(Photos by Drew Goede '09)
Students' comments about excursions, long weekend, and extra-curricular activities
- "It was really cool to see the cathedrals and the city. The church was really cool too (the biggest one I had ever been in) ... we got there around the perfect time so we could see everything, I never felt rushed we had plenty of time to see everything."
- "Salamanca was so much fun. I learned a lot and it was really interesting to see other cities in Spain."
- "Very interesting and meaningful trip."
- "Favorite trip of all. Loved the sites. Want to go back."
- "I LOVED Segovia. It was a beautiful day, and the city was gorgeous. We, as students, gave presentations throughout the day of all the important sites that we visited. This made the experience much more interesting and I felt that I was more a part of the excursion itself. I loved touring the castle, Alcazar. We also got a sufficient amount of free time where we could shop and look around. I had a wonderful time in Segovia."
- "Probably one of my favorite places to go! I loved the aquaduct and all the street performers that we saw. We had a lot of time to walk around and shop which was fun. The thing I liked the most though was the castle that we got to see! It looked like a real Disney castle! So cool."
- "The trips to Burgos [was] really interesting and provided great insight into the culture of Spain!"
- "Burgos was nice as well. I enjoyed the view from the castle and the cathedral was interesting."
- "Burgos was interesting, very tourist oriented."
- "The other excursion to the wine country was my favorite. It was a really fun and relaxing way to start the end of the trip."
- "Barcelona over long weekend was so amazing. I want to go back there as soon as possible. Also having an extra day there was very nice."
- "Barcelona over long weekend was so amazing. I want to go back there as soon as possible."
- "Barcelona was my favorite place to go out of all of them. Though it was expensive to eat there and just go it was definitely worth the money. The beaches were amazing and the food was too. I liked touring the city on the bus for a day because we could see everything."
- "Bilbao was awesome."
- "San Sebastian is a great place to go on long weekend! So many things to see and do and the beaches are amazing!"
Additional Extra curricular Activities
- "Some of the other things I really enjoyed visiting was the Valladolid Soccer game, the Bull Fighting Museum and the Castle/Winery in Peña Fiel? These excursions/activities were great examples of the true culture of Spain!"
- "This past weekend, we went to Piña Fiel, Coca, and Santander. It was so awesome. Nelsy brought the group out to eat for supper and it was great. It was one of my favorite things I have ever done."
- "The wine tasting was a great experience, the castle was amazing and we learned a lot."
Comments from past trips:
- "The trip was amazing and the cathedrals were like nothing I have ever seen before. I would recommend everyone to go and see these buildings."
- "The buildings and churches were breathtaking and were filled with history that left everyone in awe."
- "The Cathedral was absolutely incredible."
- "Segovia was beautiful. Though the weather at first didn´t cooperate it did in the end. I would have loved to do an overnight there but the day trip was really good."
- "Great city! Lots to do and see! The castle was amazing!"
- "Most beautiful town to visit. I would continue to take excursions there."
- "Las Hoces were amazing. I really enjoyed a natural excursion like this and I would highly recommend it. It was a great opportunity to experience the wilderness of Spain."
- "We went to Valencia and Barcelona on our own and they were amazing! It was fabulous being by ourselves and having opportunities to relax and explore the cities."
- "Our weekend trips were a blast and I really enjoyed them."
Room and Board
- "I had a wonderful family Aure & Victoria Posada. They were very nice and made me feel at home. They respected my privacy and they made me feel apart of their family. The meals were great, I tried just about everything and they never forced me to eat anything I told them I did not eat at the beginning of the program."
- "I loved my family and housing arrangement. Everything was great. My family was Sandra y Raúl Cano. They had a little girl age 9 as well and everything was perfect. I think that because of my family, my experience was one of the best out of the entire group."
- "My family was so nice and always willing to help in any way! They helped us work on our Spanish and the food they made was always delicious."
- "My host parents, Monica and Javier Sanchez, were very kind and generous. They truly made me feel as if I were at home."
Students' comments about past program directors
- "The program directors [Nelsy and Corey] were awesome, I had a lot of fun with them and they are both very helpful and they made this experience a lot of fun."
- "Nelsy and Corey were amazing on this trip. They did so much for me and everyone else that came along. I couldn't have asked for better directors."
- "Nelsy and Corey did a fabulous job! They both went above and beyond to help out and always put the students first. I cannot express how helpful, generous and overall caring they were on this trip. They really made the trip fun and the time really flew by fast."
- "They [Nelsy and Corey] were AWESOME! I cannot thank them enough for all the help and knowledge they provided the group with. From directions, shopping, touring etc. they were always available to offer help and advice. They really made the trip worth while. I appreciate everything they did out of pocket for us as well."
- "They were great. Always available when needed and had a great attitude. Did an awesome job at getting us settled and comfortable in the new environment."
- "Nelsy was amazing! She was so much fun to be around and we learned so much from her. She was always willing to talk if we had problems and made us all feel welcome and comfortable."
- "I cannot say enough good things about Jose, Patrica or Gladys. They were outstanding directors, I hold them in the highest possible regards. From the excursions, dart games and review sessions the directors were simply the best."
- "Very professional, very well prepared, always had our best interests in mind. Offered daily tutorials to help learn the material better. Let us make our own decisions but always made sure we were safe and well behaved. Excellent job."
- "The program directors were excellent. Jose Fabres is an amazing director. He is very fun, helpful, and makes sure everyone is doing okay. Gladys White, although she wasn't supposed to be on the trip, was amazing. I felt like she was my temporary mom. She helped sick people find medicine, took kids to get haircuts, went shopping with the girls, etc. Everyday, she asked everyone how they were doing and made sure everyone was doing okay with their host families."
Advice from students to students planning to go
- "Be ready to embrace changes from studying abroad and just take advantage of every experience the program has to offer."
- "My advice would be to go with the flow. Things are fairly unstructured so you just have to let things happen. Don't be too scared and intimidated at first because it gets easier. Try to talk and meet the locals because they are so funny and it helps learning "real" Spanish and about the culture. I suggest going with at least one friend because it is nice to have a taste of home once and a while and I would not want to live alone but it depends on your preferences. Also, don't bother buying a phone, you won't need it. Oh, and go to the Mediterranean for the long weekend... it's amazing!!!"
- "Talk all that you can. I wish I would have spoke more while I was here. Also don´t get into a routine. There is so much to do here don´t get stuck doing the same thing every day."
- "Pack light! And save up money before the trip, you can save while you are there, but if you will never go back, you will want to spend a lot."
- "Go to the meetings before and get to know people. Also listen to the students who have gone in the past. Ask them what to bring."
- "Be open to the experience and have fun. Be open to new things and you will have a great experience. This program will help you develop as a person and you will learn so much about yourself and other cultures."
- "Pack light! Go on all the excursions, associate with the locals, learn some Spanish, and apply it in stores and talking with the locals, eat at home with your family, explore the city...there is more than just the bar."
- "Have an open mind coming into the program and don't be so judgmental or critical. Some things are different from the USA but it doesn't make them worse."
- "Spend less time drinking and more time speaking with people in Spanish that are patient enough to listen. Wean yourself off of all English and don't give up on Spanish (especially the tests on Fridays) and write down stuff that you want to learn and ask your teacher and program director to work through it with you. When you learn new words and expressions, write them own and use them frequently."
- "Be open to trying things! Food, conversations, activities, everything is an experience that you can learn from and enjoy (with the right attitude)."
- "Bring more than enough money. A swimming suit is not necessary. Good walking shoes are a must. Leave enough room in luggage for gifts. The food is very different. Classes are more difficult than expected. Just enjoy the experience."
- "Don't always hang out in the large groups. Talk to the locals whenever you can."
- "Expect to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity. Be open-minded and don't complain about everything that is different from America."
- "Ask questions! And don't stress your first couple days, it gets easier and don't be afraid to have fun!"
2012 Students' comments on how the Valladolid study abroad has changed them overall
- "I feel like I know myself a lot better now. I know what I like and dislike and I know how I respond to other people and situations. I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to explore another country with the safety of my CSB/SJU family near by."
- "First and foremost my Spanish has improved tremendously. Much more so than if I would have only studied in the states. Second is my appreciation for another culture and just a more open mind about different things! My confidence in my abilities overall, I would say, has improved as well."
- "As my first trip out of the United States, this was a great experience in discovering what life is like in an entirely different atmosphere and with a vastly different populace and country. I feel more self-confident in my abilities to serve the world as a whole with what talents I have."
- "I have become more independent, and have learned how to communicate in Spanish a little bit better. I also learned how important body language is as well since I am not that good at Spanish and I learn from body langue. I also learned a lot about the culture and how to appreciate everyone for who they are."
- "I am much more confident in my Spanish speaking along with meeting new people even if they do speak English."
- "My Spanish has improved and I'm a lot more open to other cultures."
- "I have gained a huge insight into a different culture. I have also learned to be very thankful for many of the things I take for granted back home."
- "I feel like I have learned a lot about myself and I am 100 percent happy that I came on this trip."
- "I think I have. I will not be as nervous in many situations because of all the things I have went through on this trip. Also, I have new perspectives on things."
Comments from past trips:
- "I've changed so much because of this! This was probably the best experience of my life. I feel like I've grown up and matured a lot. I also got so much better at my communication skills with everyone in general."
- "This was such a great learning experience for me. Living and experiencing a different culture made me learn so much about myself, our culture back in the States, and the culture here in Spain. I am so thankful to have experienced this trip, I would recommend it to everyone."
- "I have learned that the world doesn't have to revolve around cell phones and fast-paced activities day in and day out."
- "I have changed only for the better. Being away from home for a month in a foreign country has helped me to develop and enrich myself far beyond what I had thought I would. I would recommend this trip to anyone thinking of studying abroad or wanting to further develop as a person."
"I really learned to appreciate a culture that is very different from my own. I also met some really great people that I probably would have never taken the time to get to know back at school. I have had such a great experience and I've learned a lot about myself and the Spanish culture."