My name is Sarah Shore, and I am a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Spanish. I studied abroad from late May to early July of summer 2022. I chose to go to a big city with a small-town feel, Alicante, Spain. Primarily, I chose this program because of my interest in the Spanish language and culture. I took two courses during my time in Spain, a class on Spanish literature and a “special topics” class where we chose topics that sparked our interest to discuss in class. The classes were run as a discussion, with students leading it while our professor guided it. Inside the classroom, I greatly expanded my knowledge of the Spanish language and Spanish literature. I spent most of my day outside of the classroom, though, and there I was able to learn invaluable aspects of the Spanish language and culture outside the classroom.
To begin with, I lived with a host family. This allowed me to truly become fully immersed in the Spanish culture. My host family cooked me different foods, and through this, I was able to try many of the most traditional Spanish dishes such as Spanish tortilla, croquets, gazpacho, and much more. In addition to this, I was in Alicante during their biggest holiday of the year Fogueras. During this, the neighborhoods of Alicante come together to create large statues that will later be burned down as pictured below. There are fireworks all the time, and everyone is out on the streets at all times of the day. Being able to experience this holiday was truly amazing and revealed so much about the social aspect of the Spanish culture and their fun spirits.
I got to travel to other places within Spain as well such as Madrid, Valencia, and Altea. Every city I visited was unique yet beautiful. One of my favorite places with Altea. It is a charming little town with beautiful architecture. I was able to see so much in such little time, expanding greatly my knowledge of this world. This was truly an experience of a lifetime, and I am so thankful I was able to go. I not only learned and expanded my Spanish, but I was able to learn about myself as well. This experience taught me to be openminded and showed me different perspectives and ways of life. Being an Alicantina for five weeks was the best experience of my life, improving both my Spanish skills and my person as a whole.