Raul Villa’ 24 is currently a senior at Southwestern University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Business. During the summer of 2023, Raul participated in the SU Granada- Advanced Spanish & International Marketing Faculty- Led program. Through linguistic and cultural immersion, firsthand exposure with local practices, and an exploration of how culture affects marketing and other aspects of international business, this study abroad program allows students to deepen their understanding of Spanish culture. Since Raul intends to pursue a career in the marketing field in either Austin or Dallas after graduation, this program was very beneficial to his future endeavors in the workforce. In addition to providing a taste of his future ambitions, his time in Spain improved his Spanish language proficiency. He lived with a Spanish homestay family and expanded his true language fluency in context. One of Raul’s favorite aspects of this program was the ability to learn outside the classroom. The students had a chance to visit Alhambra, Salobrena, Cadiz, and Portugal in Lagos, Fatima, and Lisbon. These trips not only let the students be exposed to other cultures and environments but allowed them to build relationships with their fellow study abroad students through group activities and explorations.

When reflecting on his experience in Granada, Raul shared:

I studied abroad in Granada Spain for 6 weeks in the Summer. Ever since I arrived at Southwestern University, I had the desire to study abroad. I thought to myself that this was a significant opportunity for me to finally achieve this desire before I graduate. I attended the information session and discovered how affordable this adventure could be with scholarships. I applied for all of the scholarships that I qualified for and received an adequate amount of financial aid. This allowed me to have this opportunity to continue in a familiar classroom experience that we receive at Southwestern while also being in a new environment. Before arriving in Spain, I was a tad nervous about being in a small group of people that I knew very little about but, to my surprise, I found myself creating new bonds with these people. We dove into new cultures and explored new places together. Overall, my study abroad experiences did not only help me receive a better understanding of new cultures abroad but also furthered my understanding of the culture at Southwestern.

Southwestern offers SU Granada Intermediate Spanish every other year (2024, 2026, etc.) and SU Granada Advanced Spanish and International Marketing every other year (2025, 2027, etc.). This coming summer, Intermediate Spanish is a 7-week, 8 credit program for SU students with a minimum of one semester of college-level Spanish. In this program, students earn credit for Spanish II and III in the historic city of Granada in southern Spain.

Raul Villa stated, “Funding was one of the main reasons I was able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity,” in response to a question regarding financial support he received for his summer in Granada. “I traveled a good amount and encountered many new experiences not only in Spain but in Portugal as well! It is reassuring to know that donors make the commitment to invest in Southwestern and its students.”