For this week’s blog, I decided to interview Sarah Tessler, one of the Tufts-Skidmore Spain full year students. Sarah is originally from Connecticut and is studying both Spanish and Education at Tufts. A self-described program center fan, we sat down together by the mural for the interview. She shared some of her favorite things about studying abroad in Madrid through the Tufts-Skidmore Spain program.
Sarah has taken almost every program center class and has really enjoyed how the learning process continues outside of the classroom. She says that the program classes are very relevant as she’ll often learn something in class and engage with the same material while she is out and about in Madrid. She also wanted to obtain fluency and develop of a sense of belonging and routine, and felt like this would be accomplished as a full year student with Tufts-Skidmore Spain.
As a Tufts student, she also likes that all of the classes she will have taken by the end of the year will count for Tufts credit and her Spanish major. By the end of the spring 2019 semester, she will have finished her Spanish degree!
The Tufts-Skidmore Spain program also emphasizes cultural competency, and while it is easy for Americans studying abroad in Spain to quickly categorize Spanish social norms as weird, Sarah has embraced them. A self-defined type-A person, she has grown to love the slower pace of life that allows for more enjoyment instead of feeling like she is in a rush. She notes that the concept of a “quick bite” does not exist and that lunches in Spain can easily last for at least 2 hours. Sarah also likes the motto “no pasa nada” as it allows her to chill out when she gets stressed. She told me that she has noticed that she has seen a number of Spanish people stop in front of windows to look at it. At first, this confused her, but she later reflected that they must like whatever they are looking at. One thing she wishes she could bring back to the US are the elevator greetings as it fosters a sense of community.
As a semester student, I was curious about how she decided on a full year program. Sarah says that going abroad for a full year allowed her to keep in touch with her most important friends back at Tufts. She notes that the older you get, the physical campus becomes less important when it comes to maintaining and growing friendships. This mindset helped her transition into a full year study abroad program. Sarah also noted that as a full year student, she gets to take advantage of all of the awesome program trips.
Sarah also shared some of her favorite things to do and eat in Madrid. She loves the Hummusería restaurant, Colectiva Café, Tierra and Donner Kebab for restaurants. She says that if you don’t have a place in mind but would like good food, you can never go wrong with Lavapiés. Sarah also enjoys a stroll through Retiro Park when she gets the chance. Thank you Sarah for letting me interview you!