Scholarship Recipients Highlight
Spring 2020 Eufemia Sanchez de la Calle Scholarship Recipient
What motivated you to apply for the Eufemia Sanchez de la Calle Scholarship?
I was motivated to apply for the Eufemia Sanchez de la Calle scholarship because I was concerned about the financial aspect of studying abroad in Spain, such as the cost of the plane tickets, housing, and excursions. This particular scholarship is given to students who are taking courses in Spanish while abroad and are dedicated to learning the language. My main goal in studying abroad in Spain was to improve my Spanish proficiency, so I thought that the scholarship could help me achieve that dream.
How did this scholarship affect your study abroad experience overall?
I am really grateful to have received this scholarship, as it helped alleviate the stress of everyday living expenses in Europe. It served as a to mitigate the difference between the cost of living in Europe versus Milwaukee, which had been one of my biggest concerns about studying abroad.
COVID hit the U.S. during your time abroad. How did you personally navigate this difficult time abroad?
When COVID-19 hit during my time abroad, I had to face a big decision to leave behind my experience early or to stay and face unknown repercussions. I was living with a host family in Seville, and at that point I had already become well integrated into their family. Because I felt safe with them and had a strong desire to live out my experience abroad, I ultimately decided to stay. Although it was scary to not know when the US would allow me back into the country, I am very happy with the decision I made, as I learned a lot from the once in a lifetime ordeal.
How did you make the most of your experience overall?
I made the most of my experience by making an effort to become integrated in the culture of Seville and the Loyola-Andalucía campus community. My primary goal was to better my Spanish and to become immersed in a new culture. By the time the pandemic hit, although I was upset to be confined to the same household for two months, I used it as an opportunity to fully experience family life in Spain. Because my Loyola Andalucía peers were living the same experience as me, I often Skyped them to talk or play games. While the pandemic cancelled all of my travel plans, I gained an experience of more value, which was fostering strong relationships with the locals and finding a home away from home.
What lessons have you learned from your host country, and your study abroad experience?
What was unique about my study abroad experience was that I was able to gain first-hand experience with how a foreign country handles a global crisis. I learned a lot about the solidarity of a more collectivistic culture in the face of the pandemic. When the country ordered the Spanish citizens to stay strictly within the confines of their own home, I witnessed the creative ways that Spaniards attempted to keep in touch the morale high. For example, the residents of Seville would go out to their balconies every night at 8:00 without fail to listen to applaud the essential workers, converse with their neighbors, and listen to music. As a citizen of a generally individualistic culture, I learned the value of nationwide solidarity in the midst of hardship.