Meaningful travel: study abroad for a new sense of direction in life

Madison Sassaman is from Denver, Colorado. She has a major in Spanish Language with a concentration in Spanish translation and a minor in anthropology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She enrolled in Centro Mundolengua study abroad program Summer Intensive Spanish Course at the University of Cadiz in levels B2.1 and B2.2

“I plan to become an immigration lawyer. Therefore having Spanish as a second language will help me communicate with a wide variety of people and allow me to understand and help all of those who I will be serving”, highlighted Madison.

While in Cádiz, she explored the city and visited cities around Andalucia such as Cordoda, Sevilla, and Granada, and learned so much about Spanish culture. “I loved my experience in Spain and can’t wait to show everyone the wonders of living in Cadiz”, exclaimed Madison.

The Cathedral of Cadiz - Summer study abroad programs for high school students in Spain

What inspired you to study abroad in Cadiz?

I decided to study abroad in Cadiz because after travel abroad in two occasions made me want to do it more. I had always learned about the rich Spanish culture, and I wanted to travel to a Spanish-speaking country so that I could practice my skills and experience about it. There was no better destination, in my mind, than Spain.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of traveling abroad is?

Traveling abroad expands the mind in ways that cannot be undone. Once you have experienced a new culture, new language, and new ways of life, you look at the world in a completely new and different way. Indeed you realize how important it is to experience life abroad.

I feel like I have learned so much inside and out of the classroom about Spanish culture through my study abroad program in Cadiz. It has changed my life and the course of my studies for the better.

Summer Program Cadiz Students

How has your study abroad time change your life?

After studying abroad, I felt a new sense of direction in both my studies and my life outside of school. Studying in Spain reinforced my love for and reason why I’m studying Spanish. It helped me to see how truly incredible life abroad is and helped me understand the meaning of the work I’m doing. I feel even more invigorated to continue my Spanish studies and continue working in the field of Spanish after graduation.

What I really got with Centro Mundolengua was a travel that leaves a lasting imprint on you. I have traveled a fair amount for my age, and while all of it has been incredible, my travels to Spain were the most meaningful of my life. It was the first time I’ve traveled abroad alone, the first time navigating a foreign language, and the first time truly being an individual in the world outside of my everyday life. Everything I did on my trip improved my Spanish, my independence, and my character. These are the experiences that count the most.

What made you choose Centro MundoLengua as your study abroad program provider?

Centro Mundolengua works very closely with my university and facilitate the summer study abroad program for Metropolitan State University Spanish students. My professor knows the staff in Spain very well, therefore he highly recommended it. The incomparable involvement of Centro Mundolengua with each individual student make us feel so engaged even before we left the USA.

From the moment I signed up for my program to the day I returned to the US, I felt supported and cared for all the way through. The local staff with Centro Mundolengua guided us through the cities, took us on excursions, showed up to our breaks at school to check in, and always stayed in touch —even if I just wanted to grab a coffee and chat. I never needed anything that Centro Mundolengua wasn’t able to help me with. The staff was incredibly accommodating and supportive through my entire program.

Why would you recommend Centro Mundolengua to others?

I absolutely would. Centro Mundolengua was a phenomenal program provider and made me feel so welcome and comfortable in Cadiz. They do an amazing job of making every student feel cared for and do everything in their power to foster a great environment for students.

From the directors who run the program to the tour guides on our excursions, all of the Centro Mundolengua staff were incredibly knowledgeable and answered every question I had about what we were learning. They took great care in getting us to and from where we were supposed to be, teaching us all they knew about culture and history, and making sure we had fun while doing it.

I couldn’t recommend Centro Mundolengua more to any student wanting to study abroad!

Cadiz Students at school

Why was your study abroad experience outstanding?

Definitively, the immersion I was able to live made my experience abroad outstanding.  It is one thing to travel to another country, but it is another thing to cook their food, dance to their steps, walk the paths they’ve created, and live amongst the people who make the city so great.

Este descuento aplica a Programas de Secundaria, Programa de verano para Universitarios en Cádiz y Programas de Formación para Profesores. El descuento no aplica para Semestres en el Extranjero, Año Sabático y Programas de Voluntariado. cursos para estudiar universidad en España gave me the opportunity to do it all. I learned to cook Spanish food, speak the way Gaditanos (people from Cadiz) speak, live like the locals, and truly be immersed in the culture. The level of immersion the Centro Mundolengua provides its students is unmatched.

Describe a typical day of your Summer Intensive Spanish Course at the University of Cadiz

Before school, I woke up to breakfast prepared by my host mom and then I headed out to study for the day. I had my intensive Spanish class for four hours a day, with a 30 minute break for breakfast/coffee with friends and faculty of the university. Classes were so engaging with amazing professors and classmates who felt like family by the end of the summer.

After school, I’d head home for lunch and a nice siesta. Lunch was always the biggest meal of the day and my time to catch up with my host family. Afterwards, I typically would spend the day at the beach with my friends or work on homework for my classes at one of the quaint cafes in Cádiz.

Twice a week, my group had a cultural activity such as dancing, cultural tours, or surfing after lunch. Then I’d head home for an amazing dinner with my family, and head right back out for an evening of gelato and dancing with friends.

In my free time, I typically spent most of my time at the beach soaking up the Spanish sun and swimming in the ocean with my friends. If I wasn’t at the beach, I could be found trying cafes, tapas bars, or heladerías around the city. My host parents joked that I only ever came home to sleep, because I spent every free moment I had exploring Cádiz and all that it had to offer! Every single day was a dream!

Cadiz Activities Beach

What do you like the best in Cadiz?

The warmth in Cádiz—both from the Spanish sun and the people I met in the city. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. Gaditanos (people from Cadiz) are wonderful people: some of the kindest, funniest, and most friendly people I have ever met. Every time I walked out my front door, I made a new friend.

From my professors at the Universidad de Cádiz, to my host family, to the people I met in town, I only have amazing things to say about them —they were the best part of my entire trip.

What is one thing every future participant should know before their program begins?

It. Flies. By. It sounds so cheesy, but the time will pass faster than you even realize, so enjoy every moment!

My program was six weeks which seemed like enough time to enjoy Cadiz—spoiler alert: it was not. By the end of my fifth week, I could not believe how quickly my program went by. Centro Mundolengua always made sure we had activities to do, cities to see, and places to be, so time flies by and it’s important to recognize that and enjoy every second!

I wish I would have captured my experiences more. My time flew by in Spain, and I wish I would have taken more time to journal, take pictures/videos, or do something meaningful to remember my trip by. Even if it seems tacky or touristy, take all the photos you want! Write everything in a journal! Create memories! I was too busy enjoying my trip to take tons of photos or videos, but I wish I would have!!

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