Bryan School Study Abroad Program

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Natalie BondyNatalie Bondy
International Business and Spanish, studied for a semester in Granada, Spain

I decided that I wanted to study abroad during my freshman year of college. I have always been interested in Spanish and I wanted to learn more about the Spanish culture. I chose Granada as my place to study because they offered business classes and Spanish classes. I am a double major, so I was very excited that I could take both types of classes and better myself in my second language.

Expectations
Throughout my whole life I have been very dependent on other people and I never thought that I would be able to live in a foreign country for four months. I never thought that I would come back as mature and independent as I am now. I think that this trip changed my life for the better because I have such an elaborate understanding of another culture that I was fully immersed in for a semester.

Accommodations
After my freshman year here at UNCG, I never thought that I was ever going to live in a dorm again. I was wrong. While I was in Spain, I lived in student housing, a dorm-like facility. The majority of the students that live in this dorm are Spanish. It is a gated community with four buildings, which include bedrooms, a cafeteria, a gym and a laundry room. I had a room to myself and that included my own bathroom. Even though I paid for a room equivalent to a dorm room in Phillip-Hawkins at UNCG, I have to say that my room in Spain was a lot more comfortable and it came with a weekly cleaning service.

Classes
I took classes that would count toward both my business and my Spanish major. I took two economics classes, a Spanish literature class, and an intensive Spanish language course. I found that I enjoyed the classes in Spain because they were more independent study, which meant that I had a lot of reading and only one exam at the end of the semester that counted for 100% of my grade. My business classes met two days a week for two hours each day; they were a little more practice-based, which meant that we worked a lot of problems in class. My literature class met twice a week for about an hour and a half. My intensive Spanish class met three times a week for two hours each time.

Travel
I was a member of the International Student Association that the University of Granada offered international students. I went on a couple of trips around southern Spain with this group of people. I found that it was an easier way to travel and it usually cut the costs because of group discounts. I also traveled with friends that I made while I was abroad. Traveling within Spain was easy because the bus system was reliable and inexpensive. The largest trip that I went on was to Manchester, UK, to visit a friend that I made while I was in Spain. Being able to travel was really nice; even though I didn’t travel all over Europe.  Just being able to travel around Spain with other international students was amazing.

Advice

  • Don’t pack the world in your suitcase. You’re not going to need it, I promise.
  • Make an effort to get to know the locals. They are just as interested in you as you are in them.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Your experiences good and bad will just add to your experience.
  • Travel as much as you can. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have while you’re abroad.
  • Have fun! Life is way too short and this is the experience of a lifetime!

Program Impact

Studying abroad is probably the smartest decision I have ever made in my life. This has greatly impacted me in a variety of ways. I am now more independent and I have an appreciation for a place that I knew little about a year ago. I was immersed in a culture completely different from my own and my Spanish improved tremendously. I also found that Spain is probably going to be my home when I finish graduate school. I can’t wait to go back and immerse myself for the rest of my life.
 

Page updated: 17-Feb-2009

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