Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Lohmann

Taylor is a new found travel connoisseur who loves to see new places and try new things! She believes it is so important to see the world and all of the amazing things that it has to offer.

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Why did you choose this program?

I had never been to Europe prior to studying abroad, so choosing the right program was extremely important to me. AIFS had a website that was easy to navigate and it was well organized so that I could easily find the information that I needed to make my decision. I found that AIFS had the best choice of locations, housing and extra added in excursions. It was also one of the cheaper programs available while still providing everything you needed to have an amazing experience.

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

The study abroad office at my university did not know much about the AIFS program, mainly because they heavily sponsor another program. I relied on AIFS to give me all of the information I needed while also providing me with support and answers when I needed it.

AIFS was quick to respond to emails and phone calls and even spoke on the phone with my parents when they had questions as well. They also help you a lot with the visa process which can be extremely daunting to do alone or without any direction.

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

Think about the places you want to visit ahead of time and the things that you want to do! Although you are there for months, it goes by extremely fast and you don't want to miss out on opportunities of a lifetime! Also, do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try new things. Studying abroad can be a life changing experience if you push yourself to experience new things.

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

The one perk I loved about studying abroad in Barcelona with AIFS is the fact that there is no class on Fridays. You typically go to class Monday-Thursday and then are free to do whatever you want Friday-Sunday. This is such an important perk because it gives you an extra day to travel to other places and lets you get the most out of your experience. It is the perfect mix of school and fun.

AIFS also has many included weekend trips during the weekend that you can choose to go on free of charge! I highly recommend doing these as it lets you get closer with other students in the program as well as see more places without having to spend a ton of money every weekend.

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

My biggest fear studying abroad was that I was not going to adapt to the culture and I would be homesick the entire time and not be able to enjoy it. I was also really nervous because I studied in Spain, but did not speak Spanish very well.

AIFS provides you with a "tour guide" in small groups the first couple of days upon arrival. They show you how to use the public transportation and teach you tips and tricks of living in the city. Because of this, I was able to adjust so much quicker than I imagined I would and it really made an impact on my experience.

What are your two biggest pieces of advice for studying abroad in Barcelona with AIFS?

- Barcelona is and amazing city with so much to see and do! Even though it is good to travel and see other places on the weekends, also make sure you save some time to explore the beautiful city you are living in!

- Spend some time going where the locals go and not just the touristy places. Although the tourist traps are fun, you will get a better sense of the culture and get to meet more locals by spending some time at the places they go too.