Each term, Proctor en Segovia affords ten students the opportunity to study abroad in Segovia, Spain. Since 1974, this program has paired students with host families, immersing young people in an unparalleled language and cultural experience. Alumni of the program talk decades later about what they learned while studying abroad. This fall's Proctor en Segovia is quickly appreciating the impact of the their time abroad. Check out their tips for traveling below!
Pack for Extra Space | Jessica '22
Weird saying I know, but when you are packing for your adventure to Spain you want to fit all of the cute outfits and all of the necessities. You are stuffing, rolling, and squeezing everything in. When you get to the airport you might have gone over the weight limit, so, you sneak your foot right under your bag to give the clerk the illusion your bag is definitely under 50 pounds. After you get to Spain, you are going to be entranced with the European fashion and goods this country offers. Buying a new sweater or olive oil for back home feels like a priority! You become confident that you definitely can bring it back. As the confidence drains and the anxiety takes its place, you're going to notice that when you first arrived you only used three hangers, now you use eight, or you are going to notice the small pile of gifts that slowly grows every day. You then will find yourself using 40 euros of your spending money to buy a 22 by 15 by 9-inch carry-on suitcase. The awkwardness of measuring that in the store is not worth it. But in the end, you will get all of your belongings back to the United States, although you will have wished you had packed for extra space.
Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings | Katie '23
In the streets of Segovia, there is always something going on. Walking around you learn to dodge the packs of bewildered tourists in the main streets and watch out for the vans roaring around turns directly towards you. There is always a risk factor at your feet as well, small Spanish children cluelessly waddling in their parents' footsteps or the dogs being dragged along by their owners. So be aware of your surroundings and take it all in.
Be the Guy With the Adapter | Andrew '23
Everyone needs the guy with the adapters. They’ll be your best friend when your phone runs out, your best friend's friend when their computer dies, and everyone’s friend when in an Airbnb in the northern mountains. Nothing breaks the ice like a US to European adapter. You’ll need one for your phone, computer, toothbrush, a spare, and a few to loan out for popularity points. And then you’ll still run out, but it won’t matter since everyone invites the guy with the adapters.
Make sure you come to Spain with substantial pocket money. | Cam '22
The conversion from American dollars to Euros can be more of an illusion especially if you are unfamiliar with this new idea. When I first traveled to Europe I was taken aback by the fact that I thought everything was cheaper due to the conversion ratio. Luckily I hadn’t come to Europe with cash in American dollars because every bank that I have tried to exchange had said no to my request. In my opinion, and in my personal experience, I have spent a whole lot more money than I do at home and at school. This is because you need to be able to rely on your own funds to buy personal necessities and some food when you’re out with your friends.
Embrace the Culture Shock | Sophie '23
You will be uncomfortable. No matter how extensively you research you are guarantied to be surprised with how little you truly know. There will always be things that are strange to you: always wearing socks or slippers inside, whole pig legs dangling from the ceilings, the supermarket Dia that appears as frequently as Dunkin Donuts does in the US, gender roles, walking everywhere, different privacy norms especially with random people, etc…
They will say things you don’t understand and at least once, you WILL make a fool of yourself. Laugh it off, welcome it.
Go Down the Alley | Scarlet '23
When traveling abroad, or even in general, my biggest tip is always to take new turns and routes to find the coolest spots! The most popular road in Segovia, called Juan Bravo, is filled with fluorescent light shoes, phone cases, and cheap clothing stores. All of these are great for tourism, but those types of areas while traveling always encourage me to find authentic and real places and stores. So the next time you are exploring a new country or area look for a cool coffee shop in a back alley or an art store sign some distance away because usually where there are little and local shops, you will come across more.
In order to get over the uncomfortableness and awkwardness of living in a stranger's home, spend as much time as possible with them. | France '23
When I landed in Spain the anxiety about meeting my host family started to set in. The closer our bus got to Segovia, the more petrified I became and the fact that they didn’t speak much English didn’t help considering my terrible Spanish skills. The first few days were scary. They were very nice but I couldn’t help but feel I was a burden in their household. A way I got over this was asking them many questions during meals to get a sense of who they were as people. Staying at the table after meals and continuing the conversation was also a good way to break the ice. The other night my host dad and I binge watched Squid Game which was a wholesome bonding moment that helped ease my stress about living in their home. The more time I spent with them, the better it was for me so I would recommend fighting through the anxiety and devote some of your free time to activities with your host family.
Come With an Open Mind | Louisa '22
My biggest piece of advice to anyone traveling to a new country, and especially the next group spending the term in Segovia, is to have an open mind. Try new food, explore different places, and talk to new people. Your view of the world will change as you experience a different culture. By simply being open to trying new dishes, you may find your next favorite food. My friends and I walked down a random alley and ended up finding our favorite tucked-away restaurant. Explore the parks and stores around you, as well as the small streets lined with funky restaurants. Be open to spending time with your host family, and if they ask you to go to the store with them, go. By being open, you will absorb all the best parts of wherever you visit. You will get the most out of your experience and may find a favorite new store or food.
Don't Waste Your Money| Lagan '23
Despite the fact that there are dozens of amazing stores lining the streets in Segovia that you will walk by every day, you only have a limited amount of money to spend and wasting it all on useless trinkets and clothing will leave you with no money to spend on the amazing restaurants and items you could actually use and enjoy. Wasting your money at tourist traps and retail stores will just make your suitcase heavier and your wallet lighter. The food here is also incredible and on the weekends you will want to be out at restaurants with your friends. You will also have plenty of time to go shopping at all of the awesome stores but you will be able to enjoy it much more if you are conscious of your spending and don't waste money on things you don't want or necessarily need.