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Rehab Sciences Student Experiences Spain as the Classroom

Last Updated on October 01, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Originally published October 01, 2018

By Clarissa Rasberry

Senior, Rehabilitation Sciences

I had no idea what to expect studying abroad. This was my first time, and I didn’t think I would ever study abroad given my circumstances. I am a single, working mom trying to do better for my kids and myself.

Clarissa Rasberry (front left)
Clarissa Rasberry (front left)

I had such a wonderful time getting to know my classmates. I was in two classes: Women’s Studies and Collaboration into Rehabilitation Science. We attended classes every day at the Cultural Center in Seville, Spain. We would all meet for our gastronomy class and then return for our other classes. What I really enjoyed about the program were the guided tours. Our tour guides were exceptional! I loved our excursions to the cathedrals, parks, castles, mosques, bathhouses and everywhere. There was so much to learn about Spain.

The superficiality I guess would be the fashion. Spaniards very much care about appearances. They put a lot of emphasis on clothing. I never saw a local wearing flip-flops or sweats. I didn’t see any baseball caps or gym clothes. The Spaniards are not electronically obsessed the way Americans are. You see so much interaction and hardly ever see someone at the table using a cell phone. The culture is very proud and intolerant of indecisiveness. There’s a sense of history and pride in the air, and everywhere you go, there’s a story to be told and something to be learned.

I found out so much about the history of the country and myself. Rooming with six girls was a learning experience one could only experience firsthand. We got along so well it was sad to part ways. I believe we will be lifelong friends. We shared great times and took care of each other. I learned time management in a much deeper way through the morning rituals of six girls, homework, excursions, etc.

I learned that I am a lot stronger, mentally, than I thought. I didn’t think I was going to be able to handle three classes plus all the outside activities, but I did. I also learned I am in better shape than many of these youngsters! I also was the only one who walked in wedges every day. My stamina was definitely there, and I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be. I believe physical fitness is key to the Spanish lifestyle and so is a healthy diet. Many complained about the portions of food and all the activity we participated in, but I love and will incorporate that aspect into my lifestyle.

I will take every experience and what I felt and learned into my personal and professional life. For me, treating others with respect regardless of race, background, or profession is truly important to me. I felt a lot of that was lost in Spain. There was a superiority complex for sure, and that is something one should never exhibit. No one is better than anyone else. On the other hand, visiting a home for the elderly and school for people with disabilities gave me such insight on how big the world really is. My degree in rehabilitation sciences can travel with me regardless of where I am in the world.

Read about more Vocation Vacations experiences.