My study abroad experience covered an entire academic year in two different cities. I chose to do an entire year knowing that just one semester would not be enough! Being who I am, I needed variety hence my decision to study abroad in Granada, Spain and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The two cities are completely and utterly different, but both equally amazing.
Granada is located in southern Spain and is one of the most historic cities I have ever visited. The city has over two thousand years of history and you can feel it pulsate from every crevice. I studied at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas (or Center of Modern Languages) which is part of the University of Granada. The building was tucked away in one of the older parts of the city; at first glance the building is rather plain but after you step into its doors, you enter into a large grand central patio filled with plants and students from all over the world chatting and drinking coffee. The CLM is such a popular place for international students and hundreds of Americans. All of my favorite experiences happened outside of the classroom (like always). I cannot talk about Granada without mentioning TAPAS. The word is literally sacred in southern Spain. Tapas are free bits of food that come with every drink you order, ranging from your average peanuts, to an entire hamburger- all for around $3. Nights filled with tapas, friends from all over the world, and the majestic La Alhambra (the beautiful Moorish castle that looms over Granada) will be what I remember from my time there.
My second destination of Palma de Mallorca is where things “got real”. Palma is located off the eastern coast of Spain and is part of the Islas Balearas. With this program, I attended the actual university there which is called Universitat de les Illes Balears. My very first day, I walked into my introduction to business class with 40 other Spaniards and one French girl. I was absolutely terrified to say the least, knowing that I was not completely fluent in Spanish. My professor however, knew she had international students in her class and really helped us feel comfortable and made sure we understood the material day in and day out. My campus was absolutely beautiful but much smaller than American standards. On a nice day (which was basically always) we would head outside and have class at the picnic tables along with our “café con leches”. Life on a Mediterranean island is probably the best I will ever find; from taking long hikes to the northern part of the island on weekends, to swimming in the ocean every day during my final weeks there, things couldn’t have been sweeter. My Spanish excelled more than I could have ever hoped for, and I learned to appreciate an island lifestyle.
Studying abroad was (get ready for this cliché part) the best decision I have made yet to date in my lifetime. I had the opportunity to travel to over 11 countries and 24 cities and broaden all my world perspectives! Colorado is home, but Spain has my heart.