We made it. Just a short 9-hour plane ride later and here we are: Madrid, Spain. Right away I found others on the same flight as me as well as at the airport when I landed heading to the same adventure, and so naturally I tagged along for some guidance. After all the traveling was said and done, our group finally found some relaxation in our personal dorm rooms in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, which is right next to a breathtaking monastery where I would be attending classes by the why (look it up). It was a long day, but I knew I would soon have vacation-like days in the vicinity.
Wrong. Every minute of every day there was something to be doing, and I loved it. When you’re not in class, you are sightseeing, exploring, connecting, and adventuring. Since my program is faculty-led, there are excursions planned almost everyday so we never feel like a day has been wasted. They provided a group of locals our age to become our “conversation partners” and I have learned more from these people than in all my years of Spanish in school. Being able to hear them converse with each other and with us only using Spanish forces me to utilize my knowledge of the language to its fullest potential. (I also learned more of the “fun” phrases they don’t teach you in school, if you know what I mean!)
I have now traveled all over Spain with students from the University of Alabama, as well as with locals who are eager to teach us. I am also far from being done, for I love it so much here that I decided to stay for the next month and finish my minor before my sophomore year. UA in Spain has been the perfect program for me, and I can’t wait to experience it for two months now instead of one.