Fredericksburg High School's Media Publication

The Campus Comet

Fredericksburg High School's Media Publication

The Campus Comet

Fredericksburg High School's Media Publication

The Campus Comet

Halftime East

From Hello to Hola

Everyone loves a happy, long summer vacation until the reality that you must return to school hits. Imagine you were able to travel to the beautiful coastal region of Malaga, Spain instead of having to go back to your same old routine.

For Fredericksburg High School senior Taylor Harris, this was her reality when she started her semester abroad.

“I had finished all of my high school credits except for Economics and the second semester of English 4,” Harris said. “I was ready for a change and to experience something new.

” Harris’s grandmother, Nan Mosley, or as Harris calls her, Nana, is always ready for the next adventure abroad, believing that travel is one of the best forms of education. Following what her grandma taught her best, Harris boarded a plane to a foreign country.

“I was really nervous to go into this new experience, but when I sat down on the plane, the woman in front of me had a tattoo of this woman doing a yoga pose, opening up her mind, soul, and heart,” Harris said. “It felt like it was a sign that this was going to be a good experience, turning my nerves into excitement.”

Harris traveled through Education First (EF), a program that offers language courses and cultural exchanges, providing students with immersive experiences to enhance their language skills. This program makes it possible to study abroad, even if students have little to no experience speaking foreign languages.

“Every class was in Spanish, which caused me to be afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. As the first week went by I realized that I was absorbing so much Spanish, since I was completely immersed in it,” Harris said. “ When you are thrown into a situation where there is a language you don’t know, you end up picking it up faster than you think.”

Her schedule consisted of three classes a day, starting at 9 a.m. or 12 a.m., and ending at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. depending on the day.

“ I didn’t mind that school ended later because not only did the evening and nightlife not start until later, but also it made everything feel less rushed,” Harris said. “ People didn’t go out until 7 or 8 and dinner most of the time wasn’t until 9:30 or 10.”

EF creates a program where students can go out and experience the culture and country. Whether that be a cooking class, trips to museums, weekend trips to culturally significant towns, or having classes in markets, EF encourages students to fully be exposed to the culture around them.

“Overall it was a very ‘go with the flow’ environment,” Harris said. “One day I was watching a Fashion Show at Calle Larios. The next I could be hiking at Caminito del Rey.”

While in Spain, Harris met and made friends with people from all over the world, as she was one of only a few Americans in the program. With these friends, she created joyful memories.

“The school is right by the beach which was awesome because we could just hang out there whenever we wanted to,” Harris said. “There was this one song that none of us knew the words to except the chorus, but anywhere we would go, we would be singing it. Walking down the street we would just be yelling at the top of our lungs, ‘Vamos a la playa. A mí me gusta bailar. El ritmo de la noche. Sounds of fiesta.

Harris highly recommends studying abroad to anyone interested in it since it was a life-changing experience for her. “It was cool coming back home because it was like re-entering the world,” Harris said. “ I feel like this helped me grow as a person and coming back I feel more confident in myself.”

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