I chose this specific program because I liked that it was a faculty-led program because I would have a UTC professor there in case, I needed help with anything. I also chose this program because I am a native Spanish speaker, and I liked that idea to travel to a different country and an experience a new culture while being able to speak and understand their language. I did experience some challenges with language barrier due to that fact that some Spaniards wanted me to speak “the original” Spanish and I had a bit of a struggle adjusting to that.
I really enjoyed both classes I took. My first class was Spain art and the second one was Spanish for health care workers. My first class, we looked at art since the prehistoric to 20th century art. We looked at famous paintings then we took a field trip to “Museo del Prado” which is one of the most famous museums of Spain. At the museum, I got to see some of the paintings we had been going over in class and it was such an incredible experience to see them in person. That experience was probably one of the favorite things I experienced while studying abroad. In my second class, we compared the Spain healthcare system with the American healthcare system. I looked forward to that class every day. I learned so much about their system and about their culture through my professor. We also took a field trip to their local hospital and got to see different departments. The coolest was surgery and I got to see a surgery be performed.
Another aspect that I loved about studying abroad is traveling. My group of friends made a weekend trip to Barcelona, and it was incredible to see other parts of Spain. We also took some local trips. It is very easy to travel due to the transportation system in Spain. We also were able to travel around Europe after the program was over and some students did the same while on break.
I have to say that living with a host mom was probably the most challenging part of studying abroad. Allergies aren’t as common in Spain, so it was difficult for my host mom to accommodate to my pork allergy. It was also difficult to communicate with her at times about food preferences and getting along in general. However, I did learn a lot about their living costs, customs and I got homemade Spain food. I know other students had a wonderful experience with their host families but I do feel like it’s kind of a risk that should be thought of and not taken lightly.
Overall, I could never have imagined how much this trip would mean to me. My parents and siblings did not have the same opportunities as I have had. Traveling to Europe and doing this was something that wasn’t just for me but for my family. For the countless sacrifices and support they have poured into me. This trip meant the world to me, and I am grateful for everything.
Maria Medina (BS Psychology) spent Summer 2022 in Alcala de Henares, Spain as part of a faculty-led trip linked with a UTC course. Maria had the following to say about study abroad, “Studying abroad was an incredible experience and truly a privilege. I made friendships and memories that I will always cherish. If anyone is considering studying abroad, I would highly encourage it.”
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