Be a light for the U's Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies on Give to the Max Day. Make a gift here.
Recently in Learning Abroad Experiences Category
2010-2011 Study Abroad Scholarship Winner
"Quien no aventura, no cruza el mar." This Spanish proverb, meaning 'he who does not take risks [adventure] will not cross the sea,' has been an inspiration to me since high school. It pertains not only to my life as a whole, but especially at this stage in my college career. I hope to take my first trip abroad to Ecuador through the Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) program in the spring of 2011 and am so looking forward to that adventure.
I am currently a junior Spanish major and have thoroughly enjoyed my classes in the department thus far. One of my favorite classes was 3404 Medical Spanish. Through this class and my involvement in the Community Engagement Scholars Program I volunteered with the preschool program and prenatal classes at Centro. In addition to academics, working with this community has helped me improve my language skills, be more confident, and make a difference for the children there. This volunteer position also sparked a new interest for me in working with Spanish-speakers, especially pregnant women and children in the medical field as an interpreter. All of these elements are why I love service-learning and chose the MSID program over the others. I am hoping that my experience in Ecuador will allow me to grow, learn, and make a positive impact on the community I will be with.
Last semester (Fall 2010), I had the opportunity to study abroad in Toledo, Spain. It was a bit of a last-minute decision as I am a senior this year and will be graduating in May. As an English and Spanish double-major, one of my advisors recommended the Toledo program to me since I was far enough ahead in my English studies and had to do some catching up in Spanish credits. I took her advice and a year later, I was flying across the ocean preparing myself for the experience of a lifetime. In Spain, I chose to live with a host family as I thought that having a native Spanish family speaking with me every day would help improve my speaking and listening skills more than in a classroom. Unlike most of my friends in the program, I chose to take 6 classes while in Spain (18 credits), some of which included conversational classes, linguistics, literature, art history, and film. Linguistics was definitely my favorite of my classes over the semester and, because of this, the class in which I learned the most. The linguistics class also helped my reading, speaking, and listening skills as I was able to learn about the origins and formations of the Spanish language and the reasoning behind the way it is now spoken. In addition to learning about Spanish language and culture inside the classroom, I also had many opportunities to travel around Spain and visit many of the historical places I read about. Getting to visit the landmarks and historical places of Spain that I had so often read about gave me a whole new perspective on my learning: it wasn't just some distant land of the past; it was all right there within my grasp.