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BU Abroad: Madrid’s Deeper Meaning

A semester abroad evolves into an appreciation of language, and relationships

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In the video above, Joshua Clark (COM’09) and Cherisse Cavan (COM’09) muse about speaking Spanish in Madrid.

“Studying abroad was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Cherisse Cavan, who last fall studied in the Madrid Language and Liberal Arts Program.

Cavan (COM’09) took classes, honed her language skills, and discovered what it takes to live in a foreign country. She coped with the usual challenges: ordering in a restaurant, interacting with a professor, haggling over the price of a souvenir in a street market. She felt the satisfaction that comes from achieving confidence and ease in another culture. But the most memorable part of her semester in Madrid was her host mother, Charo.

“I just think of how incredible it was for two people from two different generations — she was 63 years old — and two completely different cultures to connect so well and find an understanding in each other,” Cavan says. “I grew as a person because of her, and I hope I had the same effect on her.”

Cavan has graduated, and what she learned during her Spanish semester is even more valuable to her now. “I’m finding that I have more opportunities in the job world because of my knowledge of the Spanish language,” she says, “and in general, I feel as if I have a more worldly perspective on life.”

Additional editing by Joe Chan.

Devin Hahn can be reached at dhahn@bu.edu.

Next week, another foreign visit. Read more at BU Abroad.

Have a study abroad story to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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