My study abroad experience in Spain was life-changing. I used NRCSA to create my own summer program in Vitoria (the Basque Country), Madrid, and Barcelona. I got to experience three distinct regions of the country and their fascinating linguistic and cultural differences. I also made friends from around the world and greatly improved my Spanish while receiving nine upper division Spanish credit hours!
If you are adventurous, flexible, and independent, I would encourage you to design your own program by yourself or with NRCSA. I also highly recommend el Pais Vasco and Zador Language School as great places to study. Ultimately, my time in Spain made me more independent and adaptable to diverse cultures, and it helped prepared me (and my resume) for my current job in Korea.
Stephanie, Tennessee, studied at Valencia Polytechnic University in Spain.
Things are getting pretty crazy over here. Fallas is about to start. It is a festival that they have in Valencia every year. People party for five days straight! Also, they build these huge statues made out of cardboard and paper, and at the end of the week they torch them. Every day in the plaza a different company puts on a fire works show. It is during the day at exactly 2pm. Now I know what you are thinking: Fireworks in the day? It is amazing...your body feels like it is an earthquake. Since it is in the day time they go more for sound than flash. The fireworks last for at least five minutes. It is a constant ear-ringing noise. It is going to be very exciting in the up-coming week.
This past weekend I went to Madrid. It is a nice place to visit for a few days, but I would not want to live there. There were a lot of tourists there and it seems to be a bit more dangerous than Valencia, but of course it is a huge city and that is usually the case. We went to the Prado and Reina Sofia Museums and they were fantastic! Yeah...I'm a big dork, but hey...it is super cool to see a painting in your art appreciation book and then to see the real thing live and in person. We walked around the city and went to all the major tourist sites.
There is great food in Madrid, but for me, there is great food everywhere. Valencia is famous for its paella. This dish consists of very delicious rice mixed with your choice of chicken or seafood. It is wonderful. There are not as many mullets in Madrid so that was a little refreshing, but the style here compared to the states is very different.
I have really enjoyed working wth the Magellan Program and would recommend it to anyone!
Matt, Tennessee, studied at ESC-Rennes in France
It's late January and I have been here for over a week; it will still be a couple of days before I can move into my apartment. I have been living in a youth hostel (not the best place in the world to sleep at night) but I know that there are some students in Rennes who allow incoming exchange students to stay with them while the visiting students search for an apartment. It is really important to contact the Come On Team well in advance to locate a place to live. The Come On Team needs some time, but they will find a place that is nice and in a good area of town. Most landlords require a security deposit of two months rent--payable in cash, usually. So the important thing is to make contact early!
Anthony, studied in Costa Rica through NRCSA
Studying abroad is the best way to gain experience at becoming better at Spanish. Going abroad definitely helped my Spanish speaking and listening skills. Also with going abroad you gain information about the cultures and get to see and live that culture daily.
William, studied in Spain through NRCSA
Studying abroad is a great challenge for people who want to excel in language and culture. I would advise people to learn about the country of which they are going to before they go over-seas. I felt a big culture shock for the first couple weeks but eventually I got used to the European lifestyle.
I studied at the Enforex Language School. The first day of class was tough because the teachers only speak in Spanish and the textbooks are all in Spanish. The classes are very interactive but tend to be a little long.
Spain was one the best experiences of my life. I had a great time meeting new people, eating great food, and exploring the city. Some of the cities I visited were Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, and Segovia. A big advantage is that the countries in Europe are so close to each other, and that you get a chance to visit other countries (France, Italy, Holland, Germany..etc). Be warned that the cost of living tends to be more expensive than in the US. I would definitely go back again when I get a chance.
Traniece, studied in The Netherlands through The Magellan Exchange
I’m so glad I did it, and not just because it was cheaper for me to go to Europe for a semester than it was for me to study here. I’d always wanted to travel, and this was just a great opportunity and experience.
With no campus housing at Hogeschool Zuyd, where I studied while in the Netherlands, all the school’s foreign exchange students were housed on the same floor of a nearby hotel. There were students from Spain, France, Slovakia, China, Belgium and several other countries all living near each other. Because of our shared experience, I became friends with several of the other exchange students — including another student from TTU who, even though we were from the same campus, I didn’t know until we met there.
Classmates in several courses found that the academic environment in the Netherlands was much more relaxed than in the United States. When we get our course schedule here, we know what days and times our classes will meet throughout the semester, but it wasn’t as definite there. Sometimes, a class would meet several times a week, other times it would meet only once a week, and occasionally, it would go for a week or longer without meeting.
On those occasions, my friends and I spent our spare time traveling. I made a list of all the places I wanted to visit while I was over there, and of all the places I wrote down, there was only one — Berlin — that I didn’t make it to. As well as visiting Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, I also traveled to Rome and Vatican City, Slovakia, Prague and the Czech Republic, Paris, London, Munich and Belgium. The personal traveling I did while I was there was as much of an educational experience as anything else. I often found myself thinking, ‘This is something I’ve seen before in books, and now here I am — standing right in front of it.’
It’s an experience that I definitely wouldn’t trade for anything in the world and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who’s interested in seeing more of what the world has to offer.
D.F. to Zuyd University, The Netherlands
Was very pleased with all aspects of the exchange..."It was simply tremendous... Arrangements were handled in an efficient manner and host at ZU was wonderful. I learned a lot about European views and culture as well as the European approach to the same problems that are facing American business professionals. I will highly recommend the exchange to my students and faculty colleagues alike.
M.L. to Rovaniemi, Finland
More preliminary information would have been helpful; not enough details were provided on materials/levels/topics which the host institution desired. Accommodations were moderately satisfactory (no specific comments). Presentations appeared to be relevant and appropriate. The experience contributed to my frofessional development and was a worthwhile social-cultural experience. I am more interested in encouraging students to participate.
C.L.C. to Zuyd University, The Netherlands & Satakunta University, Finland
I had high expectations, but my experiences far exceeded those expectations. The accommodations and arrangements made by the host institutions were superb. I forged new friendships and gained greater understanding of their cultures and institutions. My participation in the exchange program will have a profound effect on the course of my career.