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Editor’s note: At SPI, we believe that the best perspectives on our high school study abroad programs come from our students and alumni. With that in mind, please enjoy this post by future SPI participant Erin Eagle as she talks about her motivations for travel and studying abroad. Thanks, Erin! We can’t wait to meet you this summer and welcome you to Spain!  – John Foster, SPI Program Director & Blog Editor

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Venturing out into the world is exciting to me; exploring the unknown is exhilarating; and going out my comfort zone is scary, but so worth it.  I’m not exactly the “stay-at-home” type.  Whenever I can, I love to be out of the house, on an airplane, in a new city, or trying something new.  Because the school year is so busy, I don’t exactly have time for that, so my summertime is always devoted to travel.

I went to Spain with my family a few years ago, and it was absolutely amazing.  But I am looking forward to getting a completely new experience there.  What I love most about travelling is that in two short weeks so much can change: you can literally change as a person after being exposed to a new culture.  While I am overly excited for the beaches, cute shopping areas, and good food, I just cannot wait to immerse myself into the life of a typical San Sebastián teen.

So why SPI San Sebastián?

I’ve had my eye on this specific trip since 9th grade.  My school has an immersion requirement, so every single student must go on some type of linguistic, wilderness, or service trip before graduation.  While many of my peers joined practically any trip to get it over with, I wanted to wait a few years until I felt prepared to embark on this major journey.  After carefully researching many programs and locations, SPI seemed to fit all my criteria.  While initially I didn’t love the idea of being forced to go on such a trip, I realize now how grateful I am for the opportunity to travel, because I may never have found something like this without my school’s encouragement.

To be honest, hiking in the outdoors for two weeks did not exactly sound like an ideal journey for me personally.  After hearing from my neighbor who is an extremely experienced traveller that San Sebastián was his absolute favorite destination of all time, my decision was made in an instant.

Finally, my Spanish skills are going to be put to the test in Spain.  While I have completed many levels of Spanish over the years, my conversational skills are definitely still developing.  I am hopeful that my experience in Spain will help me become more comfortable speaking, so that when I return to school in September, I will feel confident towards the year ahead.

So, as I am nearing the end of my junior year, I am ready to finish up to ultimately reach the day of departure for a trip I have been awaiting for so long!  I am so excited to see what it will bring!

Who am I?  My name is Erin! I am a typical 17-year-old girl from New Jersey: busy, trying to finish up my last two years of high school.  You could probably find me exploring new places each year, shopping for the newest trends, and hanging out with friends.