Living Lake Country (May 27, 2010) — Oconomowoc High School graduate Amanda Milford is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will be graduating next spring with degrees in zoology and Spanish, and an European Studies Certificate. Last spring, she spent a semester in Seville where she lived with a family and took several classes in Spanish. In the following Q&A, she answers a few questions about her experience.
Why did you decide to study abroad?
It seems ridiculous, but I made my decision to travel based on a picture I saw of a beautiful villa on the Honors Program’s website. It corresponded exactly to my romantic idea of Europe. But I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend and family because I was afraid of the stress of being gone that long. My mom and I argued about it, and she convinced me that if I wanted to major in Spanish I had to go abroad to a Spanish-speaking country. I’m so glad I did. It was really important.
How did you decide on where to go? Why?
I considered traveling to Poland or Ireland to explore my heritage and roots, but decided against it because I wanted to go somewhere sunny and warm. I had a friend who had gone to Sevilla (Seville) and her description of the maze of streets and the romantic European charm won me over. I’m quite a romantic. I hate to admit that I based my choice on pre-conceived stereotypes and romantic ideals, but I did.
What did you do there?
I went as part of the CIEE program (Council on International Educational Exchange) and took classes with 15-20 other students at their center in Sevilla. All of the classes that I took were completely in Spanish. I tried to take classes that would enhance my knowledge about Spanish culture and the region I was in. One of the classes I took “Arte y Fiesta” covered the cultural traditions of the region I was in like the Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the Feria (Fair). The schoolwork was light enough to allow me time to pursue other activities while I was there. When you go abroad, you learn a lot outside of the classroom.