Well I received some great news yesterday that I won a $5,000 Gilman scholarship. This is in addition to the Boren scholarship, Cigna NFBPA and the Spelman study abroad scholarship. It’s looking like tuition may be paid in full for next year!
I strongly recommend everyone study abroad. There is money out there and you just have to find it and apply. I also think that people should go somewhere adventurous (outside of Western Europe). Two of the scholarships I won preferred students who were not going there. That’s not to stay if you’ve dreamed of studying in London or Paris that you shouldn’t go but, if money is your concern you might want to look at another location and travel there on a break. The Boren scholarship (up to $20,000) does not allow for the money to be used for programs in Western Europe or for Spanish based programs (unless you’re a stem major).
If your like me and maybe your school doesn’t offer a specific language or maybe they do offer it but it isn’t a good program, consider summer and evening study. There are places like Japan Society of America, the French Alliance, Language Institutes and even some colleges that offer evening personal enhancement classes for no credit. I originally was going to go to the University of Mn this summer for a 12 credit Japanese class, but I found a way cheaper program in Japan. I’ll be headed to Japan 5 weeks early to start an intensive class. The UofMn’s credits wouldn’t have counted anyways since I already took 101 and 102 but the 160 contact hours seemed great at the time. But with the Japan program costing about $2,000 including housing compared to the U of Mn’s $5,500 with no housing, the choice wasn’t too hard to make!
We travelled to Córdoba today. It was very packed due to the fact that it is the first day of the fair! Unfortunately we only stayed a 8 hours. I was able to see the synagogue, the mosque (Córdoba was the capital during the Muslim reign in Spain) and the beautiful patios. I definitely recommend a visit to this beautiful city.
Thought this was pretty funny! Check out the video!
So today I will talk about a few of my low points in Malaga, Spain. Now generally I don’t complain but I believe people love to talk about the positives and not the negatives in regards to study abroad. My list is of course based on my own personal experience in Malaga this far and doesn’t mean that I’m not having fun. After all, I did come here to improve my Spanish.
I don’t prefer the Spanish way of dining. For breakfast we get bread and marmalade, a gigantic lunch and maybe puréed soup or croquettes for dinner. I love the big lunches but those two pieces of toast followed by 3 hours of class don’t cut it. I have however, been surviving on chocolate and churros from Casa Aronda. Delicious!
The night life here is definitely not for me. Rock and pop are a big part of this culture and there isn’t too much diversity (music) on the club scene thus far. I love to dance to many different types of music but those two I simply cannot move to. I do love the laid back bar scene and free chupitos (shots).
The amount of tourist and people that speak English is pretty large. Generally, people tend to speak to me in Spanish but if I appear to even slightly struggle they switch to English. Plus I meet English tourist daily throughout the city. Luckily for me my host mom speaks only Spanish so I can practice with her in between commercials and during lunch.
The staring can definitely get old. Not a lot of Black people here so I understand their curiosity. It’s still awkward and uncomfortable. Not only do the Spanish people stare but the random Asian tour groups do too! My only recent travel was to the Dominican Republic and people looked like me so no problems. I suppose this is preparing for me a year abroad in Japan where I will be an ink spot on a piece of paper 😉.
That’s about it. I’m sure my experience will be different in each city I visit as I have yet to see all Spain has to offer! Madrid, Barcelona and Granada are all on the list. I leave you with a few pics
from my trip so far.
So today we were touring the lovely city of Rhonda in Spain. It is located in the mountains about an hour away from Malaga. It is also home to the the first bull fighting ring! Being a large group of Black people, we often attract attention in Spain (there aren’t many of us here). We were looking at a beautiful view when suddenly we were approached by a group of Chinese tourist. They were taking pictures of us! We went ahead and agreed to take pictures with maybe 15 Chinese people and even as we were trying to leave they had lines of people grabbing us to take pictures.
It was definitely the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Here we are in Spain with a beautiful view of a historic city, yet we are the main attraction. It was strange but in an attempt to understand what happened, I’m going to assume they’ve never saw Black people before. I suppose this is preparing me for my travels around Asia in the upcoming months. Well I’ve attached a picture of the view they were supposed to be looking at 😉