Quincy Snowdon - 2012 & 2013 Program Participant
Protesters in Salamanca's Plaza Mayor. Photo by Quincy Snowdon
Why did you choose ISA over other study abroad programs?
Quite honestly, I didn't have much of a choice in regards to choosing ISA. My university (DU) partners with ISA in many cities around the world (including Salamanca), and by having them as an affiliated study abroad "partner program" students are awarded various perks that they would not get if they were to select another program - the big one being that while abroad students pay the same tuition price as if they were still on-campus in Denver. Having said that, I feel I may have ended up choosing to study through ISA regardless, as they are so accommodating, organized and kind in helping you with anything you need while abroad, travel preparations, and dealing with credit transfers, transcripts etc. Big shout out to the ISA team of: Carmen, Rodrigo, Bea and Sofia for being incredibly awesome, making everything super easy and everyone's time in Salamanca such a blast.
You’re from the University of Denver, what advice would you give to other DU students going to study abroad in Salamanca?
Well it really saddens me to say, but I recently discovered that DU no longer has partners with ISA Salamanca and no longer has Salamanca as a partner program. I have no idea why, but I've spoken to numerous students who studied in Salamanca after me and said DU did nothing for them in terms of finding housing, a program or much of anything.
Having said that, there is still plenty I would say to a DU student hoping to study in the city of calaveras y ranas. In line with just about every study abroad experience, the biggest piece of advice is always to try your darnedest to hang out with locals and immerse yourself in the culture - Salamanca being no exception. It's a huge University town with thousands of Erasmus kids there year round. It really is a shame if you end up spending all of your time with Americans, as there are so many interesting people from all over the world willing to share their cultures, languages and experiences with you. So my biggest piece of advice would be to go out often, be as social as possible and don't be afraid to approach new people. There are so many foreigners there that are in the same same boat as you, wanting to make new friends - talk to them!
My second biggest piece of advice for living in Salamanca would be to NOT live with a host family. Many people have great experiences with them, but I think there is so much more to be said in terms of personal growth, independence and learning the nitty gritty of Castellano by living in a residencia or piso. Again, it's such a "college" town so living in a dorm or resi can be an absolute blast. Just about everyone I know who stayed in one loved it and I never failed to have a ton of fun when hanging out there. And once again, there are so many Erasmus kids looking to live in flats with other foreigners. This makes it so easy to find cheap places to live with other kids your age from all over Europe (there are facebook groups galore to help you with this as well). Living in a melting pot like that, hearing different languages everyday but still improving your Spanish (often times it's the only common language), is a pretty fantastic experience.
Why was Salamanca the best place to study abroad in Spain?
I think Sala is the best place to study in Spain for a host of reasons. Other than the two I've already harped on (filled with Erasmus kids and a huge college town with lots of young people) it's extremely cheap, which is always a plus, it's absolutely gorgeous (as long as you appreciated yellow stone) and perhaps most importantly - their castellano is perfect. Salamanca is regarded as being home to one of the most pure Spanish accents in the world, which I found to be a huge help in better understanding the language - especially in the classroom.
What was your favorite class and why?
I took so many great classes while studying in Sala for 10 months, but I think my favorite was a teaching methodology course on teaching Spanish as a second language with Juan Felipe Garcia Santos. Everything about it was great - it was in the breathtaking Palacio de Anaya, the subject matter was extremely useful, engaging and interesting (to me), and the professor, Juan Felipe, was the absolute man. Basically, he was able to disseminate difficult grammar concepts in ways that American schools and professors simply don't care or bother to use, and I was absolutely blown away by how effective it was. Really, really terrific class.
How has study abroad impacted your life?
Ha! That's such a( )broad question - sorry I'm a sucker for puns. But seriously, that's kind of like asking how college in general has changed you as a person. A question to which my answer would be rather simple: a whole lot. Studying in another country for 10 months really fundamentally changed how I see so many things, and at the end of the day really comes to the simple description of indescribable. I now have friends all over the world I still keep in touch with, I became MUCH better at a language I genuinely love and appreciate, and above all I learned that a sense of home is what you make it to be, not a pin on a map. And oh yeah, I learned to like ham a lot more, too.
Hope that is somewhat useful and you can discern something from my ranting. Basically, I loved every minute I spent in Salamanca and wouldn't trade being there for any amount of money, fame or ham.