Students Travel to Spain as Part of Summer Study Abroad
August 24, 2009
Fourteen Emmanuel students traveled to Oviedo, Spain this past June as part of a new summer study abroad program. The students spent one month studying at the University of Oviedo, experiencing Spanish language and culture, and seeing firsthand the beauty of the landscape of Spain's northern region, the Asturias.
As a part of their studies, the Emmanuel students took the course "Spain: A Cultural Approach," taught by Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages José Ignacio Alvarez Fernandez, who traveled with the students, as well as a Spanish language class with faculty from the University of Oviedo. Alvarez Fernandez accompanied students during the cultural trips organized by the University of Oviedo, served as liaison between students and their host families and assisted the group members in their interactions with locals. He also organized a tour in the city of Gijon and arranged the farewell dinner for the students.
Among the aspects that the students enjoyed most while in Spain were the academic program at University of Oviedo, the home stay, the safety, cleanliness and friendliness of the people of Asturias, the architectural elegance of the city of Oviedo, and the fact that the culture of Asturias was so interesting and different from the image they previously had.
"I hoped students would get a true first-hand experience of the culture of Spain and that they would be exposed to a perspective that goes beyond cultural stereotypes," said Alvarez Fernandez. "The setting was perfect for this purpose since we were in Northern Spain and students had a chance to see, for example, how deep the Celtic roots are in this region of the country, something most students had not realized due to the prevalence of the images from Southern Spain as representative of the whole country."