Study Away: Spain - Olivia Smith

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Aquinas Study Away student, Olivia Smith, is spending the first semester of her junior year in Spain. She is taking four classes at the University of Salamanca—grammar, conversation, Spanish culture and Spanish business—with other international students. Olivia is living with a host family during her time in Spain in order to completely immerse herself in the language and culture of the country. She also has the opportunity to travel to Portugal, Ávila, and El Escorial through the University of Salamanca, and has her weekends free to travel around the country and explore Salamanca.

Though Olivia knew she was going to study abroad in Spain since high school, Aquinas was an incredible aid in achieving her dream. The Advantage Center at Aquinas gave her a variety of resources from finding scholarships to pamphlets on culture shock to advice on how to travel in Europe. Olivia’s Spanish classes have also helped her with the transition to living in a Spanish speaking country. Specifically her Spanish pronunciation class and translation class helped with building her language skills, and her Spanish composition class gave her a great background on Spanish culture and history. Above all, Olivia is grateful to have such a strong supportive community at AQ that was willing to go above and beyond to make her trip the best it could be.

Olivia is a Spanish Translation/Interpretation, International Studies, and Economics triple major, and this semester in Spain could not be a more fitting step for her future goals. Not only will her language skills inevitably improve while in Spain, but her cultural awareness will be constantly expanded as she meets students from all over the world and lives in a place completely different than what she’s used to. She is super excited about her business class especially, because not only is she learning vocabulary that is useful for her field in economics, but she is learning about business through a Spanish lens and hearing commentary on concepts by students from countries on every continent. Eventually, Olivia hopes to work in the field of developmental economics in Central and South America, and there is no doubt that the opportunity Aquinas gave her to get her foot into the international world will make a life-changing impact on her future.