A Gap Semester of New Experiences: in Salamanca, and Beyond

What will you accomplish on your gap year?  Aspire alum, Ella M., created a year filled with a number of different experiences.  Below, she writes about her time with us in Spain:

In August, I was off to Salamanca, Spain.  The four months that I spent there were absolutely wonderful, full of adventures and real life learning.  I was part of the Early Start program, where a group of about 20 students went before the school year started to take a month of intensive Spanish.  I took four hours of class, five days a week.  I had two hours of grammar, one hour of conversational Spanish, and one final hour of Spanish Culture.

Aspire by API - Salamanca - Ella 1

About two weeks into my stay in Salamanca, I started volunteering at a local English language institute.  I was present in the classroom as a native speaker.  I assisted the teacher who taught the class grammar and test taking skills.  My job was to help with conversational and listening skills, and to lead activities so that the class would get experience listening to a native English speaker.

Fridays I had free, meaning I had three-day weekends, every week.  This allowed me to travel without missing class or work. Being in Europe meant that other countries were a cheap flight away or a few hours on a bus, allowing me to travel easily and inexpensively.  A few of the favorite places I went were Morocco, Denmark, and France.  In each place, I experienced double culture shock: first, in contrast to my own culture from the States, and secondly, in relation to the Spanish culture in which I was currently living.  During my gap year, I knew I wanted to live in a Spanish-speaking country and travel to a country in Africa, and I managed to do both in one semester.

Aspire by API - Gap year - Salamanca - Ella 2

Making tortillas!

This post was written by Ella M., who took part in a gap semester program last fall in Salamanca, Spain.

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