For the past 38 years, Proctor's satellite campus in Spain has afforded students the opportunity to live and learn abroad. This winter, nine students have shared unforgettable experiences traveling throughout Spain, studying Spanish culture and navigating life with a host family.
The Winter Term in Spain comes to an end in just over two weeks and students program co-directors, Derek and Eva, are in the process of preparing for an upcoming week-long excursion. Despite this busy schedule, students were able to submit a few thoughts regarding their time in Spain to date in the following paragraphs.
Trip describes the group's second major excursion of the term, "My second journey away from my temporary home in Segovia took me to the beautiful coastal town of San Sebastian, in the Basque region. The Basque people have a very interesting culture and history because they have been isolated from the world in many ways throughout history. In the Basque Country, in collaboration with Spanish, Euskara is spoken, a language which historians have been unable to connect with any other language."
Cat's offers this description of an adventure with seven group members to the San Sebastian aquarium, "It was cold out and the walk long, but well worth it. We walked through town, to the beach and then past the shipyard. The jellyfish tank was the first I set eyes on. It is said that people stay the longest at a jellyfish tank. Perhaps it is because floating aimlessly with the current is exactly what people crave during their busy lives. Hannah and I lay on the floor and looked up. We talked about what it would be like to be a fish and wondered if we would like the simplicity or hate the disability.”
Current Proctor parents Alex and Juana (Inigo '13) were kind enough to invite a group of Proctor en Segovia students to visit their hometown of Pamplona. Alex writes, "Inigo's father was a great tour guide! He knew all about the running of the bulls and while walking the route, we listened to him tell us all about the event, where it was safe to stand during the running and where your life would be in danger. Alex and Juana were so kind and thoughtful and sent us back to the rest of the group with speciality cookies from Pamplona."
While the excursions throughout Spain have left lasting memories on each member of the group, a term abroad always forces students out of their comfort zone. Tori acknowledges this initial fear, "Going to Spain with just one year of Spanish under my best made me nervous. I wasn't sure how well i was going to be able to communicate with my house mother, Juana, or ask directions from a stranger if I got lost. Luckily, my fears quickly went away when I started Soco's Spanish class. Right off the bat, she made sure we learned the basic vocabulary for everyday use. I am so grateful for the supportive teachers over here!"
Michaela echos Tori's sense of accomplishment since arriving in Spain, "I’ve learned more than I could ever have imagined. Many times since I’ve gotten here, I’ve been approached by Spanish speakers asking for direction to different landmarks in Segovia. There’s no better feeling than having people actually understand what you’re saying and follow your advice. When we first arrived, communication was difficult, but now we’ve all gained the confidence to speak in Spanish with the people of Segovia and through that, we’ve learned the most."
While Jack downplays his improved Spanish writing, "My spoken Spanish has improved tremendously, but I'm not convinced my grammar has!", his host mother wrote to program directors Eva and Derek how impressed she was with their daily conversations about politics and culture in Spain during comida (lunch), grammar aside."
Similarly, when Tori's mother, aunt and grandmother visited last week, they regaled the group about their weekend trip to Toledo where their 'interpreter' was none other than Tori herself. Derek and Eva note, "It is moments like that when we know the program is accomplishing what we hope as students gain confidence in using their second language in a real and practical way."