This last Thursday a guest speaker named Carmenmara Hernandez Bravo gave a short lecture about taking students to foreign countries to study abroad and learn the languages they want to study as well as other cultures.
The first trip she will be taking students to Salemanca, Spain in the spring of 2013. The organization is mainly for students to get a hands on learning opportunity. Bravo will take the first group on Feb. 8th and will return to the United States with them on April 12th.
She explained that it is not only a chance to learn about the culture but to meet new people in a foreign country by practicing the Spanish language. The school does not control the student’s live every minute of every day. The students must attend their schooling from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and after 2 p.m. on Fridays, Bravo said, “You have the weekend to yourselves.”
After the schooling on normal weekdays there will be cultural activities that the students must attend; after that the students can go and sight see, or even go to the night clubs.
When the students arrive in Spain, Bravo set up a program so that some of the families will provide room and food for the students studying. Bravo has been doing this for many years, and she has made friends with many people that work the night clubs and especially the families that are providing the housing.
Bravo first went over the basics such as school schedule and weather told them what the meals will be like. She needed to also know if anyone was a vegetarian because they needed to know in advance to make meal plans for the vegetarian students.
She stated that pork is a common base of many meals in Spain. She then moved onto the more important rules. Bravo said, “There is a zero-tolerance for drugs and I will immediately send you home if I find out you have or did drugs.”
She told the students that alcohol is allowed by not provided. She also had her own type of punishment if students choose to drink too much. If a student gets too drunk, she will post pictures on the internet to punish them because she said that she recommends not drinking any hard liquor.
She did tell everyone that if you choose to drink at the clubs that you never go home alone. It is very safe in Spain but Bravo recalled a student that left by herself and ended up breaking her leg after she left the club. She was alone in the street from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.
She said, “If you have been drinking and leave the club either leave in a group or take a cab.” She also mentioned to her students that water for some reason is more expensive than beer.
After she explained the money ordeal transferring it from dollars to euros; she then spoke about health. She said, “Spain does not require any immunizations, but I recommend tetanus shots.”
She also stated there will be there will also be a trip to Peru from Mar. 14th to 24th. She then told everyone how studying abroad can help students academically.
Students who study abroad who then come back and continue to take elective foreign language classes can get an additional AA degree in foreign language when they graduate from Saddleback. She also explained that the program she works with is worth units and is transferable to any college in the U.S.
So there are many reasons why it might be fun to study abroad including academic advantages and fun advantages such as meeting people in Spain or Peru and learning to speak the language first hand.