studying abroad in Alcala de Henares. My trip was 4 weeks in Spain, where I took 9 credit hours to contribute to my Spanish minor. During my time abroad, not only did I learn a lot about myself but I learned a lot about how different our culture is from other countries.

During my first week in Spain it was very overwhelming because I was thrown in to an all-Spanish speaking community. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to understand the differences. During my time abroad I met several of my goals but was also introduced to many challenges I did not expect. My classes were very challenging but they pushed me to understand more. What stood out to me the most while living in Spain was the time schedule throughout the day. Meals were later than they are in the United States and they do not eat snacks as much during the day. Alcala was very unique because it is a small city outside of Madrid and it is known for their tapas. Tapas are small meals or snacks you get for free when you order any type of drink. I was really surprised that tapas ranged from 2 to 5 euros. Getting tapas was a great way to spend the day after class and many locals also joined you for tapas. Alcala was a great city to study abroad in because it wasn’t too big and had everything you needed to make a good study abroad location. The train station was in the center of the city and you were able to take the train anywhere you wanted in only 40 minutes. After class me and my friends would always take the train to Madrid if we wanted to do something fun after class.

This program taught me a lot about traveling and how to be independent in a foreign country. I went to class Monday through Thursday and traveled every weekend. Traveling to different cities or even countries is so easy and accessible. During my month in Spain, I went to Barcelona, Asturias, Valencia, Portugal, and Morocco. Overall, this trip has made me appreciate other cultures and my own. Also, I have learned a lot about myself and have realized I love to travel and cannot wait to return.

Emily Gaylor is majoring in Marketing with a minor in Spanish. She participated in a faculty-led trip to Alcala, Spain through the Spanish Department in June, 2018. Emily had the following to say about her time in Spain, “Studying abroad in Spain was the best decision I ever made. It truly was a trip of a lifetime!”

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