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July 22, 2011

ULM students return from Spain with new perspective

University of Louisiana at Monroe Spanish students recently returned from a study abroad trip to Spain that left them with a new perspective and increased insight into what the world has to offer.

The Department of Foreign Languages began its Spanish study abroad program 30 years ago with Mexico, and soon expanded to Peru, Costa Rica, and Spain.

These programs are geared toward language immersion and cultural exploration.

Dr. Ruth Smith, head of the department of foreign languages, finds that students not only need to experience other cultures through visiting other countries, but it is very rewarding for them to apply and improve on what they have learned in class.

"We believe this is a great contribution to a student's education," she said. "They are not going as tourists, so we want them using their language skills."

The most recent opportunity offered by the department concluded June 19. Students spent two weeks in Spain visiting Barcelona and Valencia. Classes were held at Enforex Spanish School where students were required to spend four hours per day in class.

Adam Cascio, (B.A., '11) saw the trip as a precursor to his graduate career.

"I've always wanted to experience the things that I was hearing about in class," said Cascio. "The trip was more than just an educational experience, it was a life experience that I will take with me as I continue my education."

Dr. Christian Rubio, associate professor of Spanish led students on their two-week adventure.

"This group of students was always ready for new adventures," he said.

"I can honestly say that all of them learned something new not only about the language and the country, but also about themselves."

According to Rubio, his final trip with ULM students was one of the best and most rewarding.

Rubio, a native of Peru, will relocate to Boston where he will teach Spanish at Bentley University.

"It never ceases to amaze me how much the students learn," he said. "It was a great way to end my time at ULM."

Dr. Charles Holloway will accompany the next group in June 2012 to Mérida, México, the first of the four locations established for ULM students to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country.

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