Before I studied abroad, I was extremely nervous about visiting another country for two months that was 4,000 miles away with an ocean in between. This past summer, I was given the opportunity to study in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain at the Franklin Institute. For years, I knew that I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, but I didn’t know which one, if it would be possible, among other things. Then, I heard about the faculty-led program here at UTC during my freshman year, and I knew that I had to go if I could. While there, I realized how much I truly do love traveling and learning about new cultures.
In my program, I took two classes in June, two classes in July, and an online course through UTC; the classes in Spain were four days a week which meant that we had three-day weekends allowing us to travel or hangout on the weekends. I was able to visit many places during these days off. First, I was able to visit the coastal city of Barcelona where I was able to visit Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia, both designed by Guadí, as well as the Mediterranean Sea and other cathedrals and architectural beauties.
I was also able to visit the city of Toledo, the first capital of modern Spain, and Segovia, a city known for its rich Roman history which includes original Roman roads and aqueducts. During a break, the class of UTC students took a trip to Lisbon, Portugal where we visited the National Tile Museum, Jeróminos Monastery, São Jorge Castle, and went to a traditional Portuguese Fado music dinner.
During a break between months, I was able to visit Rome, Italy where I was able to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican City, and more. Another weekend, UTC students went to Asturias, northern Spain, where the landscape was so different from central or southern Spain; there, we visited the coastal city of Cudillero and hiked the Picos of Europa.
Although I was able to visit so many different places, I was able to learn so much in the city where I stayed and with the classes that I took. I believe that the classes I was able to take allowed me to further my knowledge on the language and culture of Spain. My speaking skills developed along with my confidence in general talking to new people and going to unfamiliar places.
Noah Sykes is majoring in Spanish and Accounting. He participated in a faculty-led trip to Alcala, Spain through the Spanish Department in June, 2018. Noah had the following to say about studying abroad, “If you are even thinking about studying abroad, you should do it. Exploring a new place and learning about a new culture or a new language helps you to find a new appreciation for other people around you and think about things in another light.”
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