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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away
Notes from Abroad: Guadalupe in Granada
Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience. This week’s feature is from Guadalupe Cazares 16, a dual major in international relations and Spanish, currently studying abroad at Lake Forest College in Granada.
My learning experience thus far has been a positive one and it has been filled with new knowledge. The classroom is not different at all. The class size does not exceed twenty-five and is also very engaging which allows students to ask questions and develop discussions. One big difference is that here I have field trips and site visits. For example, in my Islamic Art and Architecture of Spain and its Impact class we have site visits once a week about the material we learn in class the previous day. Granada is very rich in history and in culture which allows classes to have site visits as part as their teaching structure. There are also field trips to other cities depending on the class and material. The subjects that I am learning about I feel that they are not offered back at Lake Forest College, and if they are the experience is definitely different due to the sites Granada has to offer that go well with the subjects. For example, besides Islamic Art and Architecture of Spain and its Impact I have Islamic Civilization in Spain and the Mediterranean Policy of Spain and the European Union. These courses are focused around Spain so maybe it is easier to teach these courses here and not back home and that could be the reason why they are not offered.
Adapting to a new culture can be difficult and easy in different aspects of the experience. I would say that my adaptation has been smooth and not difficult. Here in Granada noon is not 12pm, but instead noon is at 2pm. Also, that is when they eat lunch, the biggest meal of the day. Dinner is not till like 9 or 10 pm which is when everyone goes out and hangs out with family and friends. Maybe my adaptation has been easier since I am a native speaker but even so there is a difference in words, expressions, and definitely the accent and speed of speaking. I really did not prepare for this change between cultures; instead I just went in with an open mind and a new perspective about the people in Spain.
Being a student from Lake Forest College I have an internship since it is part of the program. For my internship I asked for something related to my major (International Relations). The topics and information my internship deals with definitely fits my request since it is municipalities of Spain working with other municipalities in Latin America to strengthen citizens’ participation and growth. I could see myself working in something like this since the work I have done such as translating documents, organizing courses, and even updating lists has thought me that as small as a task sounds it is important because it shapes with other small tasks to form the bigger goal.
Thank you Dr. George L. Speros for allowing me to be a recipient of the
Ingrid and George Speros Scholarship for Study Abroad