When I began my semester in August of 2012, I already had the study abroad bug in my ear. Earlier in the summer went back to Piura, Peru, for the third time. (Just to fill in—I help out with the eye mission clinic and OR as a pre- and post-op tech and circulator when I can. For more information: http://www.santisimo.org/us-principal.htm). By that point, I knew that I had to understand Spanish. I had already made the first move—switching up my class schedule to include two Spanish classes in addition to two biology and a macroecon class. One of the resident ophthalmologists on the mission with us happened to study abroad through ISA in her undergraduate years. Somehow during the trip, it was brought up and she raved about her experience during the Spring in Seville, Spain.

So I started there—I looked up ISA and checked out their programs in Spain. After talking with my parents, I also checked out programs in Latin America. However, I really wanted to go to Europe and was pretty much set on Spain.

When I researched the programs available, this changed my mind a little bit. I decided that the best program for me was the semester long intensive Spanish language program. Many countries offered this program, but I was very limited. You see, I planned to graduate in May 2013 (which, so far, still stands!). In 2012, before I ultimately delayed my graduation, I had not planned to walk graduation and didn’t see the significance in the action.

Being denied last year to medical school and having to do a fifth year “victory lap” in undergrad I finally got how significant walking was. I worked hard the past five years, and am planning to milk that for all its worth!

Ultimately, the only two programs that were intensive Spanish language for a semester and would get me back in time to walk graduation were in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Granada, Spain. Originally I was turned off by the idea of Granada. I thought, I’ve never heard of this city and I don’t want to spend my last semester of college in another country in a small town without any social activities or amenities.

But the strong accent of Argentinians scared me—how would I get rid of this if I learned Spanish there?

With a little research, including finding and reading every line of “La Granada” Tumblr mentioned in my last post, DARK AGES DAYS: INTRO 2., it was obvious how narrow-minded I had been and how much fun I was going to have in la Granada, which means pomegranate in Spanish

Having decided on a city and program, I applied, was accepted, and began filling out paperwork and making deposits on my student portal. This part was very easy. For those of you curious, the portal is extremely easy to navigate and the ISA stateside staff, located in Austin, Texas, is EXTREMELY helpful. A special thanks to Tiffany who put up with my insistent and probably never-ending stream of emails full of questions. I can’t even imagine how grateful you are that I am off to Spain to bother the ISA staff there.

So that’s it.

I choose Granada, Spain because:

1) I wanted to go to Spain
2) I wanted to study Spanish intensively
3) The dates for the Granada/intensive Spanish language program worked

Really, choosing a program is completely unique to the individual. Although I hope this blog will convince you that there really is no where else you should go but the little pomegranate city.

Stay tuned for the next post stuffed full of information on the pre-study abroad end.


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