Lucy Santora - 2013 Program Participant

Lucy’s summer abroad in San Sebastian truly changed her outlook on the world, and instilled in her a new passion for learning the Spanish language.

Lucy wondering why they have a book vending machine in a movie theater?
Lucy wondering why they have a book vending machine in a movie theater?

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to put my knowledge of the Spanish language into real world practice and also be immersed in the Spanish culture.

What made you choose San Sebastian in particular?

I chose San Sebastian for the location because it is a walking town rich with Basque country culture. It had a “Parte Vieja” with cultural boutiques and quaint restaurants, access to multiple beaches and mountain trails, as well as museums and public cultural shows.

Out of all the high school programs out there, what made you select SPI Abroad?

I chose SPI Abroad because students at my school who had taken trips through them before and raved about their experiences.

What was your homestay like?

Our homestay was in the perfect location. The beach was literally across the street and it was only a ten minute walk from school and only five minutes to La Parte Vieja. Our family had two daughters, one was 16 and the other 12. They were both very kind and loved singing along to American music!

What challenges did you face studying abroad?

The first night I was horrified that I had made a huge mistake in coming to Spain. I was second guessing my language skills and embarrassed that I couldn’t communicate better. I remember lying awake the first night thinking “what have I done?” However, the very next day everything started falling into place. No one minded that I was slow to speak and had to really think about my responses. Everyone was very patient, from the waiters at restaurants to the clerks at the tiendas. Each day I became more comfortable with the language and more confident in my abilities. After about three days, daily conversation flowed naturally.

What advice can you give to other high school students considering studying abroad?

My advice to any student looking to study abroad in high school is GO FOR IT! Don’t sell yourself short and think that your language skills aren’t good enough or that you won’t be able to handle being in a foreign country. It is the most liberating and confidence boosting experience you could ever have!