My name is Michael Bates and I am a Political Science Major and a recruiter for the College of Arts and Sciences. I am also applying to law school this year and involved in several areas of Texas Tech. This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain through the TTU Center. The experience was phenomenal, filled with stories I will always reminisce upon and cultural areas I will never forget.
I left for a five week study abroad trip from my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona filled with a strange mix of anxiety and excitement. I was leaving by myself to a foreign country with a different language and culture. What could go wrong?! Luckily, not a whole lot. Texas Tech has a fantastic support system in Seville with staff that cares about your experience and wants you to enjoy the language, people, and nation. I immediately felt at home with Mama Teresa (my host mom), fellow students at Texas Tech, and the accommodations we received. While I may have been lost a couple times, had a tough time with the language, and experienced different difficulties, it was all a part of growing in another culture and learning to travel.
I took Spanish 2607 while in Seville and was nervous about the difficulty of learning the language. Spanish was never my strong suit, but I was willing to learn and try my best. Thankfully, I was able to practice in a comfortable environment with my host family for meals, with tutors in class and spending time with them out with them in the city, and practicing with my new found friends and fellow students. This made me enjoy learning Spanish during the class because I got to use it on the buses, with my host family, at the stores, among many situations. While the class was difficult, I enjoyed the learning environment to practice and use Spanish outside of class.
Some of my favorite memories came from spending time with our new Spaniard friends and on the school-sponsored trips. During our time we visited the cities of Cordoba, Grenada, Madrid, Lagos, Toledo, among others. We saw many museums, cathedrals, landmarks, and art. It was beautiful to walk around the city and enjoy the different areas of Spain. I also witnessed history when I watched Spain in the European Cup. I even played soccer myself with some of the tutors, among other Spaniards.
I am thankful for my trip to Seville because I was able to immerse myself in a nation for five weeks and develop knowledge of the world many other students do not experience. I came back with stories, connections, memories, and familiarity with a foreign language, all of which will last me a lifetime. I would definitely encourage you as a student to check out the Study Abroad (http://www.studyabroad.ttu.edu/) and see what trip might fit you best; it is a priceless experience.