Gina Polito with her group from Barrington High School

 Language Program in Spain – Student from Barrington High School

I’m Gina Polito, I go to Barrington High School in Chicago, Illinois. I am here participating in a language program in Spain at Centro Mundolengua with 12 of my friends and we have so far loved this experience.

What were your first impressions of Seville and the Spanish people?

At first, I was thinking (when I got off the plane) that I was gonna be judged for being American, because I was wearing a base ball cap, but everyone there was super nice. When we got off the plane I dropped my water bottle and one of the natives picked it up and said: “You forgot this, have a nice time in Sevilla!” and it was just funny because they knew I was a tourist just by what I was wearing. But anyways, that was a good start to our language program in Spain.


Have you been to Spain or Europe before?

No, this is my first time out of the country. It is very different from America, time-wise. Obviously, we don’t have the siesta time, but I wish we did. Because in America we are always rushing rushing rushing and always trying to do something, but here its very laid-back and fun, you go with the flow.


How is it different from America?

It’s a lot more colorful than in America. And the buildings are short, but I think it is interesting that that is, because they wanted to keep the streets cool so the sun didn’t come in. And I think I like the architecture in Spain better, there is something about the small streets that are really narrow that makes you feel like you are on an adventure

I live in a small town, where everyone knows each other and then here I feel like people know each other but not everyone knows everyone. So that’s different as well.


And how do you like the Spanish food?

Love love love. I think I love it better than American food, because Spanish food is a lot healthier, it’s not artificial, it’s very fresh and you know where everything comes from, because we went to the market hall one day. And I love tortilla española (Spanish omelette), its my favorite. Oh and I love Gazpacho (a cold vegetable soup/drink); a lot of people don’t, but I do! And we did a paella cooking class yesterday – so good!

How did you find out about Mundolengua?

My teacher always takes people to Spain with Mundolengua for the summer so I just signed up to for a language program in Spain and then I found out at our first meeting that it was with Mundolengua. And for the application later she just showed us the form and that was easy enough.

Our teacher has been working here, she knows this place, she loves this place, so she always takes students here. 


What were your expectations about a language program in Spain?

I thought that we were going to learn about the culture of paella, about where it came from, how it was made and then in the afternoon we would make paella. But really, we do a lot of grammar and we actually improve our Spanish in the morning classes and that was something I wasn’t expecting. And now I’m better at Spanish (grins).


Did you participate in any of the non-obligatory activities?

I liked karaoke. I wasn’t expecting to like it but then my friends said I had to go, so I went. And I loved karaoke. It was fun, because some people really put themselves out there and it was great to see everyone support each other, because we were with people from different schools that we didn’t know, but then when they went up there and actually sang, instead of just belting out some notes, they were really good. So everyone was really happy with this activity.


How is life with the host family?

Oh gosh, I love our host family! We talk to our host mom everyday and tell her what we did and she tells us her stories. The dad is very nice and we have a group chat with our host sister. We always play UNO with our sister, she loves that. And they give us recommendations where to eat – the inside scoop!


Do you think your improvement in the Spanish language has anything to do with learning it while also using it outside in real life situations?

I do, because I feel like if we didn’t keep up with the grammar and the theoretical things, a lot of times in the house or outside I would slack off, switch to English and I wouldn’t try that hard to communicate that well. I reboots my memory so I can go out and actually use it. Makes me try a little harder.


Anything else you want to add to that?

Definitely loving the country and my language program in Spain, and MundoLengua is helping me, so I’m thankful.

My mom was talking to me and she asked me how I was, because I hadn’t called much. And I said I didn’t need to, I was having so much fun, “Gotta go…” (laughs)

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