This past July, I had the amazing opportunity to be able to study abroad as an undergraduate student. I participated in the Spanish Language and Culture Program that was based in Madrid, Spain for a course of 4 weeks led by a touring agency called FORSPRO. I participated in this program for two reasons: I have friends that have participated in the program before me and enjoyed it and it was a Binghamton-based program, so I liked that my grades would affect my GPA. Before I went abroad, I have no idea what I was getting myself into. I am the middle child of 5 and before I left, I have never traveled outside of the east coast of the United States. I remember when my grandmother and brother dropped me off at the airport and I was holding in all my emotions, pretending like I had it all together, when inside, I was truly mortified. I remember going through security at JFK Airport and the guards questioning my behavior, which I explained was because this was my first time leaving the country let alone by myself.
Although I was scared, I was very surprised to see how the “Madrileños”, a term to define Madrid locals, were so warm and welcoming to tourists. The most rewarding thing about my experience abroad was that I took advantage of already being overseas by traveling to a couple other countries. For the four weeks I was abroad, I managed to travel to Madrid, where I was based for school, Barcelona, Paris, Florence, Rome, and Naples. Getting to experience the several different cultures, whether it be watching a Flamenco Show to trying Paella was something I would never trade for the world.
Studying in Spain this past summer helped me achieve some of my personal goals. The trip showed me that I am capable of being more outgoing and to reach out of my comfort zone. I expanded my food palette by trying new things and I also made a lot of friends from different parts of the United States, mostly Los Angeles. As far as my academic goals, I was able to complete my Spanish minor abroad. In addition, being abroad helped me improve my spanish speaking skills, which I find very relevant to my life because I want to become a lawyer and be able to comfortably say that I am Bilingual. Would I encourage other students to study abroad?!?!?! Is that even a question? OF COURSE!!!
Going to Europe was one of the best choices I could ever possibly make in my life and I would not have traded it for the world. I want to end this with a piece of advice: Do not get discouraged if you are financially struggling. I am an EOP student, and I receive maximum financial aid and student loans. My financial aid did not fully cover the cost of the program plus my expenses, so I raised money for myself via gofundme.com as well as applying for and receiving scholarships. The Myers Scholarship truly impacted my education abroad experience, and without that money, there would have been many things I would have not been able to do while I was there. I leave the post with the phrase that one of my professors used throughout the whole month: “De Madrid Al Cielo”
April 14: Rebecca Greenwald, a Human Development major and Spanish minor, studied on the Spain: Spanish Language & Culture program during summer 2017.