A No-Brainer

Sierra Young
Global and International Studies and Spanish Majors
Universidad de Burgos, Fall 2017

My decision to study abroad was a no-brainer. I had been excited about it since high school and I knew that Spain was my best option. It gave me the opportunity to speak Spanish, while also allowing me to see other cultures, languages, and countries in such a short distance traveling. This past year has been a year full of change and new things. Although I was only in Burgos for four months, the time leading up to my departure was just as impactful. I spent that time filling out applications, applying for scholarships, saving up money, and learning how to make it without my friends and family. I had never spent time away from them and it was something that originally scared me a lot. I was pleased and relieved that my time in Spain was not as hard as expected. Of course, I missed them, but my time in Spain was so beneficial, fun, and amazing and that definitely took priority in my life.

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The classes in Spain were so interesting to me. I loved that there was such a large variety in what we were learning and I also appreciated the level that we were learning at. We were able to comprehend and learn a lot, but I think that professors and coordinators understood that living in Spain was work in itself. Speaking Spanish in and out of the school gave me so much practice and is what truly bettered my speaking skills and helped me learn about Spanish culture. Along with the classes, I did spend one morning volunteering at a local school with children ages five to twelve. One other girl from WMU and I made a PowerPoint about our lives in the US and how we we’re getting along in Spain and we presented to the kids. We sang songs and played games and had so much fun. I wish I would’ve had the opportunity to do it more than I did.

I also had the opportunity to travel to six countries other than Spain, and not only was it the absolute best times of my life, but I also learned so much. I visited an innumerable number of museums, galleries, famous buildings, and restaurants, but also, the time spent planning, figuring out airports and train stations, and paying for trips was extremely beneficial for my future as well. Traveling out of Burgos gave me the chance to experience so many new cultures. It was amazing to me that after a short two-hour plane ride, I could arrive in a new country with a new language, new government, and new culture completely. I was able to try so many new foods, see famous pieces of art, experience new languages, and so much more. I absolutely loved my time traveling and I hope I get the chance to do so again.

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Although I accomplished so much while I was abroad, I hadn’t originally thought about how my day to day experiences would be. I fell into an easy schedule with my host family. We spent time talking and eating together, but I also spent much time outside of classes in the town shopping, eating, and hanging out with friends. I made a few Spanish friends and that helped my language skills immensely and I was able to get to know Burgos very well!

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All in all, I would recommend studying abroad to anyone that asked. I learned so much, experienced a whole new world, matured immensely, and made some lifelong friends. Every moment of my time abroad was unforgettable and I wish I could do it all over again. It is true that I originally went because my Spanish skills needed improvement, but I came home with so much more than that and I owe it all to WMU and UBU.

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