After making the decision to travel with my school, I have been asked by a number of family members why I would like to study abroad. Being asked this question numerous times transported me back to a meeting with my Spanish teacher earlier in the school year. I asked, “Señora, por qué no estoy con fluidez en español? He aprendido desde el primer grado,” translating to me asking why I am not fluent in Spanish even after learning it since first grade. My teacher began to explain to me that, though I have a strong command of the language and a reasonable proficiency, I would need to fully immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking environment to become fluent. Her comments on my language skills really inspired me to want to take a trip abroad to a Spanish speaking country in order to solidify and practice my skills.
Later on in the school year, my school announced a trip to the Basque Country in Spain and France during spring break. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me, not only because I would be able to explore Spain’s rich culture, but also because it is a chance to live with a family and go to a Spanish school.
I believe that being able to communicate and bond with a Spanish family will be a priceless experience. This will give me a chance to have interesting discussions in a different language, and fully immerse myself in the Spanish culture. Also, being able to attend school with other student learning Spanish from all over the world would give me the chance to interact with people from so many different backgrounds. This trip will allow me to extend my learning beyond the classroom whether it be going to a flamenco class or simply speaking with Spanish locals at a tapas tasting.
Aside from being able to learn Spanish and sharpen my skills, I think this trip would be the perfect opportunity for me to bond with my peers as we tour the gorgeous sights in Spain. During school, it is so easy to become so absorbed in our studies that we don’t have enough time to bond with the people around us. At first, I was a bit hesitant to take part in the trip because I feared I wouldn’t have any friends from my grade, but I realized that this trip would be the perfect opportunity to bond with students from other grades and get to know more people outside of my usual friend group.
I cannot wait to take my study abroad trip to Spain this summer and have one of the greatest experiences of my life!
About the author: Alexis Elliot is a sophomore at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She is an enthusiastic Spanish learner, and outside of school she enjoys playing soccer and running track, working on her business, and spending time with friends and family. She thoroughly enjoys traveling, and she is always open to learning about cultures from all over the world.