During the summer of 2015, I embarked on a trans-Atlantic adventure to explore the rich history and culture of Spain. The trip would last four weeks, and would aim for complete Spanish immersion, an intimidating notion for someone who had just struggled through Spanish III.
We spent most of the trip living with a Spanish family in Barcelona, where we would have classes in the morning and would take an excursion with the group in the afternoon. The weekends were time for us to explore the city on our own, which my roommate, Ben, and I took full advantage of. We couldn’t escape the timeless history and unique culture as we toured cathedrals, admired roman and gothic art, and marvelled at architecture that simply cannot be found any place else on earth. Our immersion into the history and culture was paralleled by our immersion into the Spanish language. Our host family spoke not a word of English, and soon Ben and I even began naturally talking amongst ourselves in Spanish.
There’s no better way to learn about anything than to be simply thrust into it. Throwing myself off the deep end and into Spanish life forced me to adapt and learn effectively. The lessons I learned there transcend lingual or cultural barriers and have stayed with me since the trip. Unfortunately, I participated in the Summer in Spain trip in its’ final year, so future Loomis students might not have the chance to experience Spain exactly like I did. But perhaps that’s for the best, because new experiences and adventures is what the trip was all about, and my particular trip is certainly not the only way to be exposed to a travel-abroad experience. This year’s trips to Quebec, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Peru, and Iceland, will all lend themselves to the same kinds of experiences I had. Students that choose to take advantage of these amazing opportunities will learn lessons that will stick with them for life, and they will com home having learned a great deal about the world and about themselves.