Laura DeLuca - 2014 Program Participant

Celebrating  a birthday with host family while studying abroad in Spain

Laura celebrating her 21st birthday with her host mom and sister.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I wanted to apply my studies to a global context and learn outside the classroom. I hoped to gain experience traveling and become more culturally aware.

Why did you select IES Abroad over other organizations?

Being that I wanted to improve my Spanish, I chose IES Barcelona because it was the only program that offered classes in English and in my major, Psychology, while being in a Spanish speaking country. I was also happy it was in Europe, allowing me to travel easily to other countries.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while studying abroad?

Being able to adjust to “Spanish time” was difficult for me. I don't think I ever got used to eating dinner at 9 p.m., but it is definitely something I will never forget! It was also hard to manage work and fun. Although you constantly say to yourself, "I'm in Spain! Why not?", you have to remind yourself there's a time for work and there's a time for play.

Would you recommend your IES Abroad Barcelona program to others?

Absolutely. I feel IES did a great job providing support for students. They truly care about each student and want everyone to have a great experience. IES Abroad’s orientation programs allowed students to bond and make friends easily. They provided a very welcoming and safe environment.

Study abroad students in Spain with local friends

Making friends with RA, American friends, and locals.

What important tips can you give to future participants of the IES Barcelona program?

Go abroad alone. Put yourself in situations out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself. Try new foods, experience unique things, and constantly have an open mind! Try visiting local places and talking to locals every day. You will realize it is better than any tourist attraction. Finally, with all things in life, have no expectations!

Did you experience any kind of reverse culture shock upon re-entering the U.S.?

Not as much as I thought I would. You have to stop yourself from saying," When I was in Spain...", or "In Spain…” every second. You realize that as much as your loved ones want to hear about your experience, there are things you cannot explain to everyone because not everyone will understand. That's what makes being abroad amazing, you can't always describe it, it’s more of a feeling.