Thursday, February 10, 2011

Señoras and siestas in Spain

y Meg Beerling
Cardinal Staff

Among the variety of choices to study abroad at Saint Mary's University, Spain is one that a few SMU students enjoyed last semester.

Junior Heidi Loeffler studied in Spain last semester. She first found out about the option when she heard other students talking in her Spanish class, which led her to the study abroad office.

The program is based through the Center for Cross Cultural Studies (CCCS), which runs two programs in Spain and one in Argentina, said Loeffler. Loeffler and fellow SMU junior, Valerie Ross both studied in Sevilla, Spain.

Students may choose to live with a host family or to stay in the dorms, said Loeffler. Loeffler decided to stay with a 68-year-old woman that she refers to as her señora.

Loeffler has six years of Spanish speaking skills, however, the language barrier still proved to be an issue at first, she said. Loeffler said the strong accent and the way that the locals pronounce certain words made it difficult to adapt at first.

The classes were another initial obstacle and they were different than classes in the U.S., but they were a great experience and taught a lot of important things about the Spanish culture, said Loeffler.

Loeffler decided to withdraw from SMU for the semester to go on the trip. Her grades from Spain do not directly transfer over because of that; however, the credits are added towards her Spanish major, which she finished while she was in Spain. Loeffler was also able to complete some general education requirements.

Many cultural experiences are different, but one that takes place in Spain is siesta,” said Loeffler. While not everyone participates, “siesta” is a time in the middle of the day where stores close and people come home from work and school to just relax, she said.

“It was the best experience of my life,” said Loeffler of the trip in general. “Immerse yourself into the culture, you’ll get more out of it.”

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