Friday, September 14, 2012

My Study Abroad Experience

When entering college, I didn't know what I wanted to study.  However, the one thing I did know, was that I wanted to study abroad.  In my second year at University of Florida, I decided to get a job at Starbucks in order to start my savings for wherever I would go.  The following summer, while my family took the usual trip for art shows (as seen in my previous post) I stayed home in order to work at a local Ale House to add some money to my account.  These jobs, a long with the amazing help from my parents, allowed me to spend the second semester of my junior year in Madrid, Spain.


The study abroad program I chose was through the Business Department at UF.  I planned on minoring in business, so this was the perfect way to get some Business and Spanish credits accomplished while being in another country!  The school was great about setting up meetings so that all the study abroad students had opportunities to meet one another and get an idea about what the next five months would look like.
The apartment I signed up for was extremely close to the city center- only about 10 minutes from Plaza Mayor and not much further from Puerta del Sol.  I got really lucky in regards to roommates as well.  I lived with two girls named Kasey and Kristen who also attended UF and I lived with a boy named Borja who was from Murcia, Spain.

All of us in our apartment:

The first month in Spain was spent in an intensive Spanish course where we spent our time studying Spanish five days a week for five hours a day.  The following four months consisted of Spanish classes on Monday and Wednesday and Business classes online.  This meant that we had a lot of time in these four months to travel.  I traveled a lot with my roommates as well as some other friends that we made through our school, Antonio de Nebrija University.  We also met Gonzalo, who was from Madrid and knew everything there was to know about the city.  He took us everywhere. Without him, we probably wouldn't have seen half the places we got to see!

Gonzalo showing Kasey and I the park El Capricho:


Here I am in Segovia, Spain with Kristen, Sarah, and Kasey (one of our first trips):


I was able to see ten different cities in Spain and each trip was unique, fun, and a learning experience.  The following pictures are of some of the places I was able to go in Spain.

Sevilla:


Granada (where I went skiing for the first time!):


Barcelona (some cool art on the street):


Valencia (eating paella valenciana):


Zamara (at a winery):