Applying to Study Abroad
Many students like myself dream of studying abroad and being offered a new cultural perspective of the language they are learning. It is an experience that can’t be mimicked in a classroom. One which fully immerses you in the language, allowing international friendships to form, and experiences of cultural differences that broaden your knowledge of the world and have an everlasting impact. In fact, learning abroad is regarded as such an effective tool that my University offered me the option to study Spanish from a beginner level with the promise that after my year abroad, my fluency would be on track to that of a bachelor’s degree. For this reason, and my knowledge that you are most likely reading this to consider travelling abroad, I strongly suggest that you take the opportunity and make the most of the incredible experience.
Perhaps now, more importantly than ever, we need to be able to communicate with our European neighbours effectively.
I am Looking Forward to…
Whilst abroad, there are many aspects I look forward to, and of course as a Brit, I couldn’t forget to mention the beach and warm climate. You can guarantee that whilst away I will definitely be bombarding my family and friends with photos I’ve taken of the sun, the sea and perhaps of me laying in a hammock with a nice cool beverage if I’m lucky. However, what I’m most excited about is the fact that I will be experiencing a completely new lifestyle.
By placing myself into an environment where I will depend on my knowledge of the language, I hope to gain confidence speaking and understanding Spanish by engaging with those around me. In turn, this should provide a greater understanding of the culture and allow me to make contacts that I will then utilise in the future. Such as when returning to England I hope to have made friends that will help me continue to improve my Spanish by keeping in touch over the phone or Facetime etc. and potentially returning to Spain to see them. I also expect to find potential job opportunities in Spain through the connections I’ve made, which should prepare me for after I graduate from University.
Opportunity and the Future
Overall, I know this experience will be a brilliant opportunity to enhance my employability by actually living in the country of the language I’m learning; something you can’t grasp through a textbook. It will offer a deeper cultural insight rather than being someone who simply learns to translate. I expect it to broaden my passion and commitment to learning languages by seeing the rewards of my hard effort to learn Spanish whilst living in Spain. I can’t wait to utilise all I’ve learnt in real life situations and expand this knowledge through the encounters I will have.
I share the same anticipation with so many others who are eager to travel once it is safe to do so, and there is no greater time than now to look towards and start planning for the future. Although there have been many difficulties which we have all had to face due to Covid, we should be reminded of all we have to be grateful for and to look forward to. For example, I appreciate how globally connected we all are, even in such difficult times like now, through the internet and those committed to maintaining these international relationships, and I am eagerly awaiting for the physical distance to no longer be a barrier and to experience life from another part of the world. I encourage you all to do the same and realise the benefit of travelling and gaining cultural insight of the language you are learning.
As linguists, we must not lose sight of our love for languages due to these unfortunate circumstances and keep this passion in preparation for being able to travel once again. This is the mentality I have whilst planning and preparing for my studies abroad in Valencia, and I shall continue to do so till the moment where I am sat on that plane and have passed the barrier.