Meet Blaise - SYA Spain 2018
How did you come to the decision to attend SYA?
It was a very quick and easy decision for me. My family were a bit more hesitant to send me, but I was super excited about it, so eventually they came around. Once I realized that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would probably not come around again, I chose to go.
What did you learn in your year abroad that surprised you?
I learned how to be really independent which was not super surprising. I think what was most surprising about it was the extent to which my independence and self-confidence grew while I was abroad. I also learned how to make paella, a skill I am to this day thankful for.
Do you have a particularly special host family moment?
My host mom’s father passed away during the year, so I had to move into my friend’s house for a while. After a week, I was able to move back home. The first day back was one of the most special days I had with my family. Strangely, this tragic event made me feel like a true member of the family. Being with my host family during that time was very special to me and I am thankful for how close it made us.
At SYA, the curriculum lives in and outside the classroom, what memorable educational experience did you have outside the classroom?
All of the trips that environmental science class took were amazing. I loved going to the Pyrenees with Tomás [Arruebo, Environmental Science teacher] and my classmates and seeing the things we were learning in class come to life. Also, being a part of the theatre class meant that I was also required to act in the plays and perform for parents and fellow classmates. I have never really acted before, so that was an experience that was fresh to me. I grew a lot through that class as I did in all of my classes at SYA.
How was your education at SYA different than at your high school?
My education at SYA was a bit more laid back and low pressure than the schooling at my American high school. I felt more able to make mistakes and actually interact with my teachers and the material they were presenting to me.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering SYA?
Do it! Take this year of your life and make something absolutely beautiful with it. Never will you have the chance to make such deep friendships and connections with people and yourself. SYA is truly life-changing.
How did your year abroad change you?
I grew so much as a person and a member of my communities. Without SYA, I would not have been as confident to go into senior year and college like I have. SYA made me a more empathetic and worldly person. I am grateful for the development that I experienced in Spain, because without it, I would not be the person I am today.
How did SYA impact your college application process?
It made me more willing to apply to schools farther away from me. I am going to school in Louisiana which is leagues away from D.C. and I attribute this willingness to move so far away to my experience in Spain. Also, having SYA on my application definitely set me apart from other applicants and made me more confident in the application that I was presenting to schools.
What life skills do you feel like you learned while at SYA?
I learned how to be a more empathetic person and how to focus on things larger than myself and my personal experience.
To learn more about SYA Spain, check out the Spain Campus page.