Far From Fisher – Caitlin Antaya
This semester, a total of 39 students are participating in the St. John Fisher College Study Abroad Program. They are in countries including England, The Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Italy, Costa Rica, and France, to name a few. Those participating come from a variety of majors, and we will hear from some throughout the spring.
Caitlin Antaya, a sophomore Education major, is currently studying in Salamanca, Spain, at the University of Salamanca through the American Institute for Foreign Study.
Q: Why did you choose Spain?
A: I chose Spain because I have always wanted to travel here ever since I began studying Spanish. That being said, I wanted to improve my Spanish as well. I am a Spanish minor, so I knew going to Spain would help me fulfill the requirements. I am so glad I chose to come here because it is truly an amazing country!
Q: How many classes are you taking? Do you find them to be harder there than here?
A: I am taking five classes over the semester. We had two weeks of intensive orientation that counted as a class and our semester classes began January 28. Since it’s still early, I can’t really say much about whether I find them harder than Fisher. But from what I have heard, you have to be more independent, because there are few homework assignments and the classes are primarily lecture based, so it is up to the students to really study and take notes. Our grades will be determined by a mid-term and final, so it is important to really study for those exams. Also, I was told by my program that the professors are here to teach us, not entertain us like they do in the U.S.!
Q: Have you done much sightseeing? Where?
A: I have done quite a bit of sightseeing already. Of course we went all around Salamanca, but we also traveled to Cordoba, Granada, and Seville. I have also been to San Sebastian and Bilbao so far.
Q: How would you compare your campus now to Fisher? Are you living on or off campus?
A: There is no campus here in Salamanca; the campus is the city. The academic buildings are located near each other for the most part, but there is no real campus feeling like there is at Fisher. Some 30,000 students attend the University, so it makes sense as to why the school is set up like it is. I am living with a host family, which I absolutely love! They are so friendly and welcoming and you can tell they truly want us to learn.
Q: What do you miss most about Fisher?
A: I miss my friends from Fisher, but I would say I miss the campus feeling of Fisher the most. It is nice to feel like you are part of a community instead of just dropped in a city.
Q: Would you recommend studying abroad to other students?
A: I would 100% recommend studying abroad to other students. When else in your life are you going to have the opportunity to travel like you do when abroad? Of course there are many challenges, but when you overcome them, you gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. I know this sounds like a cliché but it is so true.
And if you go abroad and have the opportunity to stay with a family, do it! Also, don't be afraid to try new things because you will regret it otherwise. Venture out of your comfort zone once in a while!
Antaya in San Sebastian.
The Plaza Mayor at night - Antaya takes this route every day to class.