COLA: What is your role at UNH?
Linda: I am a Principal Lecturer in Spanish in LLC. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I have been active in encouraging our students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities here. I have been the Resident Director of the Granada, Spain program several times: Fall 2001, Fall 2008, Spring 2015 and now, Spring 2018. I also have worked with Lina Lee with out summer study abroad programs, first in Puebla, Mexico and now in San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica. Also, I served as the Resident Coordinator of the Costa Rica program in the summer of 2014.
Photo by: Jim Parsons 2016
COLA: Did you study abroad as a student? Did this impact your decision to be involved in the study abroad programs here at UNH?
Linda: I did study abroad in Mexico City, Mexico when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. The experience of living in another country, learning language, and viewing my own country from another perspective did have a profound effect on me. I do believe that my study abroad experience helped me decide to take an active role with our study abroad programs. I attend the study abroad fairs and throughout the years have helped to inform our students of the various study abroad options.
COLA: Describe your program and the types of students that may find it appealing.
Linda: I believe that any student who is studying Spanish, whether as a major or a minor, would benefit from this Granada program. I have observed some students who were rather shy, or who have never traveled abroad, adjust fairly quickly to life here in Granada. Much of the positive experience here is due to the Spanish host families who take the students in and treat them like their children. The families offer support and insight into Spanish family life and help them understand the culture and traditions.
COLA: What has been your favorite moment so far as an on site director?
Linda: I don’t really have a favorite moment during the semester, but each semester I spend with the students, the overall enjoyment of watching the UNH students adjust and grow as individuals, and as a group is very satisfying and reinforces my belief that a study abroad experience, wherever it may be, is a valuable, and often life changing, experience for the students. Also, I have seen students become more self reliant, independent and self confident as they realize that they are capable of living in another culture, traveling alone, or in small groups, within Spain, and to other countries. They observe life here in Spain alone, or in small groups, within Spain, and to other countries. They observe life here in Spain and compare and contrast it with life in the USA.
COLA: What makes your host destination a great city?
Linda: The Granada Program offers students the opportunity to live with a Spanish family while enjoying a very interesting city. Granada, although a fairly large city in area, has a downtown center which is full of restaurants, historical sites, theaters, cafes and a blend of several cultures. It is a mellow and friendly environment. Also, the public transportation system is easy to use and low cost allowing for travel throughout Spain. In addition, there are airports in Granada, and Malaga which offer affordable flights to other countries in Europe.
COLA: Any last words of advice or comments?
Linda: I always encourage students to take the risk.. and even if they have some reservations, or fears of leaving the “known” environment of UNH, they won’t regret the decision.
Thank you Professor Linda Thomsen!