Anna Pendleton - 2014 Program Participant

Study abroad students in Barcelona

Anna’s best friend from school, her IES roommate, and her best friend from home all met up with her in Barcelona for the weekend. Girls weekend redefined!

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad primarily to become fluent in Spanish. Mission accomplished! I also wanted to experience life outside of the United States and see the cultural differences between countries.

What was a normal day like as a student in Madrid?

Every morning I woke up with strong European coffee and breakfast with my host mom, host sister, and IES Abroad roommate. Then we took the metro to our classes, always beginning with Spanish grammar at the IES Madrid Center. I then walked to class at la Universidad Complutense where I took classes with native Spaniards and some other international students like me. Lunch would be with my Spanish or IES Abroad friends, and at night I’d eat dinner with my host family and roommate.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered while studying abroad?

It was difficult to transition from living in a dorm with my best friends in the U.S., to being in an apartment far from any friends except my roommate. I had a lot of alone time, which—although lonely at first—forced me to get to know myself and be active in my loving of my study abroad experience.

Overlooking Lisbon, Portugal

There were many 48-hour-long vacations throughout Europe during Anna’s time abroad. This one took place in Lisbon with other IES ladies.

If you had the chance, would you like to visit Madrid again?

I spent the majority of my weekends during my study abroad traveling—I traveled to 15 cities in the four months I was abroad! So, I’d love to revisit Madrid to experience some of the places I missed since I was so busy traveling to other cities. I hardly ever experienced the Madrid weekend nightlife, and I’d love to visit the museums and other cultural centers I didn’t get to see.

Would you recommend the IES Abroad Madrid program to aspiring study abroad students?

IES Abroad was a very all-encompassing program. IES gave me the perfect mix of independence and community that allowed me to fully explore Spain, but still have a home program center to go back to. All of the staff were helpful with trite things such as books for class, and more serious things like scheduling my doctor’s appointment when I broke my ankle within the first month! I love that IES is a large organization with a lot of variety in travel locations and programs, but the actual local program center, like the Madrid staff, is very small and intimate. They remembered everyone’s names and treated us like family!

Valencia, Spain

Anna’s best friend from home happened to study abroad the same semester as her. They had so much fun meeting up in cities all across Europe! Here, in Valencia, Spain. 

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

I will definitely be traveling or studying abroad again. I think I can speak for everyone who has had a successful study abroad experience and say that after the one time abroad, you want to travel for the rest of your life! I hope to travel all over South America to further improve my Spanish, especially with the different dialects that exist between Spain and the Americas.