As Auburn students, we all love our time here in “the loveliest village on the plains” as we work our way toward earning our degree in whatever field of study we choose. But stay in one place for too long, no matter how much you love it, and you’ll be begging for a change of scenery after a while.
Where do you go when you need a change of scenery you ask? Why not Spain?
Carolyn Rush, a junior studying public relations here at Auburn did just that. As a Spanish minor, Rush chose to take her studies outside the classroom to Madrid, Spain and wound up learning more than she ever thought she would.
“I’ve taken Spanish for almost 16 years and I knew I wanted to put my knowledge to the test by amercing myself in the language and culture,” said Rush. “In the five months I spent abroad, I learned more about the Spanish language, culture and customs than I ever had since I began taking Spanish in kindergarten.”
While abroad, Rush and a friend from high school lived with a Spanish woman who couldn’t speak a word of English. Even though this was obviously a big challenge for the girls, it proved to be on of the most valuable parts of the study abroad experience for Rush.
“At first, it was definitely weird not being able to really communicate with our house mom,” said Rush. “Even though I know the language, speaking it in Spain with a full-blooded Spanish woman was completely different than talking with a teacher. After a while, it got easier and definitely helped me to expand my understanding of the language a lot.”
While abroad, Rush thoroughly enjoyed traveling around various other parts of Spain including San Sebastian, Barcelona, Grenada and Toledo. Everywhere she went, Rush carried her giant Nikon D60 camera with her, snapping photos every step of the way.
“I definitely couldn’t have lived without my camera on this trip,” said Rush. “I tried to shoot something new every day and being in such a beautiful country like Spain I had no trouble finding things to take pictures of. One of my favorite pictures actually won a photo contest for Auburn Abroad this year which was incredibly exciting and gratifying for me and my love of photography.”
Although her time abroad was clearly a lot of fun, Rush was required to take classes for course credit. While in Madrid, Rush chose to take Art in Spain and Conversation to finish six hours of her Spanish minor.
“I did my study abroad program with International Studies Abroad (ISA), which works very closely with Auburn and its study abroad program,” said Rush. “I was able to get all of my credits transferred without and problem and would definitely recommend this company to anyone wanting to study abroad.”
Now, back in the States, Rush looks back on her time in Spain and is amazed at all she was able to do and see.
“I would absolutely encourage anyone considering studying abroad to go for it,” said Rush. “If you have a love for cultures and are willing to totally let go of being Americanized for a summer or a semester you would love studying abroad. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”