Alumni Spotlight: Allison Brandt


Why did you decide to study abroad with IES Abroad in Salamanca?

Allison Brandt: I learned about the IES Abroad program in Salamanca because it is an affiliated program with my school, Gettysburg College. As a Spanish major, it was a requirement to study in a Spanish-speaking country for a semester, but I gladly abided by this rule. I chose Salamanca instead of other Spanish cities because I had heard that it is a smaller city with less tourists and is a city often geared towards college students with a large famous university located there. I had friends from my school who had done the same program and were always going on about how great of a program it was.

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Allison Brandt: I lived with a host family and they really did treat me like family. I absolutely loved being fully immersed in the culture by speaking Spanish around the clock and experiencing their culture on a first-hand level. While the IES program helped us acclimate to the city and university, they set us up for so many opportunities to explore Spain and get to know Salamanca as a local. When I was in Salamanca, I taught Spanish to immigrants from various countries - very unique experience, for sure! I also went on many trips throughout Spain, some planned by the program and some on my own. My favorite trip was on El Camino de Santiago, a 5 day pilgrimage trip in northern Spain.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Allison Brandt: I've definitely been thinking more about what I want to do in the future and I know that I want to use my Spanish skills in some form. This summer I am using it on a daily basis as I am working with Hispanic immigrants at a labor resource center. Although I don't know what my future career may be, I know that Salamanca really influenced my passion for using Spanish and for immigration issues.