Southern goes to Salamanca, Spain


Alexandra ScicchitanoOpinions & Features Editor

Fifteen Southern students took part in a month-long Study Abroad to Salamanca, Spain, which took place from June 29 until July 31, said communications disorders major Danielle Ott, a junior.

“It was an awesome experience, I really enjoyed it,” said Spanish and secondary education major Miguel Diaz, a senior. Diaz said that it really broadens one’s perspective and it is good to see how other people from around the world live.

Both Diaz and Ott said they heard about the Spain Study Abroad when they first got to Southern, and wanted to go ever since. This past summer, they were finally able to go. A biology major, Shannon Barrett, a senior, said she has gone to Spain before in high school, and she loved the country and wanted to visit again.

“It was amazing. It was the longest time I’ve ever been away from home,” said Ott.

The retired Spanish professor who went on the trip, Carlos Arboleda, said that when he came into the program in 1988, they had a Study Abroad program, but no one utilized it for four to five years. But in 1990, it was revived, and he has run and gone on every trip for the past 29 years. Arboleda said he has retired and handed over the position to Raphael Hernández.

“Many, many students have been connected through this program over the years,” said Arboleda.In Spain, the group went to school from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. They had weekends off to go on excursions around the cities of Spain or just go exploring independently, said Ott.

The group even took a four-hour long bus ride to Portugal, and enjoyed the ocean there, said Diaz.

“My professor made sure we were about to hold our own in a bar,” Ott said about her experience with speaking with the locals in Spain.

Ott said that she really improved her Spanish because she acted as a translator to her friends who were at a lower level of the language when the group went on tours. But they had some tours in English too.

“By the end of the month, we didn’t really feel like we were tourists anymore, it was like,
we knew the country well enough [to not be tourists],” said Barrett.

One reason for students to go to visit another country, is “first of all, to improve their language skills, if they are taking that language course there,” said Barrett. She also said it can expose people to different ways of living and they can adapt their own lives to that culture however they want.

Photo Courtesy: Carlos Arboleda

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