What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Nikki: A lot of my friends approach me saying they are interested in studying abroad and the first thing I say is do it! I tell them that my summer abroad was the best summer of my life and I would not change anything about it. All of the experiences I had, both good and bad, were 100% worth it.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Nikki: A group of us decided to go up to Pamplona for the running of the bulls. And I ran with the bulls. My favorite story to tell about it though is when I came back and told my host mom about it. My Spanish is very limited, so I had to tell her about it via hand gestures and facial expressions. As you can imagine, when she finally realized what I was saying, her eyes got ten times wider and she said, "Oh Niiiikki, estas loca!"
What made this experience unique and special?
Kalob: I think what made my experience unique in regards to the other individuals in my program was that I didn't know any Spanish going into it. I saw it as a challenge and was excited to see where not knowing the language took me. I am a very independent person so I had to learn to rely on others to communicate with the local people.
Having to do this allowed me to create even stronger ties with the individuals in my program and pushed me to expedite my learning process. It also made interactions between me and the Spaniards I met very amusing to watch and hear!
What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?
Kalob: This trip taught me that no matter where you are, you can always create a home for yourself. When you study abroad with a group of people, you form bonds almost instantaneously with each other. My group became my family, and Valencia became my home.
Never in a million years did I think I would fall in love with a city as big as Valencia, but because I made so many memories there, it will always have a place in my heart. Now I know that wherever my life takes me, even if it's not what I thought it would be, I will be able to adapt to it and make the most of any situation.