The ability to speak another language is an invaluable skill that is in high demand in our business world today. As Auburn University students we’re constantly trying to push ourselves academically to succeed in the real world and what better way to stand out than to learn another language? This is the reason that each summer many Auburn students, like junior Leanna Vitari from Alpharetta Georgia, decide to study abroad. Vitari chose to do two separate programs in Spain through Auburn Abroad, one in Madrid and the other in Salamanca. Vitari learned that by doing two separate programs she could not only stay in Spain all summer, but also she’d receive enough credits to complete a Spanish minor.
Vitari had classes everyday from 9-Noon in Madrid and from 9- 2 in Salamanca with Spanish-speaking teachers, and in class no English was allowed. Vitari took classes in syntax, conversation, culture and business to receive 13 Auburn credits. Not only did Vitari learn the Spanish language but she also was immersed in the Spanish culture.
The Auburn Abroad Madrid program had included excursions like a trip to El Museo del Prado, a world famous museum second only to the Louvre in Paris, a weekend trip the beach town of Alicante and a day trip to Toledo. As well as a visit to the crypts of Escorial and multiple Roman ruins throughout the mainland Spain. In the Auburn Abroad Salamanca program Vitari went on weekend excursions to Madrid, Seville and Granada.
Vitari also got to experience bullfights and futbol games while in Spain. “It was an especially exciting time for Spain because they were in the Eurocup finals and when they won it was pure madness in Spain! I’m so lucky to have been able to experience that,” says Vitari.
In addition to the option of going on Auburn faculty led excursions study abroad students also have free weekends to travel around Europe. Vitari visited Lisbon, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain on her free weekends. “I also got to go to Italy for a week when I was in Europe”, says Vitari, “I had eight free days in between the two programs so I chose to go to Rome, Milan and Venice. I definitely feel like a world traveler after this summer”.
Vitari enjoyed going to Spain with an Auburn Abroad rather than her other option of using an independent study abroad program. “I liked how my credits would transfer as well as my grades, I made four A’s this summer and it really helped boost my GPA. I also liked that I had Auburn professors with me all summer, it helped me feel more secure in a foreign country.” Vitari was happy that almost everyone was from Auburn because she “got to meet people I may not have met by just being in Auburn and now I get to hang out with them back at school, its fun having all the people you grow with in a foreign country back home with you, were almost like a family”.
“The best part about studying abroad is you’re not just sitting in a classroom and learning for a few hours a day but you’re actually using what you learn in everyday conversation. In Spain very few Spaniards spoke English so I had no choice but to learn the language quick if I wanted to survive the summer” says Vitari. “I would urge anyone to go abroad, even if it is to an English speaking country, because not only do you learn a new culture but you also learn a lot about yourself. I never realized how independent I was until I was traveling throughout another country where no one understood me. You really become secure with yourself.”