Study Abroad program heads to Spain this summer

Spanish Instructor Carmenmara Hernandez Bravo talks about life in Spain to students interested in joining Saddleback College’s Study Abroad Program this summer to Santander Spain. (Joseph Espiritu)

Tim White

On July 3, 2009, approximately 25 Saddleback College students will depart for Santander, Spain. The trip will be lead by Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo, a Chilean native who has directed Saddleback’s Study Abroad program for over 20 years.

“More than anything, [the trip] is about learning the culture,” said Hernandez-Bravo. “I pick blue collar families for hosts to help pull the students out of the Orange County bubble.”

Santander is a small port city on the north coast of Spain, boasting a rich history that dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. It is known for its gorgeous beaches, active nightlife, and myriad of fine dining opportunities.

Meals as well as three excursions, such as a night out in Madrid, are included in the cost of the trip. Students will also have the opportunity, for an extra fee, to travel to Pamplona to witness the running of the bulls.

“It really forces you to learn Spanish,” said Laurra Siller, 21, Spanish. “A friend of mine went to Costa Rica for two weeks and came back fluent.”

Students who make the trip can earn up to nine transferable credits in Spanish. Three return dates are available, allowing for up to 10 additional days of travel. Students will be responsible for any expenses incurred after Aug. 3, which is the official end of the program.

“[The students] learn how to live,” Hernandez-Bravo said. “They form bonds with each other that last for life.”

The registration deadline for this trip has already passed. However, information on additional study abroad programs can be found at