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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Looking forward to Spain!

Only 88 days until I leave the United States for my summer study abroad trip to Madrid! (I’m not counting down the days or anything…) Last week all 30 of us Purdue students got together with our Spanish professor Ana Gomez-Bravo for an info session about where we’re going to be spending our summer! Madrid is the capitol of Spain, and it is filled with historic monuments, parks, plazas, shopping districts, and museums. I can’t wait to spend six weeks taking classes and exploring the city! We plan on leaving at the end of May, and we’ll be living in Madrid until the middle of July.

I will have the opportunity to take 6 credit hours in two classes – the Art of the Prado and Spanish Food and Culture. We’ll learn all about Spanish artists while exploring the Prado Museum in Madrid. And from Professor Gomez-Bravo herself will be the experience of cooking Spanish food and tasting new ingredients. My “Art of the Prado” class will take place at the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, which is one of the top ten universities in Spain.

We’ll all be living in the homes of Spanish families during our stay, which is exciting for me! I know some students who are apprehensive about the experience, but I think it’ll be an amazing to gain that sort of familiarity with natives of the city and to be completely immersed in their culture and language and food. I imagine that my Spanish speaking skills will be much more honed by the time I return to the States!

My credit gained through this experience will count toward my Spanish minor, but the knowledge that I will gain from this is much more extensive than just the language. By living as a student in a foreign country, I will be able to soak in so much of the culture and reach a new level of understanding of the people there. Being there for a long period of time can get me past a surface-level exposure to the city and the country – much better than the normal tourist experience! What I hope to gain most from this adventure is a summer of awesome memories from learning by immersion in one of the most vibrant cultures in the world.

-- Laurel Donaldson

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