Why did you choose this program? I chose the Madrid Program because it required me to utilize my Spanish skills to immerse myself into the culture. This particular program also required the student to find their own housing after the first month, enabling me to step out of my comfort zone and get over the fear of my "inadequate speaking skills". I heard great things about the program and I could apply all of my scholarships, thus it was the perfect fit for me!
Describe your favorite class(es) abroad. My favorite class abroad was Dialectology because I was actually able to utilize it when I visited other cities throughout Spain. This class describes the various dialects and their historical aspects; it was interesting to hear the different accents and aspects of the same language.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? During the first month I lived with a señora and her maid. The following five months I lived in a piso with four other females, one american from Wisconsin, and three native Spanish speakers. There was a communal bathroom and den, but we had our own rooms that could be locked.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? I would advise prospective students to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zones. I would advise them to live with all Spaniards or Spaniards and only ONE American. If one can, remain there for a year instead of a semester for it goes by extremely quickly.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? One of my best memories from my time abroad was going to dinner with my Spanish friends (in addition to others from different cultures). We talked in Spanish, ordered tapas, and then went to a social event. The fellowship was very fun and they are now lifelong friends.
What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? I was surprised to see that Madrid was very multicultural. There are a lot of different ethnicities within the city; it is actually very diverse.
“If I could do it over, I would…” If I could do it over I would study abroad for an entire year instead of a semester.
What was your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge was getting over my fear of my language skills being too inadequate. Because I thought I had unbearable "broken Spanish," initially I would not try to talk that much or use minimal and basic words to relay what I desired to say.
Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” Going abroad is one of the best things that a person can do if they desire to truly learn and be prepared for any professional setting, whether it be corporate America or a professional school. It allows one to step out of their comfort zone, meet diverse individuals, and experience life as a global citizen.
What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? I think people would be surprised to learn that Spain is actually more diverse than its surrounding countries.
How did you find scholarships for study abroad? I chose a IU-administered program so that all of my scholarships would transfer. Nonetheless, I went to various meetings who provided scholarships specifically to students who were intending on traveling abroad. I would advise a student to look at various department pages and look on IU's website.
Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? Students with strong GPA’s could apply for the Hutton Honors Scholarship. If one is a minority, I would advise applying to the DEMA's Study Abroad Scholarship and the Minority Scholarship that is available for some programs via the Education Abroad Application.