Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Springtime In Spain

Q&A with Ashley: Studied in Spain
Share this
Print this
Ashley
Studied in Spain
Lebanon Valley College
Her thoughts on Homestays
What surprised me the most about my time abroad was the home-stay component. It had been the part that, at first, worried me the most, but it ended up being the most rewarding.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
What do you need? The three c's: confidence, creativity, and comfy shoes!
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
I was always greeted with friendly kisses on the cheek and hugs. This was unusual to me at first, coming from America where our typical greeting is a handshake.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
All good things must come to end, but for now I have the photos and the memories to reflect on.

When and where did you study abroad?

I spent the spring semester of my sophomore year in Valladolid, Spain, which is in the province of Castilla-Leon, renowned for its purely spoken Castilian Spanish!

What made you want to study abroad?

My high school Spanish classes! I had a really great teacher, Ms. Mauro, who nurtured a love of Spain and of the Spanish language through her teaching and stories. She has been one of the most influential and inspirational figures in my life, and I just knew I would get to Spain one day -- to experience it first-hand and to make her proud. It turned out to be all that I had imagined and more!

What was the biggest surprise about your study abroad experience?

The homestay component. It had been the part that, at first, worried me the most, but it ended up being the most rewarding. I gained a better sense of Spanish culture by immersing myself in the day-to-day workings of a typical household. On top of that, I built a strong relationship with my host mother, Maite, with whom I still keep in touch. Before I left, she told me that whenever I return to Spain I'll always have a home with her; it brought tears to my eyes!

Do you have any top tips to prepare for a study abroad term?

Yes! I call it the three c's: confidence, creativity, and comfy shoes! Confidence: Trust in yourself and keep an open mind. Creativity: Find ways to adapt to new and often surprising situations. Comfy shoes: Pretty much self-explanatory! There will be a lot of walking: to school, around town, weekend travels, etc.

How did you deal with the cultural divide?

One of the differences in the Spanish culture that I noticed was that Sundays are truly a day of rest, relaxation, and family for the Spaniards. Apart from those attending Sunday mass, the streets were practically empty on Sundays. Stores were closed as well and Valladolid seemed like a ghost town. So, Sundays (when we weren't traveling) became bonding days for my fellow classmates and me. We would either take a walk around town to try and find something or someplace new we had not yet seen or gather at one of our host families' residences for story time or a movie night!

Overall, Spanish people are a very welcoming and open bunch. I was always greeted with friendly kisses on the cheek and hugs. This was unusual to me at first, coming from America where our typical greeting is a handshake. I also learned that Spaniards never go out in public wearing things like sweatpants, or hoodies or even sneakers. I remember my professor once telling our class that it is expected that you carry a bag to the gym with your change of clothes instead of just wearing them there. This was a change of scenery especially coming from a college campus where being comfortable is the only priority. Also, in general, Spaniards seem to have different feelings about punctuality! This took me a while to get used to as well.

Did you take part in any cultural activities abroad?

One of the cultural activities I participated in and enjoyed was Semana Santa (or in English, Holy Week). A predominantly Catholic nation, Spain goes all out for this period of contemplation followed by celebration. There are processions every single day of this week. In Valladolid they were very solemn and silent during the "œmourning" period, whereas cities like Seville had processions filled with chants and singing. Everyone comes out to watch these displays of sacrifice (parading barefoot in chilly weather on stone and dirt roads). The more celebratory processions were my favorites. I especially enjoyed the one on Palm Sunday when the majority of parades were composed of children waving palms and smiling. My friends and I were even interviewed by a local news station as to our take on the celebration. It was definitely a very neat experience that gave me a better sense of the Spanish culture and people!

What was your return like?

My return home was so bittersweet. I had been missing my family, but at the same time I didn't want to end the best semester ever! However, all good things must come to end. For now I have the photos and the memories that I can reflect on, remembering all the good times and building my motivation to return someday soon.

Do you have any final thoughts on your experience?

To anyone even remotely considering study abroad -- go for it! Take the leap! It was the best decision I have ever made.

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

Upon graduating with my undergraduate degree I ideally see myself attending graduate school abroad to study international relations. I really have a passion for this area of study and would love to cultivate my interest further in an international setting.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher

Ashley has provided us with an in-depth description of her cross-cultural immersion in Spain. She maximized her time there by participating in a homestay program. Now, she says, she is interested in studying international relations abroad. Working towards a master's abroad is a fantastic way to start an international career. We recommend that Ashley look into scholarships to help her make this goal a reality, and that she consider studying in a non-English-speaking country in order to build her language and communication skills. She could also maximize her time abroad by taking a part-time job or becoming involved in extra-curricular activities in her host country. Studying international relations can lead to a career in government or international business, or can be a good basis for starting a career in international law, or even working with an international NGO on peace and conflict issues.

Ashley's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
10 Core Global Competencies
Take control of your career with this ESSENTIAL model!
Virtual Internships in 2022!
Remote work is the way of the future! Start planning YOUR virtual international internship now.
The 1-Year & 4-Year Global Mindset Maps!
Don't miss your blueprint for success! Set goals & take action to build the Global You.
The Global You
What skills, knowledge and experiences can change your life? Find out with this NEW model!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
The Culture Tree
EXPLORE the three levels of culture!
9756
- # of # Filtered -
  • 102
102
16392
Building International Career Skills Online
1
16382
Making the Most of Lockdown with a Virtual Internship
2
16320
Independent, International, Virtual! A UN Internship Online
3
16312
Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future
4
16157
Zoom Zoom! A Virtual Internship with Central America
5
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
6
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
7
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
8
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
9
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
10
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
11
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
12
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
13
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
14
9773
Independent In India
15
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
16
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
17
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
18
16316
Exploring the Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Mexico City
19
16387
An Epic Internship in Malaysia
20
9756
Springtime In Spain
21
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
22
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
23
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
24
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
25
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
26
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
27
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
28
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
29
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
30
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
31
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
32
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
33
9754
Building Memories In India
34
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
35
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
36
9748
Adventure In The Alps
37
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
38
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
39
9762
American Freshman In London
40
9771
Learning To Love London
41
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
42
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
43
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
44
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
45
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
46
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
47
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
48
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
49
9753
A Season in Sweden
50
9765
Simpatico in Florence
51
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
52
9737
Passionate About Panama
53
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
54
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
55
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
56
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
57
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
58
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
59
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
60
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
61
16174
An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
62
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
63
16161
A Bright & Friendly Cross-cultural Workspace
64
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
65
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
66
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
67
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
68
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
69
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
70
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
71
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
72
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
73
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
74
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
75
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
76
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
77
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
78
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
79
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
80
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
81
9752
Giving In Guatemala
82
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
83
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
84
9787
A Spring Semester in London
85
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
86
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
87
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
88
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
89
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
90
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
91
10851
Tips From Tasmania
92
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
93
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
94
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
95
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
96
10157
Changing Course In China
97
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
98
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
99
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
100
10192
Out And About In Paris
101
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
102
9756
All Job Boards
460
All NGOs
1434
Au Pair Resources
40
Awards And Grants Resources
58
Business Directories
21
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
31
Children And Families Abroad
17
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
93
Cross-cultural Skills
83
Engineering Job Boards
62
Engineering Resources
78
Expatriate Networking Sites
36
Foreign Students Working in the US
10
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
17
Global Education And Social Action
53
Health And Medicine Job Boards
52
Health Career Resources
68
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
84
International Internship Organizations
314
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With The US Government
38
International Job Hunting Resources
17
International Law Careers Resources
114
International Law Job Boards
28
International Studies In The US And Canada
11
International Trade Resources
23
International Volunteer Organizations
496
Internship Directories And Advice
51
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
159
Language Careers
34
Learn A Language
114
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
36
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
40
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
73
NGO Directories
34
NGO Job Boards
51
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
110
Relocating Abroad
29
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
48
Stories From Abroad
102
Study Abroad Resources
194
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
104
Teach English Abroad Resources
77
Tools for Travelers
79
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
86
Travel Health And Safety
56
UN and Other IGOs
271
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
27
UN And Other IGOs Resources
75
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
42
Virtual International Internship Organizations
93
Visas and Passports
31
Volunteer Directories And Advice
63
Women Living And Working Overseas
19
Working Holiday Resources
79