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View from the Basque Country

If you are a long-time reader of my blog, you might know already that I spent last term studying abroad. If you are a newcomer, firstly, welcome! Secondly, yea—I studied abroad!

As a Spanish minor (or potential double major, oops!), Dartmouth has offered me a lot of resources to practice the language and, most importantly, get immersed in Hispanic cultures. Our department currently offers one Language Study Abroad (LSA) program in Santander, two LSA+ (similar to the LSA, but with higher level classes) in Barcelona or Buenos Aires, and two Foreign Study Programs (for people minoring or majoring in the language) in Madrid and Buenos Aires. The array of options is impressive, I'd dare to say. As the possibility to study abroad was one of the key factors I accounted for while designing my college list, I jumped onto these opportunities as soon as I could.

My FSP friends in Barcelona
A trip to Barcelona was part of the program!

You can go abroad as early as your fourth term at Dartmouth, which for me was my sophomore fall. Going to Madrid was an amazing experience, and I could not have had a better time! Not only was Madrid an incredible city to explore, it was also an extremely welcoming culture to take a deep dive into. I was super excited to live with a host family and get to live all the intricacies of Spanish day-to-day life, but what really struck me was the amount of friends I ended up making along the way. I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends from high school who were now studying there, so I did not feel like a complete stranger to the social scene once I got there. But, honestly, I feel like in every metro ride to class and every night out I met more incredible people. And, even better than just learning the language and studying literature, I got to learn how to make friends in Spanish. 

Antonio and his FSP sweatshit
And we got a cute sweatshit!

Ever since coming back, I keep on making a joke to my friends that, whilst someone's love languages might be gift-giving, acts of service, or quality time, I am quite sure mine became Spanish. Both in class and outside of school, I used the language to build relationships and connections that I will forever carry with me. And don't get me wrong! I have been studying abroad for four years now, from high school in Canada to college at Dartmouth. But, getting the intense experience of living with a family, making friends on the streets, and living my daily life in a new language was something unlike anything else. And, honestly, this is what sets Dartmouth's study abroad programs apart from all others: there seems to be a lot of caring for you to feel safe and welcome wherever you are headed. I cannot wait for my next experience studying abroad with Dartmouth!

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