Alumni Spotlight: Raymond Galvan

My name is Raymond Galvan and I was born in south Texas without knowing Spanish as a second language or vice versa. Also, I'm the youngest of my family and the only boy.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program to learn Spanish and to learn the culture itself. I grew up with a family who was bilingual except for me, so it was a goal for me to learn what I can, and to try my best to learn the Spanish culture. I also chose this program because I wanted to travel to somewhere new and have the experience of freedom.

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

They helped me learn the Spanish language and culture while I was learning the way they teach it to me. Also I have to learn how to manage my own money for basic needs like snacks, school supplies, and for myself. So I made a plane of what I need the most and how to save money for going out, and to be honest, it actually worked.

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

Well, one, you gotta keep important things such as wallets, passport, ID, ect., safe. Also, bring maps of the location you are living or staying the night with because the cities are extremely packed and huge. The final advice is to have fun and don't stress yourself to work and take your time exploring and meeting new friends.

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

It honestly feels like any other school with field trips throughout the week. The first day you're going to meet your stay home family and getting to know them sometimes personally. Then the next day you'll be exploring the cities or landmarks with the rest of the class and professor, and trying out new foods. Then it will be repeating throughout the whole month or two.

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 was freaking our or having trouble coping that I was a 100 hundred or thousands of miles away from family. Normally It wouldn't bother that I was far away, but for a whole month, I was beginning to notice that my "normal habits" were beginning to change. Things like eating schedule, sleep schedule, and school schedule. It was like restarting a game.

What was the best thing that happened to you?

Well, it was everything: I've met new people, and over time, some of us became close friends. Also, having the feeling of being free to roam the streets and having a blast trying out new things that we haven't known. It was like being into a new world that is waiting to be fully explored.