COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself (age, major, where you studied abroad)
Hello everyone! My name is Emily Jenkins and I studied abroad my Sophomore year in Granada, Spain. I am an english teaching major with a minor in Spanish. I lived with a Spanish speaking family (host-stay).
COLA: Why did you choose Granada?
I choose the UNH Granada Program because I wanted to expand my knowledge of the Spanish language and I wanted to become fully immersed in the Andalusian Spanish culture. I wanted to study abroad through a UNH Managed Program because I needed my classes to transfer back to UNH, and I liked the security of having a UNH faculty member in the city I was living in. Lina Lee was the UNH faculty member in Granada, I felt much safer knowing she was there.
COLA: What were your expectations of Granada before arriving?
I had traveled outside of the country before studying abroad. I visited Puerto Rico in 4th grade with my mom and I had been on a family vacation to Aruba prior to traveling abroad. I think having prior traveling experiences (In 8th grade I went on a class trip to Alaska for 8 days too) was beneficial for me. I felt more at ease traveling on my own when I traveled to Granada, because I had been outside of the country before and knew what to expect from traveling. When I was abroad I traveled to and from Spain, and I explored different cities on my own too.
My expectations of studying abroad in general was that this experience would be once in a lifetime oppertunity and that I just simply “had to do it.” I think I expected Granada, Spain to be completely different than anything I had ever experienced.
COLA: What is the most valuable lesson you learned abroad?
The most valuable lesson I learned from abroad would have to be to never judge someone or a group of people based on their appearance, religion, ethnicity, social status etc. It is true that people will surprise you and I believe if you are a kind person, people will recognize that about you and in return they will show empathy and kindness back to you no matter what your beliefs, appearance and religion are.
COLA: What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?
My experience has taught me to be more independent in every aspect of my life, and to appreciate the “good times” when they happen. I think after studying abroad I make more of a conscious effort to see my friends, spend time with my family and to use my free time to actually do things I enjoy not just get ahead on school work. Also, I think I have become a more open-minded person after studying abroad and I have come to appreciate my life growing up in New England and cherishing my relationships with my family and friends.
COLA: Did you travel outside your host city? If so where was the favorite place you went and why?
Yes! I traveled outside of my host city. I went to 6 other countries which were Ireland, Morocco, England, Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium. I think my favorite trip overall was when I went to Ireland because it was just so beautiful there. I really loved Dublin and visiting Galway and the Cliffs of Moher which were also beautiful. It was the first country I visited outside of Spain and I went there after living in Granada for a month. Hearing English for the first time was so refreshing! Dublin was probably my favorite city I visited besides Granada.
COLA: Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes?
I was in the “lower-level” track at The Universidad de Granada Centro de Lenguas Modernas where I took 5 classes all taught in Spanish. I remember in my History of Art in Spain class we went on a walking-tour of Granada and my professor pointed out important monuments and cool places to visit and eat. However, I think my favorite class was my speaking and writing skills class because our professor was so relaxed her name was Lola and I just remember laughing in that class every time someone would speak in English she would say “japonese” or “patio”…which meant sit out on the patio for 5 minutes or speak Japanese because she would pretend she couldn’t understand us speaking English.
COLA: Why do you recommend studying abroad in Granada? What are some of the benefits of studying there?
I would highly recommend the UNH Granada Program because it was an experience like no other study abroad program has. As an American college-student, being able to live and become fully immersed in the Spanish culture, is an experience I think everyone should have. I think some of the benefits the UNH Granada Program has to offer is: it’s affordable and one of the cheapest study abroad options, it provides 20 credits transferable back to UNH, and the program lasts from January to the end of May giving students the options to travel over Europe, and the classes in my opinion were not as difficult as UNH courses.
COLA: What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study in Granada?
I would recommend bringing half of the clothes you are planning on packing. Pack your suitcase and then open it up take ½ of the clothes out and then repack. I am not kidding I bought an entire new wardrobe abroad, in Spain in January there are huge “rebajas” or sales and I think I went shopping every day for 2 weeks straight. Another tip: I would recommend buying an International phone plan or using a SIM card for Europe. I used a local Spanish phone and it was difficult to communicate around Granada just using the flip-phone and not my iPhone which I pretty much used as a camera and iPod the entire semester. Lastly, I would recommend living with a host family. I loved living with my host family and to this day I am in contact with my host mom and her family and I message them on Facebook or Whatsapp and it helps me stay grounded.