Student Journals: AIFS in Salamanca, Spain

Bryton Ashman
Dominican University
University of Salamanca, Spain

Bryton AshmanIn the past year I have made two of the best decisions of my life: the first being to study abroad and the second choosing to come back and do it all over again. So much has changed since I took my first layover flight to London and then eventually to my second home in Salamanca, Spain. Living in a place so different from what I have been accustomed to, with a language I barely knew, different types of food, different customs, different way of dress, etc., and for a long enough time to really acquaint myself and blend in as best as possible has been a once in a lifetime experience.

On my first day in Spain, sitting on the couch in my host family’s living room with my new roommate, Chris, stands as one of the most memorable days of my life. Hearing my host family rattle off what I think was Spanish was so overwhelming but also very exciting. Looking back on that day, little did I know that I would soon become part of their family. They have treated me as one of their own and have shared things about their personal lives and the lives of their children and now grandchild that I will never forget.

Along with having the opportunity to learn Spanish where it originated and to be able to study at the oldest and most prestigious university in Spain, the University of Salamanca, I have met some of the most amazing people from all different nationalities, seen some of the most beautiful sites and architecture and have expanded my cultural knowledge two-fold. The friends that I have met here in Spain, especially the Spaniards, have made not only my time here so much more amazing, but my life. Without them I wouldn’t have visited some of the lesser-known sites of the cities, ate at certain restaurants or tried certain foods that have now become some of my favorites.

Before studying abroad I would constantly search the Internet for reasons to study abroad. I had to prove to my parents why the experience would be appropriate for my education; there had to be some reason why all of my friends had come back different people and why even certain relatives and teachers who had studied abroad decades earlier still remember and cherish the days when they studied abroad. In my searches, I didn’t come across too much more than gaining cultural experience and improving language skills, but once I actually committed and now looking back at my almost 11 months here in Salamanca, it finally clicks. Rather than ruining your possible experience studying abroad, I will just challenge everyone, whether studying a foreign language or not, to really look into studying abroad (especially with AIFS Salamanca, one of the top 10 study abroad programs in the world!!). No other time in your life as a college student will it be this easy, or as rewarding, to spend 5-6 months in another country. It definitely has changed my life forever!