Erik Dove is a junior at Oregon State University, pursuing a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Spanish. He is an International Ambassadors for the office of International Degree and Education Abroad. Erik studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, through API.
I have many fond memories of the summer I spent studying in Spain: relaxing on the beaches of San Sebastian; enjoying tapas in La Plaza Mayor in Salamanca; hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains in the north of the country; my time in Spain was entirely unforgettable. However, I came back to the states with more than pictures, souvenirs, and memories; my experiences abroad contributed to an overall change in my academic and personal goals and gave me the opportunity to experience a culture much different than my own.
I chose to study abroad because I wanted to increase my Spanish language proficiency. Living with a host family not only gave me this opportunity, but also exposed me to various aspects of Spanish culture. I experienced the value placed on socializing through observing my host family’s nightly outings to enjoy food and drinks with their friends. I was exposed to differences like the size of meals (small breakfast, large lunch, late-night medium sized dinner) and enjoyed the food-induced lethargy of the afternoon siesta. These experiences accustomed me to the cultural differences between the United States and Spain, and I came to appreciate the distinct aspects of Spanish life.
Throughout my experiences in Spain, I couldn’t help but think about how culture-specific aspects of life function in cross-cultural communication. Since my goal is to become a physician, I was intrigued as to how aspects of different cultures come into play in doctor-patient interactions. My experiences abroad inspired me to incorporate elements of culture, language and communication to my existing goal of becoming a physician. When I returned to Oregon State, I applied to the International Degree program to add an international dimension to my studies of Biology and pre-medicine.
As a whole, studying abroad was an invaluable and life-changing experience that enhanced my academic goals and inspired me to pursue international education as a secondary academic focus. I developed an appreciation for differences in cultures and an interest in how these differences affect interactions between people of different backgrounds. My study abroad experience in Spain has become a foundation for my academic and career goals, and has given me the drive to develop cultural knowledge and language proficiency to internationalize my education.
Hey Erik, We have been checking out your blog and we must say that we are very impressed. It’s really great.
We have particularly been following your posts about Salamanca as we visited there too. We have even written a guide, which you can check out here: http://hitchhikershandbook.com/country-guides/spain-2/salamanca/ We would love your feedback and any tips, information, advice that you might have would be warmly appreciated.
Keep up the good work!
Ania & Jon
A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you should publish more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss such topics. To the next! All the best!!