I had the privilege of participating in the 2022 San Sebastian Summer program. Words cannot articulate how special this experience was for me, but I hope that the fact that I am already planning a trip back/ have concrete plans to visit my peers that I met through this experience speaks for itself. When people ask about my study abroad experience, I think they may sometimes regret it because I can go on for an eternity about the amazing friendships, culture immersion, global contacts, and sense of travel identity that it gave me. San Sebastian is the most perfect combination of nature, nightlife, rich culture, cleanliness, and safeness.
The program leaders in Donostia went above and beyond planning and communicating events to the point where I did not want to travel to other countries on free weekends the way I thought I would because my beautiful host city always had something amazing to offer. However, on the off chance I did want to travel they were there every step of the way helping me plan the (unaffiliated with school) trip.
The program leaders, specifically Patricia, looked after me as if I was one of their own when I fell ill which is more than any parent who is sending their student abroad or sick college kid like myself could ever hope for when in a stressful situation as such. The last praise I want to give to the staff goes straight to the teachers! Marina helped me learn more in 6 weeks than I learned in 2 years of High School Spanish, I left Spain with more Spanish confidence than I ever thought I could have.
Although this is not a complaint, I did want to explain my one 9/10 stars in the housing category. The range of living situations is vast and it would have been nice to been informed of this however, it in no way negatively affected my experience. I was blessed to have lived in a quaint apartment near the ocean that had one of the most genuine and kind local landlords/ human beings I have ever met. The landlord was an older Basque gentleman who showed my roommates and I the upmost hospitality. Although we were on the lower end of housing size, quality, and distance from the school, I honestly would not have traded it for a "nicer" placement because it was extremely homey and safe.
The Spanish class put me outside of my comfort zone in the best way possible; we learned extremely fast paced yet efficiently. The workload was very reasonable and there was always easily accessible teacher support. The surf class gets an easy 10 stars, as it was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I have ever had. The instructors were so patient, outgoing, and personable.
As cliche as it sounds, USAC studying abroad was everything I could have wish for and some. I left with lifelong friends and the biggest place in my heart for new cultures.