Nathalie Ohman, FSU Nutrition major and Spanish minor, is the winner of a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for study abroad during her spring 2012 semester in Valencia, Spain. She writes from Spain:
“I am fully immersed at this point and loving every bit of it. Right now I am studying and living in Valencia, Spain and it is absolutely wonderful! I arrived last Monday and my classes began on Thursday. I'm taking 5 classes at the moment, Upper Intermediate/Advanced Grammar, Upper Intermediate Conversation, Spanish Phonetics (I'll be coming back with the (th th th th) accent haha), General Translation, and History of Spain. All these classes are in Spanish which was a little intimidating at first but after a few days I began to get used to it all. I'm also living with a family which, I think, is more beneficial because when I'm not at class or exploring the city, I'm at the house constantly speaking to the family and improving my Spanish. Now, after finishing Intermediate II, I thought I'd be able to speak without a problem, this is not the case because there are words I've learned in the US that are not used here so it is like I'm learning a whole knew language especially with the pronunciation on some words. Right now, a week more or less into it, I've improved my Spanish immensely because I caught on to how the people are saying what they are saying and what tenses they use the most, etc.
One big plus about studying abroad and in a city, like Valencia, is that there are so many things to do and the city itself is not a modern city, like New York or Boston, it has very old buildings, Basilicas, Cathedrals, Towers, Bull fighting ring, and TONS of shops. It really is hard not to fall in love with the place and live here forever. This past weekend the school took us on a tour of the Roman town Sagunto, which was incredible because it dates back to the Bronze Age and, although in ruins, we were still able to see what the castle was like, the houses, the theatre (which they re-made and is BEAUTIFUL!-- pics attached) but all in all, being fully immersed in another country is certainly something I recommend to everyone, especially those learning another language, because living and walking down the street, you pick up certain terms or phrases that you will begin to say when you speak the language. I certainly don't miss Boston one bit, and a main contributor to that (other than everything I've already said), is the WEATHER... 65 +/- and sunshine everyday so far and it's only January!!!!!”