Friday, October 7, 2011

Aindrea Early's Study Abroad in Madrid

Aindrea Early, International Business and Spanish major, shares her year abroad in Madrid, Spain. At the end of her story, please enjoy her picture show!

IES Class Trip to Segovia, Spain

My year in Madrid was filled with many adventures.  I attended the university at the IES Abroad center while my classes were taught by Spanish professors.  It was a different experience having the Spanish style of teaching which is no homework or tests, just final exams.  While abroad I had the opportunity to travel to many different cities and countries.  While at Jewell the previous semester I had decided to enroll in French classes along with my Spanish classes.  I did not realize how much I would use my French skills.  I don’t know what I would have done when I was stuck in Paris for the night or in Luxembourg where they did not end up speaking much English like we assumed they would.  Also in Madrid I had an internship with a European think-tank called FRIDE which stands for Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior.  I worked in the project planning department reconciling bills with budgets and grant money.  It was very interesting to work in the Spanish working world because it is a much slower pace than the United States.  They would work from 8-6 and take about one and a half to two hours for lunch.  One of the great things about FRIDE is that it has a very international staff.  My boss was from Colombia and there were researchers from England, Africa, The Netherlands, France and more.  There were always many languages being spoken in the office and many different cultures coming together.  In Madrid there are many different places to visit and wonderful art museums.  There are three very famous ones the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen.  The Reina Sofia has the famous painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso.  The Prado is known for all of its Goya and Velazquez paintings.  One of the classes that I took while abroad was Art History and twice a week we would meet at the Prado and walk through looking and learning about different paintings.  It was one of the most amazing experiences to have a Art History class in front of the original paintings not just looking at them in the book.  Since I am majoring in international business and Spanish I also took classes in international finance, the European Union and Spanish Monetary Policy.  I feel like spending a year abroad was one of the best choices I could have ever made.  I left with far fewer regrets and things that I wish I would have had time to do than my friends who were abroad for a semester.  I know that not only my Spanish improved but also me as a person.  When I was leaving in May the IES Abroad Madrid Staff commented on how much I had grown in my confidence and it seemed like I was in my element there in Madrid.  I can’t wait to go back and visit the friends that I made there someday.
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