Name: Kelly Pekala Email: Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org City Studied Abroad In: Madrid, Spain Program: Vanderbilt-‐in-‐Spain Summer Program Details: -‐Summer Semester (May-‐August) -‐Courses: Spanish Literature, Language, Civilization, Culture -‐Courses fulfill Spanish major or minor requirements (also fulfill international requirements for AXLE) -‐Live in an apartment with a Spanish family (most of them speak no English who will prepare authentic Spanish food everyday for lunch and dinner) -‐Courses taught in Spanish by Spanish University professors -‐Small program open to about 15 students -‐The program includes afternoon excursions like a Spanish cooking class, tours of major landmarks all over Spain, and a group overnight trip. Courses Taken: -‐Spanish Language -‐Spanish Civilization Other Courses Offered: -‐Spanish Literature (topics change) -‐Spanish Culture Favorite Parts of the Program: -‐In the Spanish Civilization class, you learn about art and architecture in Spain and then you go to El Prado in the afternoons and see the paintings you talked about with your professor. -‐The families you live with are very nice and don’t speak much English so it’s really easy to practice Spanish with them. -‐The city is not as touristy as Barcelona; it’s more the cultural center of Spain -‐There is a weekly street market called El Rastro and you can find pretty much anything there, great for shopping for souvenirs and authentic Spanish stuff alike! -‐Madrid has some of the best nightlife in all of Europe. -‐Afternoons are generally free so if you don’t engage in a siesta, you can go to museums and the program will reimburse you for cultural items on a list they distribute. Least Favorite Parts of the Program: -‐It’s too short and you don’t have Fridays off like the Fall and Spring programs so it makes it harder to travel to other countries on weekends. -‐You don’t get a chance to have a language buddy like during the Fall or Spring semesters so you need to try to speak Spanish as much as possible on your own to improve your language skills.
-‐You can’t keep or drink any alcohol in the family’s house, so you will end up paying more for drinks at the local bars. I would recommend this Program because: -‐Spain is very different than the U.S. and you learn so much about their history and culture that you cannot learn from classes. -‐The families are good cooks and you get to try all kinds of food. -‐The professors are awesome. -‐You get to travel all over Spain and do stuff with your friends from Vanderbilt. Other Things I think you should know about Studying Abroad in Spain: -‐The metro system is awesome in Madrid and pretty extensive in Barcelona. -‐You can travel anywhere in Spain via the buses and can make weekend trips without staying overnight. -‐Try to speak as much Spanish as possible -‐Lunch is at 3 pm and lots of things shut down for the siesta. You will definitely get hungry in between meals until you get used to it. -‐Dinner is at 9 pm or later. -‐Lunch near tourist attractions are much more expensive and usually worse than restaurants further out. Ask your host family or professors where to go out to eat. -‐If you plan trips, try Vueling, the Spanish airline. It’s more enjoyable than Ryanair and lands closer to the city center. Ryanair plays commercials the whole flight and their airports are not by the major cities so you have to pay at least another 20 Euros to get o the city center. -‐I would recommend traveling on some weekends around Europe but not all weekends. You want to enjoy the city you’re in. I met up with Vanderbilt friends in study abroad programs in Denmark and Germany after our program ended and we went on a 2-‐week Eurotrip. -‐You may be able to store the majority of your luggage at your host family’s apartment so you won’t have to pay major fees when you go on your Eurotrip. We originally had Eurail passes but it ended up cheaper to fly, so we returned them for a portion of what we initially paid.