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Central College Abroad - Study & Intern in Granada
Katie Bakkum is originally from Iowa and is currently a junior majoring in Biology and Spanish, with a minor in Chemistry. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend medical school to be an ER physician. Currently, she works as a CNA and hospice aide for a local hospital. She loves experiencing new cultures, and is eagerly awaiting the start of her next adventure.
When: Fall of 2011
Highlights: On the weekends we headed to the beach or the mountains, and both are just a short bus ride away! Traveling is a must! We started the semester with an excursion to Morocco, and Barcelona, Paris, London were all just a short flight away! Granada may be smaller than some of the country's other cities, but what it lacks in size it makes up in diversity and fun. Each day brought new experiences; ones that I will carry with me the rest of my life.
Morning: Everyday life in Granada was laid back, but never boring. Each morning, on my walk to the city center, the Alhambra kept watch from overhead. We visited the world famous landmark during the first week of orientation. It was on its tallest tower, gazing at the city stretched out below, that I first fell in love with the city that became my second home.
Afternoon: During the school week, I spent anywhere from four to six hours at the Center of Modern Languages, where I took classes. On breaks I chatted with friends in the courtyard or grabbed a coffee from a nearby cafe. I ate lunch at home with my host family every afternoon and then, after grabbing a quick nap, headed back to school.
Evening: Evening classes were taken at the Central Abroad office with the program instructor, Jose. He gave us extensive grammar and phonetic lessons, but kept us laughing at the same time. Once our school day was over we spent the hours before dinner shopping, relaxing at a tea shop, or going for churros and chocolate. After sunset, Granada truly comes alive. The streets were always bustling with people of all ages. It's famous for its free tapas, and we spent many a nigh scouring the streets for the biggest and the best tapas of them all. Soccer games, concerts, movies, theater, dance clubs -Granada has it all.
Morning: Each morning I get up and have breakfast and am off to my classes at the Center for Modern Languages. I come and go in between classes and have a key to the apartment so I can let myself in. On weekends, most people sleep in until at least 10:30.
Afternoon: In Spain lunch happens sometime between 2-3pm so I eat lunch that is prepared by my Senora and then I return to school to finish classes. If I don't have afternoon classes I relax, watch TV, or go for a walk. Almost everything is closed in Granada between 2-5pm for siesta.
Evening: After class I frequently go with friends to the park or to a plaza to hang out. Sometimes, we go shopping or go to a bar to watch soccer or have tapas. On weekends, we go to movies, or have friends over at our apartment to relax and watch movies. Dinner is usually between 9-10pm and is also prepared by my Senora.
Highlights: One thing I really enjoyed about this program is that you participate in the Morocco Exchange and spend a few days in Morocco. I had a lot of fun and did things I never thought I would do. After having spent so much time in Granada I really feel like I am a part of what is going on here and not like a tourist.
Sarah Kelley studied abroad with Central College Abroad in Granada, Spain in the Spring of 2011. She is a Spanish major from Iowa. She graduates next spring and will be attending graduate school for international studies.
GO: Why did you study abroad with Central College Abroad in Granada, Spain?
Holly: I knew that I wanted to study abroad in Spain but did not even know where to start. When a rep from Central College set up in a booth at my school's student center, I decided to check it out. Other than being really easy to work with and allowing me to easily transfer my credits, I was drawn to their program from the astounding reviews and because of the fact that they offer a Moroccan cultural exchange within the first month. Granada is a city FULL of students and the Central Lenguas Modernas that Central partners with offers classes for literally every level of Spanish. It made it really easy for me to find exactly where I fit.
GO: What has made your study abroad experience unique and special?
Holly: Especially in my case, Central did an incredible job matching me with a roommate and host family. It seems like it was just yesterday that my plane was landing in Granada and my eyes were wide with both fear and excitement. Never in my life did I think I would be able to call such a place home and fall in love with every part of Granada. I had the opportunity to make Spanish friends and travel to other countries in Europe. Central hosts excursions to different cities around Spain that allows us to get out of Granada an experience other parts of this great country giving us both a guide, and free time to explore.
GO: How has this experience impacted your future so far?
Holly: Personally, I have been able to experience so many different cultures. I will never again look at things through my tiny American lens. I have learned to appreciate the differences in food, religion, and every day life as well as learn about different governments, family living, and ways of thinking. Professionally, my experience in Granada has been invaluable. Especially the improvements to my Spanish (my progress has been incredible). Academically, this has been a challenging but rewarding experience that I know will help me in my grad school search.
GO: Any final thoughts?
Holly: I am blessed to be living in this country - I am reminded every day. I love my morning walks to school and the slow pace I get to take on my way home. I love the sites of palm trees and snow capped mountains in the background. I love seeing whole families take walks together and random strangers in heated conversations about last night's futbol game. I love Spain- even on the days where I feel like I can't do this anymore.
I am blessed to see little pieces of history in a place so different from where I'm from; like trips to Ahlambra, Sacramonte, Albaycin, the list goes on and on. I am blessed to have a new experience with things from generations ago with new friends. And I am blessed to hear the sounds of the Madrid game coming from the television in la salon and hear the shouts of my host brothers and the incessant laughing of my host mom. My life here is blessed. I could not ask for more.
About Central College Abroad
Central College Abroad is a study abroad provider that focuses on opportunities for undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the United States. CCA has programs in 8 different locations around the world for summer, semester and academic year terms. Their high quality study abroad programs revolve around an appreciation for cross-cultural immersion and foreign language development. In addition, students of a CCA program can compliment their experience with service-learning or a professional internship placement. CCA operates out of Central College in Pella, Iowa.