Meet braeden - SYA spain SEMESTER 2021


Extracurriculars Abroad: Cooking class with La Zarola, boxing with Karate Kan, and Los Bancos de Alimentos
Favorite SYA Class: Experiential Spanish with Antonio!

Favorite Food in Spain: Croissants, pastries, churros con chocolate!
How did you come to the decision to attend SYA? 
I came to the decision to attend SYA mainly from the recommendation of my Spanish teacher within my school in IL! She attended abroad programs when she was trying to learn Spanish, so she explained me all of the benefits and pros to going across the world in exploration of an adventure. In no instance what she told me incorrect! I loved every moment of it just like she told me I would!

What did you learn in your semester abroad that surprised you? 
What surprised me in my semester abroad is the rich culture of Spain. Going into this program, I had no idea what was to await. However, the observations of my surroundings were exciting and yielded me to learn more about the history of what a great country Spain is! I learned this through my host family, the Spanish teachers that I had the honor of getting to know, and native speakers!

Do you have a particularly special host family moment? 
My particular host family moment is when I celebrated my birthday in Spain! While I did not expect much for my birthday since I was away from home, my host family made sure to make it special throughout its entirety. We celebrated in their pueblo with a couple of friends from SYA! As a blew out the candles from my homemade cake that my host mom made me, my only wish was for that particular moment to never end.

At SYA, the curriculum lives in and outside the classroom, what memorable educational experience did you have outside the classroom? 
One memorable educational experience was when my class and I went to a cafe in the first week of school during the school day in order to practice our confidence. While I not only got over the hump of encountering native Spanish speakers in conversation, I had lots of fun with my other classmates enjoying the delicious treats that a traditional, family-owned cafe served us.

How was your education at SYA different than at your high school? 
My education at SYA was different from my high school because SYA did not fail to look outside of the classroom to help its students better understand the material compared to the high school that I currently attend. SYA was a very hands-on experience, and all-in-all this makes the students more willing to learn and explore our surroundings.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering SYA? 
Go for it. I know you have a lot of fears, whether it be language proficiency, new friends, extended time away from family. However, I promise all of those worries will be gone within a weeks time and the pros tremendously outlay any of the cons that you might be thinking of. Regardless, if you're in the process of thinking about attending SYA, then in my personal opinion you are totally ready for what is about to be one of the best adventures of your lifetime!

How did your semester abroad change you? 

I feel changed in that I hold a new perspective on the world. Before, I had once believed that there was no way in traveling the world without knowing the language, or maybe even having some sort of personal connection to that country. Now, I don't want to limit myself to just the bounds of the United States. I plan on going abroad in college, traveling the world, and even visiting many of my classmates in their home countries as we grow older and away from the classroom. I am definitely more globally-minded compared to before which I know is one the best things to foster before going to college!

What life skills do you feel like you learned while at SYA?
Life skills I feel I learned at SYA is my new sense of independence. This independence will definitely take me far! This skill was born through many ways like the classroom, amongst my host family, trying out a new hobby, or even exploring new/unforeseen areas with my other classmates.
Do you have any additional experiences, memories, or suggestions you would like to share?
My other suggestion to incoming SYA students is to PLEASE SEIZE THE MOMENT. Take full advantage of all the things that you are able to do because from experience, you will not regret it!