Your trip to Barcelona with Abbey Road was your first study abroad experience, what made you decide you wanted to study abroad? Why Barcelona?
Maggie: I had been looking into it and talking about it with my family for about a year and we decided that I was old enough to go this year.
Also, I’m taking Spanish and learning the language and thought it would be a great opportunity to improve my language skills.
I was a bit nervous because I had never been away from home for so long and I was going to be in a different country than my family.
I felt really reassured though that it was going to be a good experience.
I had a lot of information about the program from the staff and the website. It was more of an excited nervous and not a bad kind of nervous!
How would you describe a “typical student” on the program?
Maggie: I thought that most of the students were enthusiastic about going to different sites and seeing new things. I found that everyone on the program was really nice and easy to get along with and fun to hang out with.
There were definitely more girls than boys on the trip. I thought there was a good mix.
We all hung out together and there wasn’t a separation or anything like that. There wasn’t anyone that I felt like I couldn’t hang out with if I wanted to.
Over the course of the program you took Spanish Language daily and Digital Photography three times a week, did you enjoy the classes?
Maggie: I loved the Abbey Road experiential classroom environment. We got to go out into the city and weren’t stuck in the classroom all day long.
I also liked that classroom learning incorporated site seeing. The program wasn’t study, study, study all day long. We got to go out into the city and see the different monuments and sites, which we learned a lot from.
Spanish [class] was very different [from my class in school.] It was much more conversational than I was used to which I liked because for me a lot of times I can write well in Spanish and get my ideas out on paper, but then when I have to talk it’s a lot harder.
I also liked that we got to go out into the city and do surveys and talk with native speakers. I really enjoyed photography as well because we had specific assignments, but we had a lot of freedom to be creative.
I had never taken a photography class before and I thought the class was a good starting point for me. I thought the professors were all really knowledgeable and helpful.
Do you think it’s important for teenagers your age to study abroad? How did this experience impact you?
Maggie: I think it’s important to have cultural awareness and to be aware of other cultures and not just what you are used to. I think that studying abroad is the most effective way to gain that kind of awareness and to see how other people live and their values in life.
It’s just such a great way to learn about others and yourself. I had an unforgettable experience and I made amazing friends that I’m still in touch with and plan on keeping in touch with them for a long time.
It was such an amazing experience and it changed me so much as a person; it made me more aware and improved my Spanish.
What advice would you give to a future Abbey Road student?
Maggie: I would tell them to take every opportunity that they can. If they have the opportunity to do something cool and interesting to take it and just try to immerse yourself as much as possible. This program is so amazing and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.