Alumni Spotlight: Sophia Yavorski

Why did you decide to study abroad with API in Spain?

Sophia: I initially decided to study with API because I had a handful of friends who studied with them a year before me (Barcelona, Florence, Ireland, and London) and had nothing but great things to say. As I researched more and more, I learned of the "perks," if you will, about choosing a program that is with you every step of the way.

It was super easy: I filled out the paperwork and got my letters of recommendation together, and they essentially took care of the rest. API helps in obtaining a student visa, and you are constantly receiving emails about what items may or may not be missing, so you never get behind in the application process.

Once I hit ground in BCN, my Resident Directors were there to greet us at the airport...they put us up in a hotel for the first three days in the city, where they showed us everything from transportation, to great spots to go, to just plain getting closer with people in the program. They help move you into your host home, apartment, or dorm (whichever you choose) and literally work 24/7 in case you ever need anything. Lastly, they took us on monthly excursions to other countries, which was included in the price.

For me--and especially for my parents--it was a relief to know you weren't just dumped in the city to fend for yourself. I had freedom to hang out and do WHATEVER I wanted, but if I needed anything, it was just a metro ride away to their Barcelona office.

Sophie studying abroad in Spain

What do you think made this experience unique and special?

Sophia: I love to be out of my comfort zone, so studying in Spain was perfect. I had taken Spanish for six years in high school, but Catalan is so different that it was interesting to communicate with it. I was impressed with how easily I assimilated to the Spanish culture! Barcelona is unique in that it has everything a person could want in one huge city: mountains, the beach, a great nightlife, awesome food, and tons of things to do during the day.

Barcelona is super up and coming, and I'm finding now that cities are mimicking the architecture hundreds of years later. While I was abroad, I became a regular at a cafe near my University, and each day would teach a waiter English in exchange for Catalan. It was such a neat experience!

Beautiful scenery in Spain

How did this experience impact your academic development?

Sophia: I strongly believe everyone should, at some point in their lives, be exposed to a new culture. Sure, the U.S. is a melting pot of different cultures, but actually going to another country and seeing first hand just how different life is abroad is so eye opening. To be honest, I'm trying to get BACK to Barcelona I loved it so much!! So, professionally, that is where I'm at right now. I studied abroad with API in the Spring of 2010 and to this day I cannot stop thinking about it.

Photos were taken by Sophie during her time in Spain.