Biz stands in front of La Alhambra
Overseas Study Program
Biz’s majors: Journalism, International Studies, Spanish
Term abroad: Seville - Summer 2009, London - Summer 2010, Seville - Spring 2011
Reason you chose this program:
- I really wanted to study in Seville since my Spanish teacher talked about in middle school. It was still close to Europe for traveling, but it is uniquely Spanish and known for its strong Andalusian culture.
- What journalist wouldn’t want to work in London? It’s a hub of arts and culture, a center for politics and a melting pot of the world. There’s always news happening so it is a journalist’s dream.
- After I spent six weeks there during a summer, I knew I had to go back to Seville to really become a Sevillana and be a part of the Andalusian lifestyle. I wanted to gain fluency in Spanish so I wanted to stay for at least a semester so I could also fully integrate into the culture.
- (London)My journalism class featured visits to different media outlets throughout London. We toured the BBC when they were on air with their international broadcast and got to see behind the scenes of one of the biggest media organizations.
- (Seville)My favorite classes were Translation and Spanish Cinema. The Spanish movie class was great because you got to see how the Spanish view their own culture plus I could then talk with my Spanish friends about the movies. The translation class was a surprise to me about how interesting it was and how much it improved my Spanish. I never thought I would be able to translate Shakespearean sonnets or an instruction manual for a printer.
Describe the housing situation:
- In London, I lived in a flat with four friends and in an apartment building with the 20 other students from IU. It was great to have the independence to invite friends over and cook meals.
- In Seville, I lived with a Spanish señora, her boyfriend, her 28-year-old daughter and a roommate from IU. By the end I felt like a part of the family and we all still keep in touch!
Advice to future study abroad participants: Try everything at least once whether it is dancing the Sevillanas, going to a bullfight or trying the caracoles (snails).
Best Memory: During Holy Week, we went to the midnight Easter mass at the cathedral, the 3rd largest in the world. They turned off all the lights while the congregation sang, illuminated by candles. It was very spiritual, but also a real insight into the Spanish and Catholic culture in Sevilla.
Biggest Surprise: How quickly I picked up Spanish when you realize that it’s the only way to communicate. Suddenly words like “microwave” and “hairdryer” are very important.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: For me, it was a culture shock to learn that it is very offensive to be barefoot in a Spanish home. Señoras think you will catch strep throat plus they believe the floors are way too dirty. I got yelled at any time I forgot to put on my slippers when leaving my room.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would…
- stay longer. Six weeks was too short. A semester was too short.
- Take a class in the university with Spanish students. It would’ve been a great way to make Spanish friends and to also improve my fluency.
Greatest Challenge: Coming home. It was hard to leave my Spanish friends, my Spanish family, my boyfriend and my roommate and coming home to a completely different academic culture and pace of life.
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: Little 500 will be there every year. Your friendships won’t change in those four months. With Skype, Gchat and Facebook, it is super easy to keep in touch with everyone. Plus, they’re more likely to be jealous of you studying abroad then you will be of them going to class in Ballantine every day!
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn:
- The Spanish siesta isn’t always a nap, but more of a chance for everyone to come home and eat lunch as a family. If you have time to squeeze in a nap afterwards, then you’re taking a true siesta!
- Most Spanish children live with their parents until they are in their late 20’s. My 28-year-old Spanish sister moved out to live with her boyfriend during the first month, but we still saw her every day for lunch. Her mom even still did her laundry!