Bradley begins summer learning experience

Bradley begins summer learning experience

Katrina Bradley
With the departure date quickly approaching, I’ve spent my last few days in Bloomsburg running around preparing all necessary paperwork and last minute items. On Tuesday morning I’m leaving from Newark bright and early, and after a quick change of planes in Mexico City, I’m flying into Veracruz, Mexico.

Veracruz is located on the eastern coast of Mexico, around two hours from Xalapa, where the University is located. My boyfriend Alex, a secondary education history major, is also traveling with me in order to pursue a minor in Spanish. We’re both taking classes at La Escuela para extranjeros. He doesn’t speak Spanish, but I’m sure by the end he’ll be proof that immersion in a language is truly the best and quickest way to learn.

I chose La Universidad Veracruzana escuela para extranjeros, because I’ve already been to Mexico and fell in love with their culture and way of life. I also believe the school best meets my needs as a Spanish major: the class sizes are small, around five people, and the town has been described to me as very bohemian and artsy, rich in culture. I’m taking three courses: Spanish grammar, Latin American literature written by women and Spanish culture. I’m also taking two extracurricular activities with Alex: Mexican cooking and Mexican painting.

After arriving in Veracruz, we’re staying two nights to tour the city and to go to the beach! Veracruz is known for their aquarium, so that definitely is a must-see. On the 10th, we’re taking a bus into Xalapa. La escuela para extranjeros is having an orientation at the Museum of Anthropology in town on the 12th and classes start on the 14th, so we will have some time to explore the town and settle into the new apartment. We have decided, because of expenses, that it is cheaper to rent an apartment than to stay with a host family. However, for those who are looking into studying abroad, staying with a host family opens up more opportunities to becoming fully immersed in the language and culture.

I believe this experience will not only help me but my future students as well. I’m a secondary education Spanish major and will be certified in ESL. By using the information from this trip, among other things, I can create virtual field trips for my future students in order to use a more realistic approach to Spanish. Also, I will be able to better relate to the English language learners, as I too will have experienced some of the difficulties and cultural differences they encounter upon arrival in this country.

While researching study abroad programs, I was also presented with the opportunity to go to Spain; however, after living in Argentina for a year and visiting Mexico, I became more interested in the cultures and countries of Latin America. I personally feel Spain’s European mannerisms are not as inviting. However, I still would like to go one day to experience it myself.

Hasta pronto!

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