Authored by:
Maggie G.

Hi there! My name is Maggie and I’m a recipient of CIEE’s Blogging and Social Media Scholarship. I’m eighteen years-old and live in Berkeley, California. I mostly live in Berkeley with my mom and my cat but also see my dad who lives in Chico, CA. Next year I’m attending Northwestern University, just outside of Chicago. I am trying to absorb as much sunshine as possible in hopes that it will last me four years of cold and wind.

I will address why I took a gap year in greater detail later on, but in short I’ve found that I tend to sideline all other interests in favor of academic work and I wanted to take the time before college to pursue interests that I truly love.

My intent for my gap year was/is to pursue journalism, travel, and learn Spanish. First semester I lived with family in Concord, Massachusetts while working as a freelance writer for a group of local newspapers. I got a lot of hands-on, journalism experience while also building my resume. I’m back in Berkeley for the holidays and leave for Seville in a week and a half. I chose CIEE’s Seville Language & Culture Gap Year Abroad program because of its emphasis on learning Spanish, Seville’s vibrant culture and its proximity to both Western Europe and Northern Africa. I took Spanish throughout middle school and was quite good at it; I probably would be fluent now if I had stuck with it. Alas, I decided to take Latin because my friend was taking it and I wanted to seem precocious. Though Latin was interesting, and will probably help me to learn Spanish, no one speaks Latin in this millenium.

I’m incredibly excited (and a bit nervous) for my program in Seville. My goals for the semester are to become (at least) proficient in Spanish, step out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and enjoy myself.

First and foremost I’m going to Spain to learn Spanish. Obviously I can do that in college but being immersed abroad will really speed up the process. In middle school I excelled at comprehension but struggled with composition, so I really want to focus on speaking and writing.

This whole semester is going to be out of my comfort zone, 5848 miles from my comfort zone to be exact. I’m familiar with travelling abroad solo, but I expect new people, places and languages to throw me off, even if only at first.

I’m excited to meet new people from different backgrounds and learn about their life and culture. Most importantly I want to have some fun and enjoy myself!

¡Hasta luego!

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