Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
¡Hola! My name is Nikki Mayville and I am from Concord, New Hampshire. As a Spanish major, a year in Madrid, Spain was a dream come true for me. Not only did it give me time to become comfortable with the language, but it also gave me a glimpse of Spanish culture that only a home stay experience can provide. The yearlong program consisted in a two-week stay in the village of Segovia, four group excursions to different regions of the country, and a semester-long internship.
Although I was nervous that my level of Spanish would be insufficient to live with a host family, as we grew close they became my best resource as I adapted to the language and culture. Misunderstandings were common, but accepted. Thinking in Spanish became part of my everyday life, enough that - three months later - I still can't keep Spanish words and phrases from popping into my head.
Over the course of the year, I was lucky to see an incredible amount of Spain through both independent travel and SLU excursions. It amazed me how much the landscapes and cultures can vary in such a small country. From regional languages to amazing architectural feats, each autonomous community had something interesting to offer. These group trips helped solidify what we learned in our prerequisite Spanish Culture class by letting us experience it first hand.
My favorite part of the program was the internship opportunity students take part in during their second semester. I was matched with Grupo Santillana, a major publishing house that produces English workbooks used in classrooms all over Spain. My time at Santillana not only gave me valuable editing and transcribing skills, but also the satisfaction of helping with a project from start to finish.
I'm glad I was able to take part in this international program and I look forward to sharing my experiences!