From: Flint, Michigan
Elizabeth traveled to Spain through American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) during the 2011 summer. She studied there for 6 weeks. Here is a reflection of her experience:
Through the AIFS study abroad service, I attended the University of Salamanca in Spain for six weeks. Along with other students, I participated in the International Courses program at the University. My classes included grammar, translation, and literature. The program leaders were extremely approachable and helpful. They had experience dealing with international students and gave us advice on many issues. They taught at a high level of difficulty, but also encouraged students in a positive way.
Which experience had the most impact on your personally?
My favorite part of the trip was traveling to different cities in Spain. Besides staying in Salamanca, we visited Madrid, Barcelona, Zamora, and various other cities.
What were your expectations of the trip? How did your experience differ from your expectations?
The trip fully met my expectations. I was happy with the experience overall. I expected to improve my Spanish and meet a lot of new people.
What was the biggest difference in culture that you experienced while a abroad?
The biggest difference, yet the most expected, was constantly hearing a foreign language. Although I have studied Spanish for the past seven years, the shock of hearing the language at all times was what shocked me the most.
What surprised you the most about your time abroad?
I was surprised at the mix of people that participated in the trip. There were students from all over the U.S. as well as China, Russia, Brazil, and other countries as well.
How has this experience changed you?
This experience allowed me to experience a new culture. From this I learned a lot about myself, and in particular how I deal with challenges in my life.
Would you recommend this program to other students?
Yes, I would definitely recommend the trip to other students. The AIFS program was very organized, helping you to enroll in classes and finding accommodations. Experiencing a new culture is always worthwhile.