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Senior enjoys language, culture during semester in Spain

03/25/15

Immersed in an intensive language course at Pablo de Olavide Universidad in Seville, Spain, while living with a host mom who didn’t speak English, Rominda DeBarros ’15 quickly moved past her beginner Spanish status during her study abroad experience last fall.

DeBarros, an English/communications major from Boston, Mass., decided to study in Spain because of its culture, language and location. It was her first trip outside of the United States 

C:\fakepath\Rominda DeBarros street Spain crop.jpg“I knew very little Spanish before I left,” DeBarros said. “I have relatives who speak Spanish, and thought that I could benefit greatly from being in that surrounding.”

Although the language barrier was challenging, “I learned a lot in a short amount of time because I had to practice speaking everyday in order to communicate with my host mom,” DeBarros said. “Even though I struggled a lot, she was super supportive.”

Living and studying in Seville, “was one of the best experiences of my life so far,” she continued. “Just the feeling of being in a different country and getting to see so many sites I’ve never seen before was amazing. I also got the chance to travel to different parts of Spain, which was great because it’s so diverse. Everywhere you go, you experience something different.”

The opportunity to live in Seville was the best part of DeBarros’ time abroad.

“It’s such a beautiful place, and it really became my home during the time I was there. I also met and befriended students from across the United States who were studying in Spain, too, as well as students from different parts of Europe,” DeBarros said.

In addition to the Spanish language class, her courses at Pablo de Olavide Universidad included those in Spanish art history, cultural psychology and Spanish film. “I really liked that I was able to learn more about Spanish culture through all of my courses, while also experiencing it on my own,” she explained.          

Before her semester abroad, “I could never see myself living in a different country and feeling so comfortable, but now I definitely can,” DeBarros said. “It’s also made me think about going abroad in the future and working, studying, or even moving to another country, permanently.”

Besides traveling around Spain, she visited nearby Portugal, where she visited the Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon, as well as the Chapel of Bones in Evora. “I also got to experience Portuguese food with a big group of students, which was great.”

C:\fakepath\Rominda DeBarros group crop.jpgBack at MCLA for her final semester, DeBarros – who’s concentrating in journalism – wants to puruse a career in writing. While she plans to find work after Commencement, she’s also considering graduate school.

“Being at MCLA, especially as an English/communications major, has really benefited me in terms of discovering who I am and where I want to be in the future,” she said. “Through the courses I’ve taken at MCLA, I’ve not only learned more about myself and the world around me, I’ve also found how truly passionate I am about writing – not only as a journalist, but also in other forms.”

With an abundance of support and encouragement on campus, MCLA is a great place to learn, DeBarros said.

“I’ve come across so many great professors and faculty at MCLA who have shaped who I am and how I think today. I wouldn’t trade being who I am today because I came to MCLA for anything, and I’m sure so many other students would benefit in the same ways as I have by coming here.”