I was a participant in the Santander Summer 2 program through SPI High School Study Abroad from June 26-July 12. Knowing absolutely nobody, I went into the program with an open mind and came out knowing so many great people that I am more than happy to call my friends. I saw so many amazing sights and shared so many great memories with the people in my program.
The city of Santander was absolutely amazing! It wasn't so big but wasn't so small either, and never did we feel unsafe. My roommate and I took public transport everywhere we went, even renting bicycles our last week! We had a vast amount of freedom as well. During the week, we had complete freedom in the evenings to take a taxi to a restaurant near the city center for tasty Spanish paella or perhaps eat ice cream at a nearby ice cream shop.
Classes took place from 9:15-1:45 at la Universidad de Cantabria, about a 25 minute walk from my homestay near el Sardinero beach. After class, we would go home for siesta and eat lunch with our homestay or take a nap! In the afternoon, usually around 4, we would meet everyone else at a location in Santander for our group activities. We had required group activities Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, the afternoon activity was optional. Our optional activities ranged from surfing, sailing, salsa class, kayaking, ziplining, stand-up paddle boarding, and lots more! Our required activities involved traveling to nearby cities and exploring the culture and atmosphere there, or perhaps going on a scavenger hunt in the ayuntamiento, or city center, of Santander.
When I went on this program, I went with an open mind. I found that to be the deal breaker in whether I would have a good time or not. Immersing in a foreign country isn't easy if you expect it to be like the United States. I didn't know anybody, but I came out knowing such a great group of people that I still miss dearly. I would do anything to live through my study abroad experience in Santander all over again. Studying abroad in high school was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. From sitting on the beach and playing cards to late night ice cream with my friends, I had the best time of my life while improving my Spanish immensely! I am so grateful that I was able to experience life living in Santander. I hope that one day I can eventually return and revisit all the places I was able to explore!
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