Augustana students study in the "City of the Spanish Language"
2009 Jul 14Five Augustana Spanish majors are getting a full-time lesson in speaking Spanish during a month-long international study opportunity in Salamanca, Spain, which is located about 130 miles west of Madrid. The students participating in the four-week program are immersed in Spanish language and culture by taking classes at a Spanish university and spending time with the locals, who are historically known to speak the purest form of Spanish in the world. On Monday-Thursday, the students take a morning class at Centro Universitario Marista and spend the remainder of the day sightseeing, shopping and spending time in Salamanca's famous Plaza Mayor, which is within walking distance from the university where they are staying. Their three-day weekends are free for more extensive traveling and sightseeing throughout Spain. Dr. Ana Borderia-Garcia, the faculty advisor for the trip and a native of Valencia, Spain, encourages her students to speak only in Spanish on the trip. "They are eager to experience as much of the language and culture as they can," she said. Christine Hedlin, an Augustana junior with a double major in Spanish and English, agreed with Borderia-Garcia. "When we converse with native Spanish-speakers, we pick up on subtleties of Spanish culture and language that we couldn't necessarily learn from our textbooks. We want to absorb as much of the language as possible, so if a native speaks to us in English, we politely ask them to speak to us in Spanish instead." Salamanca plays an important role in the history of the Spanish language. The first Spanish grammar book was written in the city, and many inhabitants of Salamanca continue to speak formal Castilian Spanish, which is known as the purest form of Spanish in the world. For this reason, Salamanca draws Spanish students around the world looking to refine their language skills and experience Spanish culture. The students will also visit Paris and Madrid before returning to the United States on July 28. From your area, participating students include: