Students spend late spring semester abroad in Spain

Jared Morgan, Staff Writer

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Students Elizabeth Lumsden, Natasha Young, Imani Ferguson, Jared Morgan, Carlie Fusco, Rebeca Pacheco, Kaitlyn Luna and Ashley Krause, accompanied by professors Elizabeth Zahnd and Wendy Caldwell, spent two weeks studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain.

After arriving in Madrid, the students attended “Estudio Sampere” in the city of Salamanca. There they studied under resident teachers in two-hour class sessions each day to refine their conversation skills while learning more about the Spanish language and culture.

Every other class day, the students travelled to various cities across Spain to learn more about the cultural and historical importance of the different locations. From the ancient Wall in Avila to the bustling streets of Segovia, the excursions allowed the students to experience the sights, cuisines, dances and culture of Spain.

Nursing major Natasha Young said the trip was meaningful in more ways than one.

“The most impactful part of the trip was visiting Segovia,” Young said. “I have always heard stories about the Roman aqueducts, but I never in a million years thought that I’d be able to see it in person. It was a great experience and it made me want to travel more and broaden my horizons.”

Spanish major Elizabeth Lumsden said it was a very instructive trip.

“Getting to experience a new country and being able to be immersed in a language, it was incredible that we got to do that,” Lumsden said.

Spanish professor Wendy Caldwell shared her desire to challenge students to broaden their cultural horizons.

“I love watching our students thrive in a new culture and challenging themselves intellectually and personally,” Caldwell said.

FMU is home to many international students, and it encourages its students to invest in other cultures. Caldwell described the importance for students, particularly foreign language majors, to immerse themselves in these different cultures.

“Studying abroad brings education to life in ways that a traditional classroom cannot,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell explained that the 2019 Spain excursion would not have been financially feasible without the help of the FMU Ready to Experience Applied Learning (REAL) Program. The REAL Program was created to financially assist students to experience nontraditional learning experiences, such as internships, studying abroad and service learning. Students must apply to receive financial assistance from the REAL program, which can then be used for the student’s learning experience.

Young also shared her thoughts on the importance of studying abroad.

“I think it is very important for students to study abroad and learn about other cultures,” Young said. “While in Spain, I learned more about the culture, the royal families and foods that are especially important to the country.” More information about studying abroad or the REAL program can be found on FMU’s website at fmarion.edu/provost/realgrants/ or at fmarion.edu/international programs/.

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