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Amanda Radko on UMD-Summer: Spain

"I navigated two new cities/towns and a whole new culture, while taking two classes and living with strangers."

Program: UMD-Summer: Spain: Culture, Language, and Literature in Salamanca and Barcelona (SPAN)
Term: Summerterm 2022
Major: Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education
Minor: Spanish

Studying abroad taught me how independent I can be. 

I navigated two new cities/towns and a whole new culture, while taking two classes and living with strangers. I learned how to adapt quickly to new environments and how to appreciate other's culture, while still staying true to my own. I met so many people: my host families, friends I made from Spain, professors from Spain, and other study abroad students. My network expanded internationally.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: 

I was very nervous about studying abroad as a woman, as I rarely feel safe walking alone at night in the U.S. However, in Spain I felt safer on the streets of Salamanca than I ever have in College Park. My advice to other girls considering studying abroad is to research the country you are going to and to be open to the possibility that you may feel and be safer there than you do in the U.S.

My roommate and I went to the beach a lot during our time in Barcelona. 

One day we were hanging out in the water and these boys playing catch near us accidentally threw their ball all the way over to my roommate. We decided to join their game and ended up talking a lot and hanging out more over the next few days before we returned to the U.S. We learned a lot about their cultures and the mechanics of their spoken English.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad:  

I never thought that I would study abroad, but I learned about my program and decided to apply anyways. It felt unreal when I was accepted. I remember screaming "I got in! I got in!" I am so glad I have had this incredible experience, so if any part of you thinks studying abroad could be even a little bit of a good idea, apply, and if you can, go!

I did not anticipate being so upset over the treatment of certain populations in Spain. 

I always thought of Europe as so idyllic, but when I arrived in Spain there was barely any accessibility for persons with physical disabilities. Dress codes were often racist in what they deemed appropriate hair styles. Overall, Spain was simply not the ideal world I thought it would be. I adjusted to this challenge by using it as an opportunity to be grateful for rules and regulations back home. I was resilient and stayed for my whole program, having fun and making the most of it, even though I knew that living in Spain was not something I ever truly wanted to do again.

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