Meet the Students – Jessica C.
Jessica C. was a second semester junior when she went abroad to study at the University of Vigo in Spain. She is a Secondary Education Spanish major who made sure all her classes in Spain were preapproved by her department before she left to study abroad. Jessica is currently a senior finishing her degree in Education.
Vigo, Spain, Universidade de Vigo:
Jessica attended Universidade de Vigo in Spain in Fall 2012.
What were your favorite and least favorite foods?
Jessica: My favorite foods were the paella, tortilla española, zorza, and my least favorite foods were octopus and parrillada..
Did you travel a lot?
Jessica: Yes. I went to different cities in Spain such as Salamanca, Combarro, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela, Zamora, Barcelona, and Madrid. I also traveled to different cities in Portugal such as Valença, Porto, and Monçao. Lastly, I also went to Rome, Italy.
What did you do during your free time?
Jessica: I spent time with my friends shopping, cooking, going out. I also taught English to six Spanish students.
What were your favorite and least favorite things to do while abroad?
Jessica: My favorite things to do were traveling to different places and being involved with different study abroad activities. Least favorite things to do were taking the bus every day to school, which took around 45 minutes, and another least favorite thing was having to go grocery shopping.
Was communicating easy?
Jessica: Yes. [Jessica is a native Spanish speaker.]
Did you learn a new language, and how fluent would you consider yourself?
Jessica: I did learn a new language, Portuguese. I still consider myself a beginner. I learned a lot of vocabulary but speaking is still difficult.
What difference did you find with regards to academics?
Jessica: Some differences I saw were that in Spain during the first 3 months school was not stressful. There were small projects, reading, but almost no tests or quizzes. Finals are worth a lot of your grade such as 50% or 60%; therefore, the last month was stressful because everyone was studying for finals.
What advice would you give to other students traveling abroad?
Jessica: Get involved and travel if possible. Also, be patient, because people in other countries are different than people here.
Think back to when you first arrived in your host country. What was something that surprised you and/or something that was totally different from what you are used to in the U.S.?
Jessica: Something that was shocking at first sight was the architecture of the houses, buildings, and more. It is amazing to see how many different decorations in the architecture the houses had.
How would you summarize your overall experience?
Jessica: Overall the experience was really worth it, and I will definitely recommend it to anyone. Before I left, I was a princess who was afraid to leave her princess world where she didn’t have to do anything because there was mom who did all the cooking, shopping, laundry, and everything. So by going to a different country, I had the opportunity to learn how to do all these things by myself. I learned that I can survive alone, and that it was not that hard to leave my princess world behind. I also learned that there were things about my career and myself that I might not have learned if I hadn’t gone abroad.