Hometown: New Hyde Park, NY
Studied Abroad: Barcelona, Spain (Junior Spring 2012)
Concentration: Comparative Literature
Graduation: Spring 2013
Susie’s Experience Abroad
Q: Favorite food abroad?
A: A delicious montadito (small sandwich) at a tiny tapas bar called Quimet y Quimet, with smoked salmon, fresh yogurt, and honey. ALL their tapas are amazing, but especially that one—I still dream about it!
Q: What do you miss most about your time abroad?
A: The easy pace of living. It drove me crazy at times how relaxed people in Spain could be concerning schedules and rules, but it was also a real education in prioritizing—figuring out what was really important to me and not stressing so much about the rest.
Q: Describe something that surprised you while you were abroad.
A: The insanely late (and long) dinners! Most restaurants didn’t open their doors until 8pm, and once we were seated the pace of the meal was usually so unhurried that it wasn’t out of the question to have a three-hour-long meal. Also, I was definitely surprised by the lack of ethnic diversity in Barcelona. People often didn’t believe me when I said I was from America because I didn’t look the way they expected Americans to look. There was definitely a gap in cultural understanding, and a different consciousness of “political correctness”.
Q: Why did you decide to study abroad?
A: I’ve always wanted to study abroad—when else would I get such an amazing chance to live and truly immerse myself in another culture, if not as a student? That said, as a student of Spanish for over eight years and a Comparative Literature concentrator, study abroad fit perfectly into my plans. I learned to overcome my shyness while speaking Spanish in between awkward but necessary conversations about my persistently blocked shower drain, and the literature courses I took at the Universitat de Barcelona helped knock out some of my concentration requirements. I am also an aspiring physician, and in that sense, the fluency and comfort in Spanish that I gained while abroad are, in my opinion, incredibly important assets in really adapting to help make healthcare more accessible and navigable to the ever-increasing Spanish-speaking population in America.
Q: Favorite cultural visit while abroad?
A: Lisbon, Portugal. A gorgeous, gorgeous, underrated place. The seaside monuments to the Age of Discovery are breathtaking, and the streets of the Bairro Alto really come alive at night.