Posted by: claire.mangine | March 22, 2013

Post Seven- Interview with Brian

We meet again. Happy Friday. Have I been doing this blog for a while now or is it just me? As I’ve been mentioning, we’ve been on a Spain kick for our second week now. Brian, another Bonnie, will help me finish this theme out strong!

hi brian!!

I’ve been excited to feature Brian on my blog because he’s one of the only people I know that studied abroad TWICE. How lucky! I’ve asked him questions on both experiences. Read below to find out what he had to say!

First study abroad experience: Spain
When: Mid May – June 30th 2011
Traveled with: SBU 6 week Spanish study abroad program with Alva Cellini
Rating of Program : 10/10
University/School: Colegio de Espana, Salamanca, Spain

Claire: How many people came from your home university and how many were in your program total? Were they all America

Brian: I went with 13 St. Bonaventure students and two professors…Alva Cellini and Fr. Allen Weber. Everyone in the group was American.

C: What was your living arrangement? Were you in a dorm or with a family? What was the family like, if you lived with one?

B: Living arrangements were very fun. I roomed with another St. Bonaventure student in an apartment that was designed for international students to come and stay. Our house mother was very inviting, fun, and willing to help. We had house mates from all over the world stay with us.

C: How would you rate the program that brought you to this city, and the University that you attended while you were there, out of 10? Like was the application process easy, were the professors and staff there helpful, did they speak English, were there interesting classes and field trips…

B: I would rate the program a 10/10 and the school an 11/10. We were given the opportunity to travel all over the country and see many important sites, churches, landmarks, and castles. After we settled in Salamanca, Spain we went to school for a month and the teachers and staff there were some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Every single one of them were very friendly and always tried to make you happy. They didn’t speak English but understood enough of it. They were also very good at explaining themselves in Spanish so you could understand what they were saying. They felt it was necessary to not only study Spanish but to get out and see the city and see Spain so they offered field trips around the city and even day trips to surrounding cities.

brian in spain!C: When did you decide that you just HAD to go back for a full semester? What did your parents/friends say!?

B: I came back home July 1st still on a high from being in Spain for six weeks. Once the new semester began at Bonas I felt like…I have to get back there. In October I made it official that I wanted to do the following spring semester in Salamanca, Spain. My parents were hesitant because I had never traveled by myself before and I wouldn’t be with a group like I was with Bonas. I had never been away by myself for more than a few weeks so going away for 5 months kind of scared them a bit. Half of my friends didn’t(don’t) understand why I wanted/want to go back but the other half was very supportive.

                             The second time I went abroad
Where: Salamanca, Spain Jan 28th – June 30th 2012
Program: Baruch College in NYC
Rating of Program: 10/10
University/School: Colegio de Espana

C: How was this experience different than your first one?

B: The time I spent there for 5 months was completely different from the 6 week program the summer before. Because we were in a group we usually just stuck together and were hesitant to meet other international people. Also, speaking Spanish was another big difference. Before, since we were in a group we always spoke English. We were never put in any real position to have to speak the language like if you were by yourself and you needed to buy something or ask for directions for example. We did it sometimes…but it was never really too necessary. Because it was during the semester I was forced to break out of any comfort zone I had ever known. I was forced to do things I had never done before, meet people, eat different foods, and basically fend for myself. I loved doing the semester more than the 6 week program because after 5 months you felt like a local. I had the opportunity to meet people from literally all over the world. I met people from Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, France, Poland, Holland, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Japan, Germany, Scotland, Morocco, Denmark, Russia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Portugal…just to name a few. There was nothing negative about either trip. The 6 week program was always go, go, go, and understandably so. Our professors wanted to show us all they could in a short amount of time whereas…being there for 5 months you given the opportunity to take it a little easier.

brian with friends

C: What advice would you give to prospective study abroad students?

B: Advice I would give to anybody interested in studying abroad…DO IT. It’s such an amazing and unique experience. Also, don’t be shy or afraid to go out and meet people and get involved with what’s going on. I regret sometimes not trying harder to meet more international people. It’s such a fun experience and one that you will talk about for the rest of your lives…and you will talk about it with the friends that you meet from all around the world. Don’t let one doubt stop you from doing it because you will regret it.

C: Do you think it’s important to travel while you’re young? Why?

B: Absolutely. I never thought even for a second that I would ever leave New York State for any extended period of time…never thought I would ever need to know Spanish. The reality of it is that you do need to get out and see and do what you can while you’re young. Any part of the world that you’re interested in seeing and visiting…do it. Once you graduate and have to get a real job your opportunities to travel for any extended period of time will be few and far between. Anywhere you go there will be people your age doing the same things you are doing who are there for the same reasons you are…to learn, have fun, and meet people from all over the world. Like I said before, never let the fear of the unknown be a reason you choose not to study abroad…welcome new and different experiences and travel as much as you can while you’re young. You’re going to regret it later in life if you don’t.

Brian, thank you SO much for your help with this blog. Your answers were so great to read.
Have a good weekend, everyone!

Xo/ crm

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