Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hoo's Abroad? Niki in Valencia!

Hoo's Abroad?

Niki in Valencia!

Niki Shumaker (CLAS '17) in Sevilla, Spain, in the royal alcazar.

Today we're going to find out more about study abroad in one of UVA's flagship global programs, UVA in Valencia. According to the Hispanic Studies in Valencia, Spain website, this program has "been created through the University of Virginia, which is responsible for the quality of the courses offered. All grades, transcripts, and credits earned in the UVA Hispanic Studies in Spain Program are accredited and forwarded by the University of Virginia to any other American institution of higher learning."

Niki Shumaker, a current second year in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Foreign Affairs with a minor in Business Spanish, just returned from the summer program in Valencia. This upcoming fall she will be interning with the Office of International Studies as a Study Abroad intern, helping other students take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities UVA offers!

What made you choose this place?
I chose Valencia because it offers courses for my Business Spanish minor, but in addition to that I have been studying Spanish since kindergarten, yet felt that I was missing out on truly understanding the culture. I think that one of the most important things in my life, especially as a Foreign Affairs student, is not only reading about other cultures, but to truly appreciate and experience them. I think this is the only way to truly understand cultures different from my own. Since I had always planned on minoring in Spanish, it was very important to me to take the opportunities available to do just that and really understand the roots and daily routines of Spanish life.

What classes are you taking?
I took Business Spanish (3040), Translation (4040), Business Practices of the Spanish Speaking World (4050), and Spanish Economy (4713). 
What was the biggest learning experience you have had?
The biggest learning experience I had while in Spain was how to accept that studying abroad is not being a tourist; it is much more rewarding than that. However, that means learning that your life will be filled with new patterns and eccentricities, and that you should not only learn to live with these, but to celebrate having them. It means having new favorite foods because you won’t have your favorite foods from home. It means having a new favorite place to run because you won’t have your favorite path in your neighborhood. It means replacing your cup of coffee with a shot of espresso with varying amounts of milk, and replacing your car with a bus or the metro. Instead of resisting these changes, the most important thing is to adapt, thrive, appreciate, and enjoy them.

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