During the spring 2001 semester, two Mansfield students participated in the Pennsylvania Valladolid Study in Spain Program administered by Indiana University of Pennsylvania. They spent a period of twenty-one weeks immersed in Spanish culture and language at the University of Valladolid.
Here is what our students shared with us about their experiences and impressions of Spain and the program.
"The people of Spain are all quite wonderful. They were proud and excited about the fact that we were there to learn their language and culture and were more than willing to help in any way they could. We made so many friends that way—deep friendships that we would not have been able to find anywhere else.
Traveling was another one of the great benefits. Our professors actually encouraged us to travel around and see as many places as we could (even if it meant missing a few classes!). They felt that it was just as important for us to learn outside the classroom by seeing the places we were learning about. Not just in Spain but all throughout Europe. So we had the opportunity to visit Germany, Holland, Portugal, and many cities in the north and south of Spain. It was amazing to go to certain places and experience for yourself what you learned about in your culture class or see in person a building from your art history class. It made things so much more real, so much more special."
"Our professors were what made class fun. They were kind and open and willing to help us learn at any cost. We took courses in Art, History, Grammar, Culture, and Literature. Every professor had us call them by their first name, and we even went out together outside of class. This made the learning experience seem more personal; it helped create lasting friendships with our teachers as well.
As part of the program, we took excursions to important places near Valladolid, including castles and wine cellars and antique cities and churches. It is really amazing to see things you have only seen pictures of your entire life. To stand in front of a castle, or a beautiful church from the 1100's is breathtaking. There are no words to describe how it makes you feel.
During our 5-month stay, we also had the opportunity to experience the culture of Spain. We went to Flamenco concerts and saw a bullfight as well. It was wonderful to be immersed in the culture and lifestyle completely different from our own. The language difference, although difficult at first, became more and more like our normal way of life. The differences between Spain and the United States are partially what made studying overseas so special."
For more information about the program, click here.