Students and Faculty spend summer abroad in Spain
Twenty-four students and two faculty members traveled to Europe this summer to live, study and explore Spain as part of a Study Abroad Program organized and led by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and the Office of International Education. The group spent 6 weeks in Central Spain where they lived with host families and attended intensive Spanish courses at the Universidad Castilla-La Mancha campus. We, at the department, are really happy to see that our students returned, not only having improved their language skills but also having lived an unforgettable experience.
The students were keen on bettering their Spanish language skills as well as observing first-hand the rich culture and customs of the Spanish people. The participants lived in Cuenca just a 50 minute train ride south of Madrid, but Cuenca is a microcosm of Spanish culture. Almost all of the inhabitants of the area do not speak any English so the students were truly immersed in the language.
Kristy Britt and Roberto Robles-Valencia were the faculty teaching and accompanying our students this year, and making sure everything –from academics to housing- was working fine.
It was a very busy month and a half, considering students gain 9 credit hours in a six weeks program, but we, at the department, believe that this is the best way of taking fully advantage of this opportunity. After sometime, we think that most of the students are also convinced it was worth the effort. Hard work and personal discovery go together and we are able to see the results around us, in the students who traveled this past summer.
During the program, the group traveled to Madrid, the region of La Mancha, Valencia, Toledo. The La Mancha excursion took them along Don Quijote’s epic journey through central Spain. They visited medieval castles and windmills along with a vineyard and winery from Spain’s famous wine area. The trip to Madrid included visiting the Royal Palace and El Prado museum. It should also be noted that the students arrived in Spain during a very festive time: the coronation of their new monarch took place the first week they arrived and the World Cup culminated while there.
The University is making an effort to internationalize its projection and we are proud to be contributing to it. Our students are bringing the name of this institution and this part of the world to places that did not know anything about us. They are also discovering new opportunities, new worlds, and seeing their own world anew when they come back. Paradoxically, discovering the world and discovering oneself is very much connected and we are hoping that we can offer this opportunity to more students in the following years.
If you are curious about the program, about Spain, ask the faculty at the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, ask the Office of International Education, but do not forget to ask the participants: the students who participated in any of the past two years programs. We found out than when you name Cuenca to them, their eyes illuminate and they cannot stop talking about it.