Emili Sperling, left, and a friend attend a Real Madrid football match.
Overseas Study Program
Emili’s majors: Spanish, with minors in Economics, WEST, and History
Year abroad: Academic Year 2006–2007
Reason you chose this program: Excellent, well-established program with in-state prices. An academic year in Madrid costs the same as a semester in Seville for an in-state student like me.
Favorite classes: Dialectology and Spain in the Global World
Describe the housing situation: Another IU student and I found a double room in an apartment shared with three Spaniards, a Swiss, and a Brit. Two bathrooms, one kitchen. Basically, a cultural sorority house with a great view.
Biggest surprise: As inefficient as the Spanish culture makes things, the metro system was amazing! You can get anywhere, door to door, by metro and bus. By far one of the best transit systems in Europe.
If I could do it over again, I would... force myself to speak more with my roommates and engage in more conversation in Spanish. Now that I’m home I feel as if I'm losing the language more quickly and if I would’ve practiced more there, maybe I wouldn’t be losing it.
Advice to future study abroad participants: Consider going for longer than you intend. Once you get over there and you get accustomed to the culture, you are forced to leave. I am so glad that I was abroad for an entire year.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I won’t lie; first semester I was a homesick wreck. But that was the beauty of going for a year as I was able to enjoy the experience after the culture shock. And now that I’m home I want to go back!
Fact about Spain that most people would be surprised to learn: Spain exports a lot of olives to Italy, who then turns around and makes olive oil with them and sells the product as “Italian” olive oil. Cheaters.