College is a time for new and exciting experiences as well as a time to explore diverse and innovative ideas. What could be better than traveling to a foreign country to learn about their ideas, history, and culture? I believe study abroad is something that every college student should do to help avoid ethnocentrism, to expand their horizons, and to appreciate everything the world has to offer.
I am particularly interested in the summer program offered in Santander, Spain. My grandmother came to the United States from Barcelona, Spain as a young adult to work and go to school. I have visited family in Barcelona several times and have had the opportunity to see some of the country on one family trip when we traveled from Barcelona down the eastern coast to the Rock of Gibraltar. Santander, however, is in a part of Spain that I have yet to explore. It is one thing to see a country while on vacation, but it is an entirely different experience to live there for an extended period of time. I do not think it is possible to become fluent in any language without living in that country. Even though I have some significant experience with the Spanish language, I believe that studying in Santander would deepen my understanding of not only the language, but of the culture, the people, and their history.
My immigrant grandmother worked as a realtor, helping Spanish-speaking people navigate the complex process of finding and financing their first home in the United States. She inspired me to consider making the Spanish language and culture an important part of my career. I am majoring in finance with a specialization in international business/Spanish. Since the business college does not offer a program in Spain, and understanding the language and cultural aspects are crucial when doing business in any foreign country, I believe that this program would greatly benefit me in my career path. I feel very strongly that I will be able to relate my experiences in Santander to my academic and professional goals.
Academically, it is very important to me that I continue studying Spanish. Going to Spain gives me the chance to learn in a native environment, and I do not think there is any better way to internalize a language and develop fluency. I have a very strong love for the Spanish language, people, and culture. A summer in Spain will allow me to bring together all of my past experiences and combine them with this new and exciting opportunity.
Here is an undeniable advantage to living and studying in Spain; to be submersed in the Spanish way of life is the only way to fully understand and learn about how the country impacts and is impacted by the rest of the world. Not only will I learn about Spain, but I will also come to appreciate other countries in the world from a different point of view. I will be able to apply my new-found knowledge to my entire life and the way I look at the world around me. What could be more exciting than that?