Natalie Meehan - 2011 Program Participant
A view of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Photo credit to Natalie Meehan
Why did you choose ISA over other study abroad programs?
I chose ISA over other study abroad programs because they really took care of everything for their students. The price was worth every penny because it included so much: travel activities, school scheduling, housing, and overall moral support. Everyone that worked at ISA and those who studied abroad in Granada became a family, and that in itself was why ISA was a great choice. I wanted to do as little work as possible so that I could go worry-free, have fun, and travel; ISA delivered exactly that.
You’re from San Diego State University, how would you advise other SDSU students going to spend their time in Granada?
Some advice I would give to SDSU students going to study abroad in Granada is to only use Facebook to upload your pictures (don’t forget to upload your pictures on Facebook every day!). The reason for this is because if someone steals your laptop or camera, you will at least have all of your pictures on Facebook. However, I regret spending too much time on Facebook looking at what my friends were doing in the US instead of getting outside and having fun. Also, who cares if you’re missing the newest episodes of your favorite show. Set up your DVR at home - when you get back you will have fun catching up. The bottom line is to spend as much time outside, wandering, and meeting new people as possible. Facebook, Twitter, TV, etc. can all wait.
There are a lot of places you can study abroad in Spain - why Granada?
Granada was the best place to study abroad because it’s a "college town," so there are so many people your age that you can make friends with. Granada also has the most ideal location because it’s only a 30 minute drive to the beach or to the Sierra Nevada Mountains for snowboarding - you could potentially surf and snowboard in the same day. It’s one of the last few cities in Spain that gives truly free tapas. All other cities charge you for the bread or any snack that they put on the table, but in Granada it’s always free. Not only was it free, but sometimes you would get a feast! I rarely ever paid for food because my friends and I scoped out the best places to feast. FYI tapas are given to you when you order a drink (alcohol or soda).
What was your favorite class and what made it special?
My favorite class was my Spanish History class because the teacher was very passionate and enjoyed talking about the history of Spain. It was great to learn about the history and then later go see what my professor was talking about the next weekend. For example he spoke about the history of the Alhambra (Moorish castle in Granada) and the next day I went to go see it. It made it more magical knowing the history behind it.
What impression has studying abroad in Granada left on you?
Studying abroad has impacted my life in multiple ways. I feel like I look back at my experience as if it's an ex-romance. It was such an amazing time, but sometimes it's hard to look back because it breaks my heart that I'm no longer there. I'm still friends with a lot of the people I met, so it makes the heartbreak a little easier. But I left a little piece of my heart in Granada and it can never be replaced.
My favorite author Ernest Hemingway once said, “If you were to visit only a city in Spain, this should be Granada.”