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Preparing for Salamanca, Spain

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My first experience on a Transatlantic flight took place when I was five years old. I was traveling to visit my parent’s homeland, Jordan,  for the very first time. Since then, traveling has become a large part of my life, and I have developed a never ending thirst for travel and cultural experiences.

When I chose to pick up a second major in Spanish Language and Literature at my university, the requirement to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country was one I accepted without any hesitation. It is easy to say that I chose Spain because of  the language, but I also chose Spain because of its rich history, the large Arab influence, and its European charm. My friend and I chose Salamanca because of its historic university and the fact that it is smaller than Madrid, yet not a remote village.

What I am most excited to experience during this trip are the day to day interactions with the locals. I opted for a homestay experience to maximize my opportunity for language and cultural immersion. I believe there is a lot to learn from the family I will be staying with, and I do not want to miss out on that by staying in an international dorm. I have found that there is a large difference in the nature of the trip if one lives with a local versus staying in a hotel. There is a lot of “insider information” that one cannot pick up on unless he or she is completely immersed.  I can imagine myself going to the market with my host family, having dinner with them, maybe even making dinner for them once (even though my cooking skills aren’t that strong!). I wanted the experience to be one more than just traveling, I want to become a true Spaniard for those six weeks.

I will be taking three classes: two culture and history courses and one oral communication course. I look forward to my oral communication course, especially since there is no better way to enhance my language skills than to immerse myself in a place that forces me to speak Spanish for a long period of time. My friend and I plan to speak to each other only in Spanish for the entire time. We will work our hardest to ignore our urges to use English as best as we can!

Although this experience will not take place until the end of June, I spend so much time and energy thinking about the glorious time abroad that is on its way. There are so many benefits to studying abroad, but the most beneficial is the experience of immersion in a foreign land and culture.

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