Semester Study Abroad Programs – A Student’s Perspective
Kyle shares his insight of doing a semester study abroad program in Seville
Kyle Kelly is a student from the College of William & Mary. He is two months into his semester abroad, Kyle agreed to share his experience with us so that you can get a better idea of what the program is like. We had just been talking about how it’s common in America to have a Spanish speaking side of the family, yet grow up only speaking English. This is the case with Kyle, it was a large motivator as to why he chose to do a semester study abroad program.
What were your motivations for studying abroad?
“In order to converse with my Peruvian side of the family, I have always learnt Spanish in school. However, I haven’t been able to obtain the level of fluency I want. I knew that I wanted to fully immerse myself into the culture and language of a Spanish speaking country so I could get closer to achieving fluency. So that’s why I chose to do a semester study abroad program. The next choice was whether to go to South America or Spain. After some research I chose the Spanish city of Seville. My friends recommended it, plus my credits transfer directly to my university back home which is perfect.”
What are your thoughts on Seville?
“I love it, the food’s awesome. The people here are really nice and outgoing too; they’re very willing to help you with your Spanish. For example, at restaurants they’re good with explaining what things are and how to say stuff, they are really enthusiastic too. I feel comfortable here, there’s something about Seville, being in the south of Spain. It feels really safe.”
What’s it like studying at a Spanish university?
“It’s super different from the states. Well the organization of the exams and coursework is similar. But I feel like the workload is less stressful here. They’re not as demanding of you, homework wise or with the curriculum. A big difference is the professors, they’re way nicer here. If you have a problem you just go and ask them and they are happy to help you. It definitely feels less stressful with the environment here.”
What’s it like living with a family during your semester study abroad trip?
“It’s been great, I love it. The mom has other students doing homestays too so I get to meet new people all the time. It’s cool to learn about their own cultures as well. I’ve shared with students from Italy, Sweden and Germany. I always eat dinner with them, it’s funny as when we’re at the table there can be 3 different languages being spoken and then the moms like “¡Ayy! Ahora hablamos en español” We get to speak a lot of Spanish at the house.”
Did you find it easy to meet new friends?
“Well I came to Seville knowing no one, but then I met the others taking the semester study abroad program. There are about 10 of us and then we’ve met more people through the university. We also did an excursion to Morocco organized by MundoLengua, it was super interesting to see their way of life. In general it’s been pretty easy to make friends, especially as everyone wants to make the most out of their time here.”
What advice would you give to someone about to do a semester study abroad trip?
“Keep an open mind, wherever you come from its not gonna be the same culture. You won’t come with a friend group you know and are comfortable with so be ready to jump out your shell more. Your semester study abroad trip will be as good as you choose to make it. You can be more outgoing and make friends to explore the city with, go have tapas and go out at night. This experience will be much different to just staying in your house and watching Netflix or something.”
How often do you speak Spanish?
“Every day, at my house with the family or in the classroom, I study in Spanish too. Plus, I do a history course with MundoLengua, it’s included on the semester study abroad program. We meet in a new part of the city each week and then they teach us about it, Antonio the teacher is super fun.”
How has your Spanish improved so far?
“I have noticed that my vocab has definitely expanded. For example, if I went to a restaurant at the start of the trip I would recognise only some of the food. However, now if I see a fancy old menu I can understand what they’re really cooking. But generally speaking when I meet new people I find myself rolling off the tongue with the small talk. I don’t even have to think about it now which is a big change. But I’ve also noticed my limits, like if I do something I haven’t learnt in school before. For example, trying to figure out with the pharmacist what medicine I need. It’s beneficial to be in those situations as that’s the kind of on-the-spot vocab you need to be fluent.”
By talking with Kyle it seems that he is enjoying his semester study abroad program with us. After all, it is an opportunity of a lifetime! I mean the photo above says it all really. If you’re interested in having the same experience – then click here for more details.