The Observer

Studying in Granada: More Than Just Summer School

Both+Light%E2%80%99s+and+Banitt%E2%80%99s+love+for+travel+compelled+them+to+study+in+Granada%2C+allowing+both+students+to+take+these+beautiful+photos+of+their+travels.
Both Light’s and Banitt’s love for travel compelled them to study in Granada, allowing both students to take these beautiful photos of their travels.

Both Light’s and Banitt’s love for travel compelled them to study in Granada, allowing both students to take these beautiful photos of their travels.

Both Light’s and Banitt’s love for travel compelled them to study in Granada, allowing both students to take these beautiful photos of their travels.


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By GIANNA SMERAGLIA
Asst. Features Editor

When summer rolls around, many college students look forward to spending time at home, most dreading the thought of their summer job or dreaming of days at the beach. This was not the case for one group of Fordham students, who hopped on a plane this past summer to study abroad 3,685 miles away in Granada, Spain.

Among these students were Maya Banitt, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, Becca Light, FCLC ’20 and Joshua Anthony, FCLC ’19, all of whom enrolled at the Universidad de Granada for five weeks. Each of them had different majors and academic interests — Banitt studying theater arts administration, Light pursuing an Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. and Anthony double majoring in history and classical civilizations — and as such, had different reasons for going.

For Banitt, it was her love of travel that compelled her to spend the summer in Granada. “I had never been to Spain,” she said. “It was the perfect opportunity for me to go, and I’m so glad I did. It also counted as a course for my Spanish minor.”

Light felt similarly about her choice to study abroad as she, too, had always wanted to visit Spain. As a dance major, it is difficult to travel during the academic year, so the summer was the perfect time for her to achieve her goal. “The five weeks flew by,” Light said. “I wish I could’ve spent more time there, but at the same time it was a great amount of time to get to know the city and explore Spain.”

COURTESY OF BECCA LIGHT

Even though their stay in Granada was academically demanding, the students still managed to explore the city. According to Anthony, he was able to take exit-level Spanish to satisfy Fordham’s language requirement, and also managed to find the opportunity to take a siesta after his lunch breaks. Despite taking classes, there always seemed to be time to have fun with his friends throughout the week.

For each of the students, the best part of studying in Granada was experiencing and immersing themselves in Spanish culture — something you can’t get in a classroom, they said. Both Anthony and Light noted that their favorite memory was celebrating the Feria de San Juan (Festival of San Juan).

One highlight of Anthony’s time in Granada was speaking with local kids his age, taking pride in the fact that he was able to hold a conversation in Spanish. “I don’t think I would have been able to do that before this trip,” he said.

For Light, the event was incredibly emotional and spiritual as she was able to partake in local traditions. “We wrote down things we wanted to leave in our past and things in our lives that we felt were no longer serving us and threw them into a bonfire on the beach,” Light said of the festival. “Everyone [students and locals] dove in the ocean at midnight together as a way of purifying ourselves.”

COURTESTY OF MAYA BANITT

At the end of their trip, Banitt, Light and Anthony all felt as though they had become not only better Spanish speakers, but also better people. Banitt admitted that the whole experience opened her mind and gave her new perspectives on life.

For Light, she said studying abroad definitely enriched her as a person. “I think travel in general gives you a better sense of perspective and helps you understand your place in the world,” she said. “It gives you insight into other cultures that, in turn, informs how you think of yourself as a member of our global society.”

For Anthony, the experience made him reevaluate his own culture. “I feel a lot more open to other ways of living now,” he said.

Though they only spent five weeks in Granada, Banitt, Light and Anthony were able to learn about the Spanish language, and moreover the culture and history of the city. Overall, their time studying abroad was more than just a vacation or summer school; it was a life-changing experience.

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