Students Reflect on Summer Study Abroad in Spain – The Crow’s Nest at USF St. Petersburg

(Left to right) Alanna Bland, Kerri Davis, Mary Rocha, Ariel Wallace and Rebecca Dunn are some of the students who participated in the summer study abroad program in Spain.

Courtesy of Rianna McDonald | The Crow’s Nest


After years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the planned study abroad program has returned to the University of South Florida.

This summer, 12 USF students from all campuses and majors traveled to Salamanca, Spain, July 2-31.

Among the various study abroad programs offered by USF; this group of students decided that Salamanca was the right place for them because of their love of the Spanish language.

Salamanca is home to the third oldest university in the world, the University of Salamancaand the historic city hosts many international students each year, including USF.

This specific study abroad program met the additional language requirements and cultural credits. Each student had their own expectations and experiences during the trip.

The Segovia Aqueduct is one of the best-preserved elevated Roman aqueducts and a symbol of the city. Courtesy of Rianna McDonald | The Crow’s Nest

Why did you choose this study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain over the other options?

Second-year nursing student Mary Rocha said, “I wanted to learn more Spanish through an immersive experience and this trip was recommended in my Spanish III class.

Behavioral Health Major and Spanish Minor Kerri Davis said, “I chose this program because I always wanted to study abroad and I always wanted to go to Spain. I thought to myself that I might as well combine these two wishes.

How would you describe the application process? Have USF or Spanish requirements been difficult for you to meet?

Ariel Wallace, a biomedical science major, said, “The application process was straightforward, but the financial aid process was not. The process timeline didn’t line up with each other, so it was difficult.

What do you think was the trickiest part of the process?

“Spain’s requirements, especially the COVID-19 requirements,” said Rebecca Dunn, an international studies major. “Mainly because you had to fill in part of the form and then fill in the rest three days before the trip.”

“It seemed unfair to have to apply and commit to a program before even having the opportunity to seek or obtain financial aid,” Wallace said. “Then we didn’t hear the decisions about our aid until months into our commitment to the program, and then we suffered for another few months trying to secure those funds because the greedy USF kept trying to secure them. reduce.”

Was it easy to find the agreed meeting point once you arrived in Madrid? What, if anything, can be improved upon during the first group meeting at the airport?

“My plane was the first to land so we had plenty of time to find the meeting place, but I wouldn’t say it was easy as Madrid airport is confusing. We had to take a subway to one terminal, then a bus to another and we had to stop to ask for directions along the way,” Davis said.

“Yes, it was easy for me because I was with the teacher and several other students,” Rocha said. “It would have been better if everyone was on the same flight so you didn’t have to wait for all the students to arrive and collect their luggage.”

“I think a bus driver should pick up students in the area where their flights are coming from and that’s because Madrid airport is difficult to navigate,” Dunn said.

Was this your first time living with a host family? How was it?

“Apart from living with other family members overseas, yes,” Rocha said. “There were good and bad aspects. The language barrier challenges me to communicate more, but it is also difficult when I have to convey something important and I am misunderstood. »

“It was my first time living with a host family and there are pros and cons,” Dunn said. “You experience living in Spain and have someone cook all your meals, but at the same time you have to share a small room with another student and lose your privacy.”

What was your favorite show/experience/dish?

“I loved visiting La Alberca. It was very beautiful,” Dunn said. “I loved our Saturday excursions even though it can be very hot. I loved walking around Salamanca and taking in the beauty of the buildings, history and people. I really loved the patatas bravas and pastries they have there.”

“Certainly walking in Peña de Francia and also in the garden that we saw in Salamanca,” Wallace said.

What is the most surprising fact you have learned about Salamanca or the Spaniards?

“The most surprising fact about the Spaniards is that [they] don’t normally drink water with ice on it,” Dunn said. “How crazy, especially in the summer. It took me a while to figure out how to make ice cubes. I was also very surprised that they use so many bottles of water. Even in restaurants.

What do you like most about Salamanca/Spain and your campus/USA?

“Although many people have had to adapt to walking, I find it admirable that everyone you might need is within walking distance,” Wallace said. “It feels good not having to worry about gas or traffic, and also knowing that the scarcity of cars could have a healthier environmental impact.”

“I appreciate that Spaniards spend time outdoors and enjoy meeting friends and family,” Rocha said. “People in the United States can be too ‘busy’ with work and other obligations to spend time with loved ones. Also in Salamanca, everything is within walking distance, but many activities in the United States require some form of transportation such as a car or bus.

“I loved being in a place with such a rich culture and history – it’s crazy to walk into buildings that have stood for so many centuries and think of all the people who have walked there before you,” said Davis said. “I never feel that kind of historical awe or ‘old power’ in the United States.”

If you are a USF student interested in applying for a study abroad program, you can contact the USF Study Abroad Office at (813) 974-4314 or navigate to website at https://www.usf.edu/world/education-abroad/.

Rianna McDonald is a Digital Communications and Multimedia Journalism major at the St. Petersburg campus.



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