Professor Monica Malamud joined a group of 50 students and two professors from around Northern California on a three-month study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain last semester.
Malamud said students considered it a life-changing experience.“That was the phrase that kept popping up in their journals,” she said. “They wrote about how much they had grown, how they were able to see things through a different perspective, how they were going to change how they did things back in the US based on what they learned about different ways of doing things in Spain.”
Students were asked to write a weekly journal reflecting on different aspects of their study abroad experience as part of the Spanish Life and Culture class that was required of each student. The course included history, Spanish art, customs, politics, gastronomy, film, etc. Students could also choose to take Spanish, Psychology, or Art as part of their 12 units.The learning, Malamud said, extended well beyond the classroom.
“There were many cultural activities organized by the AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study, the organization that handled logistics for the trip),” she said. “We went on daytrips to nearby cities including Girona, Figueres, Sitges, and Montserrat. We went to an FC Barcelona soccer match, we took a cooking class, we visited the Sagrada Familia Church, and so much more.”Joining Malamud were her teenage sons, Nico and Kevin, who participated in many cultural activities with the study abroad students. Kevin also enrolled in high school and learned Catalan, since instruction was in that language in most classes.
Malamud’s students also took advantage of low-cost airlines to visit other areas of Europe. “We had students fly to Lisbon, Paris, the Netherlands, England, Italy, Prague, and other areas. AIFS also organized an optional Thanksgiving in Interlaken, Switzerland that 37 students attended.”Malamud, who studied abroad in the US as a foreign student in high school and college, said she knew what an amazing opportunity it would be for Cañada students. “I’m so happy that I had a chance to participate in such a wonderful program, and I hope to do it again.”