Why Study Abroad
Coming to Europe almost 4 years ago (scary I am so old!) I visited Barcelona, Provence and Paris for a 10 day trip. We went with ACIS which is a sister program of AIFS. Because I loved the trip I went on, I researched the AIFS Granada program to study abroad this semester, which I ultimately chose.
Before I left I felt that I had made a good decision about what program I chose, and now that I’m here in Spain it only reinforces my decision. The AIFS program has a lot of included and optional excursions during the semester for students. I particularly like this because it has been the best opportunity for me to see more of Spain. For a majority of the weekend trips I plan to take, I will be leaving the country to visit places such as Amsterdam and Portugal. But with my program, we will also visit different cities across Spain which is one of my favorite parts of the program: you get the best of both worlds. We have visited some pretty amazing places including Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Gibraltar and Sevilla.
Another reason is my classes. When we first got here I was a bit intimidated by the language. I knew I going to a Spanish speaking country but I felt the bar was set high for my program. Once I got to my classes, I realized there were so many different levels offered to students and the classes I have are not as intimidating as I first thought. It has been almost a month in Granada now and I already can see improvements in my Spanish. My Spanish classes are unbelievably helpful and I have an awesome professor!
As far as Granada itself goes, it’s beautiful here!
The city has loads of tall buildings with beautiful, Moorish inspired architecture, with snow capped mountains peaking up beside them. The pictures don’t nearly do justice to how gorgeous the city is. I can’t believe I get to live here for 4 months. Ever study abroad student probably says the same exact thing but believe me it’s the truth! My friends and I try to explore the city as much as we can by hiking and going to the different city viewpoints.
A couple of friends and I hiked to a unique spot at the top of the city in the area called the Albaicin where the view was literally at the top of the world. The area gave for a unbelievable panoramic view of the city and the mountains. Hands down one of the prettiest sunsets and most breathtaking views I have ever seen! We also got to see and take a tour of La Alhambra, a Moorish Castle located in Granada.
Now that classes are in full swing, I already feel more adjusted after just a few weeks here. Also my classes are great! The professors at the university are so nice and they are extremely helpful. Like I was saying earlier, I came to Spain having some background in Spanish but still not nearly as much as a lot of people. Because of this, I’m taking two Spanish classes and then my other classes (History of Spain, Latin American Civilization and Culture, and Islamic Culture in Spain) in English. Even though a majority of my classes are taught in English, my Spanish professor along with my other professors also have been helping me work on the language and especially on terms only native to Granada. Por ejemplo (for example), in Granada there are some differences in the way they pronounce words such as how “muchas gracias” is really “mucha gracia” as a majority of people drop the ending -s. The main part I find helpful is learning how to phrase sentences and questions to avoid sounding “textbook” like. I’m constantly asking questions, learning and improving my Spanish and also learning a lot about Spain at the same time. Also a fun fact: In Spanish, Granada actually means “pomegranate.” The symbol of the pomegranate can be found all over Spain including on the flags in the Royal Palace in Madrid.
For Granada being considered a “small city” in Spain, there is so much to do and see! I hope I can do as much as I can in the course of the next few months! Many more travel plans are in the works and I am ready to keep adding to the adventure!