Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 24, 2019

Semester Abroad in Oviedo, Spain

Semester Abroad in Oviedo, Spain

By Allysha Dunnigan

 SSU has solidified its long-standing relationship (since 1999) with Oviedo University with the signature of an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two institutions. This summer, as in past years, a cohort of eighteen SSU students will attend the Spanish Language Immersion Program during Summer Session I. Spanish majors, minors and other students who want to add Spanish to their careers form the 2019 Oviedo cohort.

Less well known is the semester-long program in Oviedo that some WLC majors have completed in the past. Many of them have shared their adventures with the campus community in past editions of Lingua Franca. It is important to emphasize that the program is not only for WLC majors. This past fall, Ally Dunnigan, a Communications major and Spanish minor, spent a whole semester in Oviedo. She went to Spain because she wanted to learn Spanish and fulfill her dream of travelling through Europe. Being a commuter, she also wanted to experience studying away from home.

Here is what she has to say about her experience.

Studying abroad was the greatest experience of my life thus far. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to embark on this magical adventure. Going into it, I was extremely nervous, as would anyone who decides to move to a foreign country with a different language for three months. At first, I was overwhelmed by the cultural change, the language that I was not fluent in, and living with a family that I had just met. After about a week and a half, however, I began to feel more comfortable and settled in. My five-foot tall host mom was the sweetest Spanish woman and she helped make my experience so much better. She cooked me three meals a day, did my laundry, made my bed while I was at school, and rubbed my back when I was sick. She spoke with me at lunch and dinner and helped me work on my Spanish. She brought me into her family and treated me as one of her own. Living with my host family helped when I got homesick because I had a family in Spain to care for me and talk to me and ask me how my day was, which meant a lot.

Allysha Dunnigan in Asturias, Spain

Allysha Dunnigan in Asturias, Spain

I learned so much from the locals and in return, I talked with them about my life and growing up in the U.S. Some of them became life-long friends that I keep in touch with through Facebook. Our favorite place to go in Oviedo was Calle Gascona. We were obsessed with the sidra (cider) and we became friendly with the workers at many of the restaurants and would have conversations with them when we went and say hi to them when we saw them around the city. It was awesome to walk around Oviedo and see so many people outside enjoying life.

Seeing all of the churches everywhere we went, including the beautiful cathedral, is one of the aspects of Oviedo that I miss the most, besides the sidra of course. Hiking to Mount Naranco and visiting the Picos de Europa mountain range were amazing experiences and had some of the most breath-taking views I had ever seen. I look at pictures from my trip almost every day and still get sad that I am not there. I appreciate all that Oviedo gave me and the comfort and welcoming feel that I had while living there. The little cafes that we visited between classes and the tapas that we would eat with our new group of friends are some of the little things that were also so much fun.

Spending a semester in Oviedo was the best time of my life and left me with incredible memories and lifelong friends. I keep in touch with my host family because they have made an impact on my life and I will never forget them. I am planning on returning to Oviedo within the next two years because I miss it so much already. Oviedo taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow more independent and confident in myself and my future. I learned a lot about the Spanish language and culture and brought those lessons home to Lynn with me. (I have olive oil and bread at dinner every night now, for instance.) I left a piece of my heart in Oviedo and I will always consider that city my second home.


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