Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | November 20, 2009

My Oviedo Study Abroad Experience – Summer 2009

By Fay Ventouris, Spanish major, class of 2011

My experience abroad during the summer of 2009 was without a doubt a memorable time in life.  My choice to travel to Oviedo began in the fall of 2008 but carried through to the summer, by which point I could hardly wait!

From the moment I stepped off my plane in Madrid, I knew I was in for an adventure! I traveled Madrid for four incredible days without missing an opportunity to immerse myself in the culture. I sparked conversations with anyone willing to speak, saw a professional flamenco show at a night club, visited world famous museums such as the El Prado and the Thyssen, and got shivers up and down my spine as I stood in front of paintings I had only seen in books. After my short lived Madrid experience, a seven hour bus ride took me up to Oviedo, which is on the northern most part of Spain!

In Oviedo the people were warm, welcoming and very accepting! I will never forget an older woman who lived close by our dormitories who upon finding out that we were so far from home quickly jumped to invite my friend and me over to her house for dinner as if we were her grandchildren! The food was rich in the Asturian flavors and we never missed a chance to taste some homemade sangria!

On weekdays we would have class in the early hours and then scatter in the warm weather taking busses and trains to the nearby beaches of Gijón.  With good company, ice cream on hand, and nonstop laughter we spent the days there until the sun set well after ten at night! On the weekends some traveled on their own but the school’s planed excursions were more than we could have imagined! Busses picked us up and toured us around the region to places that took our breaths away as we climbed up the mountain sides and descended to small villages adjacent beautiful beaches. And afterwards, back in Oviedo, we would spend the rest of the weekends walking the stone streets, taking in the smells of Asturian cousine, and enjoying the night life Oviedo had to offer, which lasted till about the time the sun began to rise!

The experience was both educationally enriching and thrilling all at once. Traveling and studying abroad was one of the best investments I ever made to myself and I recommend it to all! It goes beyond credits and the classroom experience; it broadens our horizons, allows for us to open our eyes to different people, and different cultures.  But more than anything it leaves us melancholic, missing the moments, but warm-hearted full of joy for the fond memories we will never forget.

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