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Blinn students immerse themselves in Spanish culture, language studying abroad

Twenty-one students spent four weeks learning Spanish in Granada, Spain

Study Abroad Group

September 22, 2015

Twenty-one Blinn College students gained more from their college experience this summer than they ever thought possible.

The students from Blinn’s Bryan campus spent four weeks abroad learning Spanish and soaking up the culture in Granada, one of Spain’s most ancient and diverse cities.

The partnership between Blinn and Sol Education Abroad immersed students in the Spanish language and culture with a four-week trip and six hours of Blinn College language credit (Intermediate Spanish Language I and II), taught by Blinn instructors Alex Garza and Irma Valdez.

Blinn Students Study AbroadStudents visited Seville and Cordoba, two of the most historic cities in Europe, spent a weekend in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains and walked the beaches of Costa del Sol. They explored the exotic Alhambra, the ancient palace of the Sultans, enjoyed Granada’s historic quarter, “El Albaycin,” and watched authentic Flamenco dancers in the caves where they have performed for decades. The students stayed in pairs with host families, further enhancing language and cultural immersion. 

“I would describe the experience with superlatives,” Garza said. “It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience for the students—an experience where they not only earned academic credit, but made life observations that changed them.

They have grown to be part of something they never would have had they not studied abroad. It was simply perfect.”
To be eligible for the trip, students must have completed two beginning Spanish courses, Spanish 1411 and 1412.

Students attended class from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. daily, working through two intermediate Spanish courses, Spanish 2311 and 2312—a year’s worth of work packed into four weeks. In addition to class, Garza and Valdez held office hours at 8 a.m., which many students attended.

“It was quite an experience for the students,” Garza said. “They had to learn how to budget their time wisely, because while they were having fun, they needed to balance that with coursework. They played hard and they worked hard. They were all excellent students.”

Jarrett Namken, a second-year student from Bastrop, said the trip offered students a well-rounded experience.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” Namken said. “We had great professors who made it exciting for us. They wanted us to have a good time. They wanted us to do well, but they also made sure we enjoyed the entire experience.”

About Blinn College
A comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement, Blinn College has served its 13-county Central Texas region since 1883. With an enrollment of 19,317 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.

Blinn offers job seekers the skills and credentials they need to succeed in the region’s fast-growing industries, and partners with local businesses to provide skills development training for incumbent employees. Each year, Blinn programs and students make a $345.3 million impact on the local economy.

For more information about Blinn College and exciting student success initiatives such as Destination Success: First-Year Focus and the Blinn TEAM Program, visit www.blinn.edu or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

PHOTOS
Study Abroad Group – Blinn students pose on the Plaza de España in Seville during a four-week study abroad trip to Granada, Spain.
Flamenco – Students participated in Flamenco dance lessons in Granada before watching an authentic Flamenco performance.

AUDIO – Alex Garza