Jamila Samuel - 2014 Program Participant

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla, Spain

Trip to Sevilla, visiting Plaza de Espana.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because I was very determined to learn another language, specifically Spanish. The best way to learn another language is living in a country that speaks that language. I also wanted to have an opportunity to experience and live in another culture different from mine. I was very interested in learning about other cultures due to my college dance team, which we perform dances from all over the world. In addition, I wanted to travel and have the opportunity to see other places in the world. I figured I would get that opportunity through college and applying to a program.

What made you select Spain as your study abroad destination? How about Granada specifically?

I chose to study abroad in Granada, Spain because I always wanted to travel in Europe because of the easiness of traveling to other European countries. Also, I wanted to practice speaking Spanish and the only Spanish-speaking country in Europe is Spain. I specifically picked Granada because it's a small city and I did not want to go to a very tourist populated area, like Barcelona, because I have heard, where there is a lot of tourism, there will be a lot of English spoken. I was really focused on only speaking Spanish while being abroad.

Camel Riding in Morocco

Riding camels on a beach in Morocco.

What was your living situation like in Granada?

I lived with a Spanish woman who was the chief of a music business. She was pretty young for a host mom compared to my friend’s host mothers. She had family that would visit her all the time, like her nephew. I also had an American roommate from my program and we had our own rooms. I liked living with a host family because you get to learn and try the traditional things of Spain that I wouldn’t get the chance to experience if I lived in dorms, such as trying paella and their traditional dessert. My host mom was very helpful and nice, for example, she helped with my Spanish homework and my corrections. She would also take us on little excursions, such as hiking in the next town.

Describe what a typical day was like as a student in Spain.

A normal day as student with IES Abroad from Monday to Thursday included class in the morning until 2 p.m. and then going home for lunch. If you had class after lunch, you would go back to the IES Abroad Center for class or to do homework. Usually at night, I would go out for tapas with friends for dinner. On the weekends, we would explore different parts of the city or go shopping during the day, and at night we would go to bars for tapas and drinks and go to a discoteca later at night.

Why did you enjoy studying and living in Granada most?

I thought Granada was the perfect city for me. Even though it’s a small city compared to the other major cities, like Barcelona and Madrid, there was always something to do in that city. Such as concerts, art exhibits, discotecas, and of course, tapas. In addition, living in Granada was pretty cheap compared to the other cities/countries I visited. It was very easy to travel around the city; I walked everywhere while I was there. The ambience of Granada was simply relaxing and enjoying life.

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

If I could study abroad again, I would go to Argentina because I would like to see the differences in Spanish between Latin America and Spain. I would like to get another experience in another culture that spoke Spanish, be able to explore another continent, and learn from other cultures.

Relaxing at Red Beach in Santorini, Greece

Our break over Semana Santa, relaxing at Red Beach in Santorini, Greece.

Why would you recommend IES Abroad’s Granada program to other aspiring study abroad students?

I would recommend my IES program to others because the staff/faculty were very helpful and nice. They try their best to help you with anything from making a doctor's appointment, to getting medicine and mail. Having the staff there was very nice support to have living in another country and they understand.