Alumni Spotlight: Lily Berrin

Lily is from Sacramento, California. She is 21 years old and about to graduate Occidental College in Los Angeles with a major in Cognitive Science and Spanish. Lily studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and took advantage of all the opportunities to travel around Spain and Europe. She also enjoys playing rugby, cooking, hiking, and reading.

IES Spain students at El Retiro park

Why did you decide to study abroad with IES?

Lily: I chose to study abroad with IES because it was a well-established program offered through my school. IES made it easy for me to go abroad and still obtain school credit that was easily transferable so I could graduate on time. I also had the opportunity to enroll in classes at the university and take classes with Spanish students. Madrid was the best option for me because I wanted to be in a Spanish speaking country to become fluent and I wanted to be in Europe so I would be able to travel to many different countries and all around Spain.

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Lily: As the capital and a major metropolitan city of Spain, Madrid offered numerous easily accessible opportunities for travel in Europe and Spain as well as a huge variety of things to do in the city. I never got bored there and had a hard time going back to places I liked because there was always so much more to explore and experience. The friends I made abroad as well as the cultural and travel experience of immersing myself completely in another culture made my experience special. I lived with a host family and was able to participate in their daily life and try to morph my schedule into that of an Española.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Lily: Living in Madrid was a huge change, but it made me more aware of other cultures, how to adapt, and the importance of traveling abroad, meeting new people, and being adventurous. I learned a lot about myself while I was abroad and realized I am a lot more independent than I originally thought and that I enjoy spending time doing adventures on my own.