Nothing Can Beat a Summer in Spain

My name is Jackie and I am currently double majoring in Finance and Supply Chain Management with a minor in Information Management and Technology, set to graduate in Spring 2022. In 2019, I had the fortune opportunity of being a part of the summer study abroad program in Madrid, Spain.

After creating the lofty goal for myself to travel to over 100 countries, I felt that Spain with its rich culture and gorgeous architecture was the perfect place to start this lifelong dream. Studying in Madrid after my freshman year at Syracuse was the best way I could have possibly spent my summer. After a friend of mine raved about the amazing summer she experienced in Madrid, I knew I had to go experience it for myself. To me, summer was the best time to go abroad because I was able to get the slightest taste of abroad life while not feeling as if I was missing out on something back in Syracuse.

I took two classes while part of the Madrid Summer Session, both of which were uniquely taught and distinct from my on-campus classes. My first class was Cross Culture Psychology, I learned about the cultural differences between the United States and Spain, which was much more subtle yet understandable than I would have previously thought. As a class we analyzed videos and customs that each country had and tried to explain why we thought things were the way they are. It completely opened my eyes to all the similarities we all share while also continuing to be different countries, built for specific people.

My second class was Sociology of Sports. As a huge sports fan myself it was incredible learning about Spanish specific sports and their role in the global world. Because class sizes are small and tight knit over the summer, I became very close friends with my classmates. Since the class was small, our discussions became much more in-depth and were tailored to our specific interests in sports. My favorite part was the different field trips we would take, once we went to the park to observe the various fitness activities of people and another for another trip, we analyzed a soccer match.

Making friends within the program and outside of Syracuse Madrid felt completely natural. I met people from Syracuse, other universities in the US and Madrid natives which I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Since the summer session group was smaller than semester programs, I felt that we all got to know each other much more and felt comfortable with each other. It was a blast going on school trips with everyone. My favorite trip was to southern Spain, specifically Seville. We toured the city and were able to learn about its rich history. From constantly taking pictures of everyone while in the Plaza de España, to wandering around the streets for delicious food, we all got to really take in the beautiful country that we called our home for that time.

Having the opportunity to study in another country, no matter the length, is always a worthwhile experience. You will constantly be learning as much about yourself as you will your host country. This was an experience that I would not have given up for the world, and it continues to push me out of my comfort zone to this day. With Spain down, and only 99 countries left to visit, and I know whatever country I end up in next will be exciting.

Jackie Stevens ‘22

Madrid Summer Session