The three weeks I spent with Sol Abroad were one of the best weeks of my life! I enjoyed participating in the cultural activities with other high school students from different parts of the United States. I will never forget the moments in which I saw Picasso's art in real life, slid down a nearly vertical waterslide, hiked through small picturesque villages in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, took a four-hour tour of the majestic Alhambra, watched a spectacular flamenco performance, relaxed in the idyllic Arabian baths, and much more. This trip gave me opportunities to fully immerse into the Spanish language and culture. I enjoyed conversing with my host in Spanish during long mealtimes. My host mother was very welcoming to my roommate and I. She prepared excellent dishes, with my personal favorites including: an Italian pizza recipe, a three-layered chocolate cake, a spinach and chickpeas dish, and a pie with strawberries and peaches. My host mother has also showed me several landmarks and buildings around Granada, Spain. We even got to visit her family's shop, and we got to meet her friendly and well-mannered grandchildren.
Not only I had a positive experience with the host family and the program's activities, but I also liked attending Spanish classes at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas. Though the coursework was challenging, my Spanish skills have flourished. Both of my Spanish professors were very helpful and understanding. They were open-minded, and allowed me to have fun with the Spanish language. Through the classes, I have also interacted with college students, as well as other high school students, from different parts of the world. I enjoyed participating in group activities, reading authentic texts in Spanish, and writing. I will never forget the time we had to write creative stories in Spanish, and my group decided to write about a "superhero mango."
Overall, this experience was very pleasant! It allowed me to think outside the box, form connections with other individuals, improve my language skills, and overall explore new places. I am definitely interested in participating in study abroad programs when I attend college. I enjoy traveling and learning about the different cultures around the world.
A suggestion I have for future language-immersing participants is to speak the target language from day one. The best way to learn a new language is to start immersing into it. Since I was in a Spanish-speaking country, I heard Spanish all around me, not just in the classroom. I understand that some people may feel a little bit nervous about speaking a foreign language, but the locals are very understanding. From my experience, I noticed that the locals were excited that I was interacting with them in their own language. Even though I may have made some mistakes, they were still accepting.
And to conclude, I definitely recommend this study abroad program for future travelers! It is very educational, as well as adventurous!