My Summer Abroad

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Time is a funny thing. I spent all of today in class at MC. Three weeks ago today, I flew back to Alabama from Rome, Italy. Two days before that, I was wandering the streets of Paris with some of my friends. And still, the four weeks prior to that I was living in Salamanca, Spain studying Spanish and learning a thing or two about life. 

As I said, I've been home for three weeks now, and it all still feels like a dream. 

I could write forever about my four weeks in Spain, but I won't put you through that. Instead, let's hit a few of the highlights. 

Getting to Know Salamanca

The Spain study abroad program takes place in Salamanca, Spain, a small city in the western part of Spain a few hours from Portugal. In Salamanca, we were placed in a host home with a roommate from MC and, depending on the home, other international students. From our first day, we were walking around and seeing all that Salamanca has to offer. Salamanca has a load of history that's complimented by all the newer things in the city. It gives its visitors a gentle exposure to Spanish culture, and it's the perfect place to wear in some walking shoes. I was only there for four weeks, and I feel like I learned about a new place to go every day. Needless to say, I loved calling Salamanca home.

Learning Spanish, Making Friends, & Eating Well!

We went to class from 9-1 every day which felt like someone was opening my brain and pouring Spanish into it. We took classes with students from all over the world and were given the chance to learn Spanish in a full immersion experience. We spoke Spanish with our host parents, house mates, store clerks, and really everyone else. I've been studying Spanish for a few years, but four weeks in Spain gave me the chance to acquire more language than ever before.

Going into the trip, I maybe knew four of the other MC students I was traveling with. I kind of knew my roommate through mutual friends and other students through classes, but most of them were strangers. But, that changed really quickly. Within the first week, my roommate and I were inseparable and the whole group of us turned into a family. On top of that, we all had the chance to make friends with our house-mates and classmates, giving us friends from all over the world.

I have to admit: the Spanish eat a bit more tuna than I prefer to, but over all, the food was great. Their culture has very different meal times than ours (lunch at 2pm, dinner around 9pm) but our stomachs adjusted eventually. We ate well and experienced new foods, and there was more than one time that I said, "This is the best thing I've ever eaten." I ate paella in Spain, escargot in France, and pizza in Italy. Gelato was part of our daily routine, and our house mom could out cook anyone I know. I may have missed American food, but after three weeks home, I miss (some) Spanish food, too.

Traveling to Different Parts of Spain (& Europe!)

Within a month, I visited four different cities in Spain and two cities in other countries after that! This was my first time in Europe, and I definitely left wanting more. The chance to travel around other parts of Spain and then Europe was such a gift. I walked a lot and met so many people and saw things that seemed too beautiful to be real. And to answer the question everyone asks: My favorite place in Spain was a little coastal city in the north called Satander, and it took me about 2.5 seconds to fall in love with Paris. 

Overall, it was one of the best months of my life. I learned a lot about myself, my Maker, the world, Spanish, and more. I got the chance to know MC students I otherwise would never have crossed paths with and made friends from all over Europe. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I'd do it again in a second.

Stay great, travel often,
Ashton

To learn more about MC's study abroad programs, click here.

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