Studying abroad is an incredible adventure that many Mount Allison students dream about. For Palak Satija, that dream became reality as she spent a winter semester studying in Salamanca, Spain, one of the many exchange programs offered through Mt A. She recently sat down with The Argosy to discuss the ups, the downs, and the downright amazing experience she discovered.
MW: Why did you choose to go to Spain?
PS: Travelling to Honduras twice (my first and second year) with Global Brigades sparked my interest in Spanish. For me, the language has so much fascinating history and geographical distribution associated with it. So I thought, where better to learn than where some of the most outstanding European history and architecture exist. I also wanted to go to a European country, as I love the small size of the continent and how you can travel through many different countries and cultures in a matter of hours.
MW: What was the best part of your experience?
PS: That is the hardest question to answer. One of my favourite parts of the experience was the exposure to the immense amount of culture and intricate architecture in the smallest town of the country. It was incredible to be around infrastructure that was centuries old.
Sometimes we get so absorbed in our day-to-day lives (especially in Sackville) and don’t realize how various cultures of the world each possess something so valuable beyond our comprehension. Learning about others is a great way to learn about ourselves, ironically enough. This was another highlight for me, to be able learn and educate myself just by being around people of different cultures instead of reading in a classroom about how laissez-fair the Spanish can be.
MW: What was the hardest part of spending the summer abroad?
PS: The hardest part of spending the semester abroad was probably the language barrier at times. Even though I was there to learn Spanish, sometimes it was hard to communicate important things to the university staff or my very Spanish roommate. However, that was a part of challenging myself in a new setting and forced me to learn quicker.
MW: What would you recommend to a student considering an exchange?
PS: I would absolutely recommend doing it. No article or book can ever really capture what I have managed to learn in my travels.
Europe is honestly one of the greatest places to travel. European style, fashion, cuisine, and ambiance are so different than what is offered to us here in Canada. However, wherever you go, I guarantee you won’t regret it as long as you go in with open perspectives, be adaptable and seek to discover.
MW: Where do you want to go next?
PS: I want to go to Latin America next to firm up my Spanish speaking skills with a different dialect of the language. In addition, I now have the travel bug and the more I see, the more I realize how much there is left to explore! I believe the world is full of hidden treasures that remain waiting to be discovered.
For more information on Mt. A exchange programs, visit their website or drop by the international office on the second floor of the Wallace McCain Student Centre.