Have you ever considered studying abroad? How lucky you are to and this university! UNC Wilmington offers more than 1,000 education programs in over 50+ countries. I remember being a Freshman attending the Study Abroad Fair and knew I wanted to take advantage of this awesome opportunity and travel somewhere. This Summer, I studied abroad in Spain for six weeks and had the most rewarding experience.
Even though I knew I wanted to study abroad, I did not know where. Having a Spanish minor, I would receive weekly emails about what is going on in the Spanish Department. In those emails, information sessions about traveling abroad are always included. Last Fall, one caught my attention. It was an information session about a small city called Santander located in Spain. After attending the information session, I knew this was the place for me.
Santander is located two hours North of Madrid. It is the capital city of the Cantabria Region along the North Coast of Spain. It is home to the fifth largest bank in the world, Santander Bank (formerly known as the Bank of Spain). From the beautiful beaches, you are able to see the mountains in the distance. One of the main tourist attractions in Santander is El Palacio de Magdalena, where the popular Netflix series El Gran Hotel was filmed.
When I signed up for the trip to Santander, I only knew one person going. But after six weeks in Spain together, the group of 17 other students I went with became my new friends. We all got along and helped each other figure out the new culture. We each had the opportunity to live with a host family who showed us the way around the city. It was difficult at first adapting to a new way of life and understanding the communication methods they used, but the families were kind and welcoming and did their best to make us feel at home. With our professor from UNCW, Professor Jara, we took two classes at a community college in the city and earned six credits. One of my favorite activities we got to do was hang out with the students who attended the University of Cantabria. We would work with the students who were learning English. Everyone paired up with a speaking partner and we would speak in Spanish to them and they had to speak in English back to us. It was a cool experience to help someone learn a new language and have them teach us the slang that people used in the region.
UNCW offers numerous study abroad programs in places all over the world. Programs are available for a semester, summer session, spring break, and more. If you have any interest in traveling, I encourage you to attend an information session, talk to an abroad ambassador, or make an appointment with an abroad advisor. Visit Studying abroad was the best decision I made in college. It made me step outside of my comfort zone and realize my love for travel.
– Kelcy Duffy