By Nick Landgren
We hear a lot about study abroad programs around this time of year at Lynn, but not many students really know just how great of an experience it could be for them.
During my sophomore year, I went to Seville, Spain for J –Term. I was understandably apprehensive about the whole thing, as it was my first time studying abroad, I did not know much about what the program would be like, and until I had signed up and paid, I did not even know where I would be living.
At that point in college, I just knew I had to do something, anything that would get me out of the same old routine and would hopefully give me a story to tell. With any luck, if you’re reading this and feel as if you are in the same place that I was and are looking for something new, maybe this could help tip the scales in the right direction for you.
After 21 hours of total travel time, a bottle of ineffectual sleeping pills and three stale airplane meals, I arrived in Seville, Spain. I was greeted by a group of other Lynn students that I would come to know very well over the next three weeks and my host mother Carmine. At that point, all I wanted was
At that point, all I wanted was a soft, still surface to lay on, but it was mid-day, and we still had to make it to the house. Over the next three weeks, I had more fun than I had expected was possible, in the company of complete strangers, in a country in which I did not speak the language, and in a city that I did not know.
The program that I chose was the Language and Culture J–Term, which means for three hours a day we would be in a classroom learning the basics of the Spanish language. On the weekends, we would travel out by bus to different cities in Spain to see different attractions and ancient structures, all while staying in youth hostels that were paid for by the program.
While we were staying and attending class in Seville, we were with our host families. Staying with a host family was the most nerve-wracking part, but it turned out to be a really rewarding experience.
In the words of one of my fellow travelers on the trip, “It was great [living with a host family], they were very nice and great to get along with,” said Layna Simon, alumnus. “They really made sure I felt welcome and part of the family.”
As for the class that we attended from 9 a.m. to noon every weekday, I cannot express enough the appreciation I felt for our teacher, Carlos. He was one of the warmest men I have ever met, and we were lucky to have him.
After class, he would take us to his favorite places to practice our Spanish; he would buy us hot chocolate and show us around different food markets in the area, explaining the culture all the while. “Carlos was my favorite,” said Hilal Demir, senior. “Everyone was crying when we had to say goodbye; he just helped us learn so much.”
My favorite part of the trip was our down time – after class every day we would all head to our favorite bar together (everywhere is a bar in Spain), and just get to know one another until we got calls from our host families telling us to come home for dinner. “My favorite thing about the bars was trying all of the tapas,” said Courtney Robinson, junior. “Also, I loved just getting the chance to know the people I was traveling with.”
Overall, my trip to Spain was unexpectedly amazing, and the relationships and experiences I had while I was there I would not trade for the world.