Amy Littlefield - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I decided to apply for an international program not only to improve my language skills, but also to gain irreplaceable experience that cannot be achieved in my own culture or environment.
Why did you choose Escuela La Playa?
I chose La Playa Escuela de Español primarily for the location of the school and the family-like environment that you instantly become a part of. The classes and teachers were excellent, super patient, and understanding, which also helped me feel extremely comfortable whilst learning.
What did you like most about Malaga, Spain?
The school is perfected located: right by the beach. It was only 20 minutes from the centre of Malaga, giving me the best of both worlds. I had the option to spend time in the relaxing, seaside town of La Cala del Moral, or get involved in the hustle and bustle of Malaga.
How did Escuela La Playa make your study abroad experience unique?
The location of the school was very unique, but also I feel that the overall experience of being a student at this excellent school was unique. I became part of the family and was able to ask for any sort of help or assistance I needed. The classes were very different to my university classes, giving me a different approach to learning. This experience is something you cannot have in your own country.
How did the staff at Escuela La Playa support you?
Whenever I needed assistance or even some help with my language, everybody was at hand to help me out. I couldn't have felt more comfortable or welcome.
Was it difficult to communicate with locals?
It wasn't very difficult to communicate with locals. At the start, I did have problems understanding the accent as it is quite strong. But once I adapted and felt more confident with my language, people were very kind and understood that I was learning. People were patient with me and did help in English when possible.
Would you change anything about your study abroad experience?
The only thing that I wish I could change is that I could have stayed longer. It was very sad to leave, but I know the experience is something I will never forget.
How was your average day in Malaga?
Classes started at 10 a.m. and, depending on the type of course you did, it would end either at noon or 2 p.m. After classes, you have some free time to relax and explore the local area. Then, in the evening, there are activities available to enjoy with fellow students and friends at the school.
What was your favorite thing to do outside the classroom?
I love to travel and explore, so my favourite activity was to take trips to other towns and cities in the local area. All of this was available with the school- or I could just as easily ask for some guidance from the lovely staff to help me plan a trip away from the school.
What sort of accommodation did you have in Malaga? What did you like best about it?
I stayed in an apartment. I shared this with other students from all over the world. There are plenty of options very close to the school; not only apartments, but also with local families or in hotels. The most important thing about the accommodation is that you feel comfortable and have to opportunity to explore the culture for yourself.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Malaga?
My personal packing tips: during the summer, it gets very hot but as soon as it turns October, you should definitely have warmer clothes like jackets and coats. It does get colder even if the sun is shining; don't be fooled.
What surprised you most about Malaga?
What surprised me the most was that it wasn't as full of British people as I thought it would be. It's also a popular holiday destination with Spaniards, therefore maintaining the beautiful Spanish culture.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in Spain?
One thing I wish I had known is that your year abroad experience is exactly what you make of it. When I first arrived in Spain, I was scared and nervous, but I soon realised that this is a new experience that only I can control. In the end, I had some of the best five months of my life.
Why would you recommend living abroad?
Living abroad is something I would recommend everyone to do once in their lifetime. The skills and experiences that you get from this is something you cannot replicate in any other way. The people who you meet along the way are usually like-minded travellers who are looking for the experience that you are, so you are never alone. I feel a lot more independent after spending time abroad. Also, I can't be home anymore for too long without getting the an itch from the travelling bug.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
My plan is to visit Latin America and continue learning Spanish, while learning about the differences and similarities between Spain and Latin America.