‘Islanders in Spain’ Study Abroad Program Offers Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Published: October 06, 2015

‘Islanders in Spain’ Study Abroad Program Offers Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Study Abroad Program offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students to receive course credit while being immersed in a new culture. The 36 students, seven faculty members and one advisor who participated in Summer Session II in Valladolid, Spain, recently returned from their journey and are sharing their experiences.

“The trip not only changed the outlook on the rest of my college experience, but also on the rest of my life,” said Tiare Hopkins, a sophomore nursing major.

“Islanders in Spain: Core Curriculum Abroad” allowed students to take courses in communication, English, history, music, sociology, and Spanish.

“One of the best aspects of the program was watching students, who were semi-timid on arrival, boldly exploring major cities, and reporting in very enthusiastic voices of their great finds,” said Thomas Murphy, Professional Assistant Professor of English.

All academic courses were taught by A&M University-Corpus Christi faculty on the campus of Universidad de Valladolid. The study abroad program also offered academic excursions, such as visiting museums and observing local settings.

 “Spain became our laboratory where students and faculty could observe and apply sociological concepts,” said Dr. Pamela Meyer, Professor of Sociology. “Students ate Spanish food, danced in the park, listened to music, shopped in local markets, met other students and enjoyed the café culture.”

During the five-week program, students lived with Spanish host families.

“There were a lot of challenges to living and learning in a foreign country, whether it was the time change, the language barrier, or the lack of Wi-Fi and Internet connection,” said Elizabeth Carter, a junior exercise science major. “But instead of dwelling on what I didn’t have, I found myself focusing on the little pleasures in life that a lot of us take for granted.”

The estimated program fee is just under $4,000 and includes airfare, home stay plus three meals day, academic excursions, ground transportation, insurance, and classroom and Internet privileges at Universidad de Valladolid. Study abroad scholarships are available for those who qualify.

“The Islanders in Spain program offered 61 percent of students a study abroad scholarship, and gave 66 percent of student participants the first-time opportunity to study, travel, or live abroad,” said Dr. Mary Beth Davis, Director of Academic Programs Abroad. “Study abroad can be an option for all students from all backgrounds.”

It’s safe to say that each person who went to Spain this past summer considered the trip transformative and educational.

“People always told me that studying abroad was a life changing experience but I did not really know what they meant until I got back from the trip,” said Hopkins. “The trip makes me want to continue to work hard throughout my college career so that one day I can get a great job and continue to see the world.”

To learn more about study abroad programs offered by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, email study.abroad@tamucc.edu; or call 361.825.2789.