Every fall, students return to their dorms to go back to their college studies, activities, sports, and friends, but this year I decided to explore a different part of the world while furthering my education. Currently, I am on my sixth week studying abroad in Madrid, Spain and time just seems to be flying by! Six weeks ago, I was waiting to get on a plane, saying hard goodbyes to my parents in less than five minutes. Now I’m quickly writing this article so I can go experience Madrid in every way possible.
When I was a freshman moving into Lycoming College I never imagined that I would be a Spanish major, let alone that in just two years I would be packing my life into a suitcase for a four month stay in Madrid, Spain. I came into college with a set plan that I was only going to study American History and maybe minor in Spanish. At first, the Spanish classes were always the hardest classes and I even thought about dropping the minor. That all changed Sophomore year when I received an opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic for community service during Spring Break through LACES.
In the fall of my Sophomore year, a student-wide email was sent out explaining this opportunity. The trip would take place in two towns within the Dominican Republic, the first in Santo Domingo, the capital, and the second in Las Tarenas. We would only be staying for a week’s time, but we had big plans. Once I went to an informational meeting about the trip I learned that we would be restoring and building parks, renovating an English tutoring room, and visiting public and private schools. As soon as I received all the details, I was hooked. I quickly learned that the culture within this third-world country is so different than ours and I realized that I could use my skills, including my ability to speak in Spanish, to better the lives of others.
As the days started to get closer to Spring Break, another opportunity approached me: studying abroad in the Fall of 2016. My hype for traveling to a Spanish speaking country during Spring break made me reconsider my love for the language. I knew that once I went on this trip that I would want to do everything I can to perfect the art of speaking Spanish. My main goal with Spanish became traveling back to third-world countries and understanding everyone around me fully so that I could help them in any way possible. This is the moment when I decided to change my college career path.
Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!