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Global education

09/22/2010

MCLA not only opens up a world of possibilities on campus, it provides opportunities to study throughout the world. This semester, our students are studying in Belgium, Denmark, England, Ireland and Italy. Recently, four students traveled to Spain, where they lived and studied at various universities.

Kara Ward '11 (pictured above, on the far right) spent six weeks in Valencia, Spain, this past summer, where she was immersed in an intensive Spanish session.

"I like the close-knit community here at MCLA, but I wanted to do something that scared me," she said. "I learned a great deal - not just about the Spanish language, but also what it is like to be an outsider in a culture that, at first glance, may seem very similar but in reality is radically different. The experience was spectacular, awe-inspiring, definitely outside my normal comfort zone and changed my life."

Although already a heritage speaker of Spanish, Alejandrina Guajardo '11 (pictured left) studied in Seville, Spain, because she wanted a full-immersion language experience. Like Ward, she took intensive language and culture courses for six weeks.

While in Seville, Guajardo lived with a host family. Beyond her classes, she had the freedom to explore the city.

"I was surprised to see people living in ancient buildings and families of various generations living together," Guajardo said. "I loved the professors abroad. My Spanish-speaking friends were very helpful and fun to be around."

Psychology major Samantha Chase '11 (pictured below) spent her entire spring semester in Seville, Spain, where she took courses taught in English and Spanish. These studies completed her Spanish minor at MCLA.

"As a small-town girl with little experience beyond my own backyard, stepping outside of my comfort zone was something I never thought I was capable of doing, but I did it," Chase said. "Beyond language, culture, and diversity, I learned about myself. I learned about my abilities, limitations, and my place as an individual in this world."

Nicholas Raby '11 chose to travel to Barcelona, Spain, where he took a variety of language and culture courses at the University Pompeu Fabra during his spring semester there. Like Chase, he completed his Spanish minor abroad.

He also successfully passed the Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera (Diploma of Spanish as Foreign Language). Raby estimates that, by the end of his stay, he spoke Spanish 95 percent of the time.

"I was incredibly satisfied with the professors and the quality of the instruction," Raby said. "For the student who is thinking of studying abroad, I would say, 'Do everything you can do to make it happen. ... Don't be afraid of opportunities, especially those with people native to the country.'"

Chase is grateful for the experience.

"I am still in shock of how much there is out there to see," she said. "I left Seville hungry for more. Now that I´ve tasted something more, I´ll always be searching for life outside of my world."

For more information about studying abroad, go to www.mcla.edu/Academics/academicresources/career/travelcourses .