Heather Berg - 2015 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

I wanted to go abroad because my grandparents did a lot of traveling while I was growing up. I wanted to start traveling at a young age. When I realized that I could travel while studying and getting class credit for it, I started to save money and do my research.

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Why did you pick CEA?

I chose to study with CEA at their Granada location because a professor of mine had studied in Granada as an undergraduate and suggested it as a city I would enjoy. I loved Granada because it was a medium-sized city that would allow me to interact with locals, while also being able to access anything in the city via public transportation or on foot. Another reason I chose CEA Granada specifically was because they offered internships. The credits I received from the internship I completed abroad allowed me to complete a Spanish major instead of a minor.

How did you like living in Granada?

I loved the city. It wasn't huge and overwhelming, but it wasn't small either. There was always something to see and do, and just going for a walk presented an opportunity for adventure.

What made CEA’s program offer different from others’?

My program offered internships as well as volunteering. I completed my internship with a social services agency that paired me with an elderly woman, while my volunteer work was completed at a pre-school. Having these two opportunities allowed me to get to know every aspect of the Spanish culture, from the perspective of a very young person, to students my age, and also the view of an elderly woman.

Park Federico García Lorca in Granada, Spain

Park Federico García Lorca

How did local CEA staff support you throughout your program?

The local staff at CEA Granada had a huge impact on my time abroad. They planned a lot of fun weekend trips and excursions with incredible guided tours. They'd take students to the doctor and help translate if they weren't feeling well. One of the local staff members even helped tutor me in Spanish grammar to help my grades.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I would have tried to meet more locals my age and used my Spanish with them. I had two intercambio partners that I'd meet with every few weeks, but my Spanish would've gotten a lot better if I would've been speaking to more people. I also really wish I would have gone on a trip by myself.

How was your time in Granada structured?

I took four classes during my semester abroad, and we only had class Monday through Thursday. I had two classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was nice because it gave us more time to travel on weekends if we wanted to. I started class every day at 8:30 a.m., and the Center for Modern Languages was a 20-minute walk from my homestay. I'd go to class in the morning, then go home for lunch, take a siesta, and then go for a walk or to the library to study. Two days a week I'd volunteer and two evenings per week I'd complete my internship hours.

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

On weekends we weren't traveling, my roommate and I would go to the bus station and see what tickets were cheap and take a day trip, or we'd catch a bus to a local beach town (Granada is only about an hour from the beach). Otherwise, we'd go hiking around the Alhambra or in the Sierra Nevadas. At least one night a week, a small group of friends and I would go out for tapas and drinks. I enjoyed window shopping in Granada, and just walking around the city was an adventure.

Granada, Spain at night

A beautiful night in Granada

How was your accommodation in Granada? What did you most enjoy about it?

I lived with a host family during my semester abroad. They lived on one of the main streets in Granada, and my room overlooked that street. They lived close to a park that I went to several times per week, and it was one of the largest parks in Granada. One of the best things about my homestay situation was the food; my host mother was an older woman, so she knew how to cook a lot of great Spanish dishes.

What is the most important thing future students embarking on a study abroad adventure should know?

Go into a semester abroad with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Everything will fall into place from there.

What did you take away from your experience with CEA?

I think about Granada every day. I've considered a career in international education so other students can have opportunities like the adventure I went on. Overall, it's been a really great thing to have on a resume. Since the global economy and market is growing, multicultural and intercultural competency is a “must” in the job market.

Would you recommend CEA’s Granada program to others? Why?

I would definitely recommend any of the CEA programs to others that want to study abroad, not only because I had a fantastic experience, but because I've heard nothing but good things about CEA programs around the globe from other students.