Spanish Study Abroad Enriches Student’s Experience

With a double major in Psychology and Spanish, it had been a longtime goal of senior Ali Nelson to travel to Spain ever since she started studying the language in sixth grade.

“I have always wanted to travel abroad,” said Nelson. “It just seemed like a fun country to visit. I liked all the cultural elements like Flamenco dancing, bulls, churros con chocolate and of course the language itself.”

From January to May of 2017, after officially declaring her Spanish major, Nelson made her international aspirations a reality as she spent the spring academic semester participating in a study abroad program in Spain that included partaking in academic language courses, traveling, and taking in the unique Spanish culture.

Spanish Study AbroadTo prepare for her trip Professor Ana Alexander helped Nelson get acquainted with the local culture, as well as what to expect from her abroad travels. Her preparations included a detailed presentation of what students can expect upon their arrival to the visiting country and how to acclimate themselves once they have returned home.

“It was a very helpful presentation, which prepared me for my experience abroad,” explained Nelson.

While abroad Nelson was able to sharpen her language skills as four out of five of her classes overseas were taught completely in Spanish, allowing her to fully embrace the local language. Having prepared for this environment during her studies at Castleton, she was able to thrive in her studies despite the language barrier. 

She credits the Castleton foreign language department with fully preparing her for her experience abroad and encourages others students to take advantage of international travel during their college career.

“I learned about myself, I met a lot of people, I traveled a lot, and I became more independent,” she said, adding that her experience abroad is one she will never forget. “For many, studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, so experience the culture and take advantage of what little time you have there.”