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Semester Abroad

My third year of college started a little differently from the last two, probably because I’m in Spain instead of Portland. Since my freshmen year I knew I wanted to study abroad for a semester, and here I am now writing this from my host family’s apartment in Granada, Spain. By the end of my four months here, I will have completed most of the requirements for a double major in Spanish.

Trip to Ronda

A major part of the Granada program includes living with a host family. I have a host mom who provides all my meals for me. It takes about 30 minutes for me to walk to school, but I don’t mind the exercise with the amount of food my host mom likes to prepare. I live with another student named Angela who is from Seattle University.  She is a much better Spanish speaker than I am, so I am grateful to have her in the house to translate what I don’t understand. After being thrown into a new culture, I was happy to have her here to help with the adjustment.

My favorite part about Spain so far is the tapas. Whenever a person orders a drink at a café or bar, the tradition here is to give you free food with the drink. Amazing, right? The other day I ordered sangria, and a free hamburger and French fries were given to me to enjoy.

For the month of September, my class schedule only consists of an intense Spanish course for four hours a day. This serves to help us practice our speaking before we start our other courses in October. We all registered for classes we either need for our major or find interesting, and I am very excited for my economics class to begin.

The Granada program plans many weekend excursions for its students, and we had just had our first one to Ronda, Spain. It was about a two-hour bus ride, but definitely worth it to see so many incredible sights and preserved history. The pictures I took do not even nearly capture the beauty of the city. We learned all about bullfighting, and how it truly is part of the Spanish identity. For lunch, we ate at the same restaurant as Michelle Obama when she was here!

At the end of this month, I have a six-day vacation between the end of my intensive Spanish class until the start of my other courses such as Economics. Tomorrow I am meeting at a café with a friend so we can buy our tickets to Italy and Greece. A week is not nearly enough time to see both countries, but we sure are going to try. 


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Lia Samiee

Name: Lia Samiee

Class: Junior

Major: Global Business/Spanish

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Activities: Relay for Life Team Captain, Volunteering with the Moreau Center, University Tour Guide, School of Nursing Assistant

Favorite Professor: Dr. Holloway and Dr. Gudigantala     

Favorite Class: Management Information Systems

Favorite Commons Meal:  Pad Thai

Why I Chose UP: I liked that my class sizes would consist of around 23 students, because this way the professor would know my name on a more personal level. The students and staff were more than welcoming when I came for a tour, and if you have a chance to visit campus, I assure you'll feel the same way.

Favorite Thing About UP:  Definitely the resources available to students. We have a career center to help everyone develop professionally, a learning center that provides tutoring, and a service center for those who want to volunteer.

Advice for Prospective Students: I recommend trying to study abroad. It is very possible to do this and still graduate in four years. There are a variety of countries to choose from, all of which will give you a new perspective of yourself and the world.

Get in touch with me!