How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
Familiarity with another language is an advantage in any workplace, but particularly for a student of international security. Students and professionals, journals and news outlets with which I would have had difficulty communicating before, I can now consider more immediate resources. Spanish language skills allow you to engage a huge part of the globe; and will be useful whether or not I am in a position dealing exclusively with the Latin American region itself.
Have you changed as a result of this experience?
By the end of my two months, I was able to hold real conversations and follow news in Spanish that would have mystified me before. This opportunity to devote time exclusively to immersion in a new language was a huge bonus of the SSP summer grant. This semester, I am looking forward to continuing my practice beyond the intermediate level with private study, and possibly tackling a new language in the near future.
Is there anything you wish you would have known before leaving and why?
I wish I would have known that southern cities during the summer will always be hot in the summer, and the Spaniards will *always* tell you to avoid them and go during a more accommodating time of year. But if you want to see places like Seville or Granada, and you happen to be there only in the summer, I would schedule those trips in the beginning of your stay. I am convinced experiencing daily life in your “home” city is essential to any study abroad experience, but I would have loved to have ventured farther afield to experience some of the different cultures of different regions.