I chose USAC because it was an affordable program though my university that provided the location that I wanted - MADRID! I Another friend of mine was an alumni of their France program and she encouraged me to check it out. The counselors and meetings that were provided to me before I left were also amazing and I felt like it was the right choice for me.
After debating whether or not she should take the risk and add a Spanish minor, Lindsey decided to go for it and tack on the 6th year of college to her resume to have the experience of a lifetime. Since then, she has re-ignited her passion for learning and schooling and is always trying to get away somewhere new - next on the list, Bali!
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The program provided everything! We had a prep seminar beforehand and then we arrived in Madrid, we all stayed in the same hotel and had a guided city tour. After that, they had local students escort us to our home stays or apartments - all coordinated by the program. Also, during the year if you ever wanted to get involved with local volunteer programs or get advice on things to do in Europe and where to travel, the USAC office was always helpful!
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
In the beginning, I ended up getting a little homesick and spent money frivolously. I always went away to camps growing up and had never experienced that feeling before. Just relax and know that everything takes a little time to get adjusted and you will want to save your money for all the traveling that you can get in! You are having an experience of a lifetime that not a lot of people get to enjoy!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
No matter what level of Spanish you are in, you will attend class Monday through Thursday from 9 am to around 1 pm, the teachers are all great and the class time is super fun! After school the day is yours! There are lots of things to do in the city, you can go hang out in Retiro Park or head to Sol, the city center, to do some shopping and site seeing. On the weekends, everyone is traveling to new places. The flights are so cheap to pretty much anywhere you want to go! Some of my favorites were Paris, Rome, and Munich.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I didn't have any fears to start with, but rather they arrived after I was already there. I was a 6th-year college student so a lot of the other program members were like 3 years younger than I was. In the end, this wasn't something that ended up being a big deal and I still was able to make friends! Everyone that is in the program with you is there for the same reason, to learn a new language and experience a new culture.
Do you have any advice to those who would also want to participate in this kind of program?
If you're really considering studying abroad, you should just do it! There isn't going to come another time in your life where you don't have that much responsibility and you are able to get the financial aid that you may need to have this experience. By doing this, you are getting a locals perspective on the world, as opposed to just traveling there for a couple of days.