After all the paper work was done and my semester at my home school was over, I was terrified. I really started to second guess whether or not I could live away from my family and friends for 5 whole months! January 4th came way too soon, and the moment I got on the plane, I was regretting my decision. Landing in Spain and getting accustomed to my apartment ( I chose the apartments instead of the homestay) was very difficult, I’d had never been so homesick in my life. I remember the landlord of the apartment caught my roommate and I crying and said, “ This time is going to fly, and they day you leave Granada, you’ll be crying a lot harder.” It took about 3 weeks for me to really get used to the idea that Granada would be my home for the next 5 months. Slowly but surely, I began to fall in love. The city, the sights, the traveling, the food, the people, all of it; you not only get to discover a new gorgeous city, but you feel as though the world is at your feet, and that’s because for those couple of months, it really is. You learn to seize every moment, and seek out all new opportunities, and for 5 months you get enjoy life to absolute fullest.
AIFS does an amazing job at accommodating your every need. The resident director of Granada, Paula Messina, is an absolute sweetheart. She along with AIFS provide you with the best possible experience imaginable, and tend to your every need. I got sick while I was in Granada, and I e-mailed her around 4am and she got back to me later that morning and pulled me out of class for my appointment with the doctor. I never once felt like I was alone in the city there was always someone there to talk to about anything.
As far as academics the CLM, ( Centro de Lenguas Modernas) provides you with a very unique experience. The university and the curriculum are designed in a way that is challenging, but still incorporates your experience abroad. The professors at the CLM were probably some of the best I have ever had. Their style of teaching is very different to what we are accustomed to, but that’s what makes the experience so memorable.
May 24th came way too soon. The best memories of my life were made in Granada. Everything from the lively city to AIFS, makes you fall in love over and over again. The day I left my apartment, I said bye to the staff members, and told the landlord how right she had been, and then she hugged me and told me to come back soon. Going abroad was the scariest thing I have ever done, but looking back now, the thought of not having gone abroad, is absolutely terrifying.
If I can leave you with any words of advice, seize the moment. Don't take your time out there for granted! Travel a lot, study a lot, eat a lot, discover a lot, dance a lot, just do it all, and then do more.
I wish we didn't have to leave the same week we had finals. It was really hard to try to cram in all the studying and packing! Realistically those last days you're there you want to enjoy them with your friends and the city. If it's possible I would suggest allowing students to stay an extra week or AT LEAST that weekend. I had friends who had exams up until the very last day and I thought that was kind of difficult. Other than that the program was perfect, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. :)