Alumni Spotlight: Jackie Tutiven

Why did you pick this program?

I choose EF initially because the program I traveled with prior encouraged me to branch out and try new things. I decided to see if Education First tours would be the right fit for me. I looked into it, did a lot of research, and eventually found a trip that seemed to be just right. After talking to the great staff at EF I signed up, they made the process easy and simple.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

They organized pretty much everything from beginning to end. I didn't have to try to find my own flight, they picked out an outstanding homestay for me in Spain, along with great transportation from the airport. EF really did a great job helping me with the little stuff I had to figure out on my own and also handing the things they were in charge of.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Try and do a little research before you go to determine how expensive things are and how the local currency works. I suggest being conservative during the week with your spending money and then splurge a little on the weekend.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It all comes down to how you take advantage of your time. Yes there was school to help learn the language of the country I was staying in (which was actually really fun), but it didn't take too much time out of the day during the week. You're really capable of doing whatever is comfortable within your budget. The city really is "yours".

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

Using public transportation in big areas, especially if I wasn't 100% fluent in the language. Whether it was airports, trains, or even buses. I was afraid of getting lost or not being able to leave the airport because I couldn't communicate. Overall it ended up being such a minor thing to be afraid of. If you know you're going to a course in a country, it's a good idea to study the language a little before you go. If not, you just have to break through being shy or the possibility of saying something wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when learning a new language, and it's nothing to be afraid of. Practice makes perfect, and situations like needing to figure out public transportation is one of the best ways to learn.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I wish I would've tried to be a little more conservative in spending money. Maybe spending a bunch of it on food wasn't the best choice (although it was extremely delicious). Also to have put myself out there a little more, and to not have been so afraid of saying the wrong thing in Spanish. Maybe with that I would've gotten more comfortable sooner with the city and could've seen or done more. Because of all of this, it does give me a reason to come back and see everything else plus more!