James Peagram visits our blog today. He studied during the Spring 2015 semester in our Language and Culture Program.
Why did you decide to study at the University of Deusto?
I decided to study at the University of Deusto because when I was choosing where to study abroad I wanted to spend my time in a completely different culture than that of the United States. One that challenged me in language, but also culturally. Bilbao and the Deusto did exactly that. I come from a very large university and sometimes I am in classes with over 300 people. At Deusto I was so happy to get an education with small sized classes and almost in a way, individual, one-on-one learning. This allowed me to learn Spanish at an incredibly accelerated level. However, the best part of this was that I could use what I was learning directly outside of the classroom in the city and all throughout my travels. Having a program that facilitated students with learning Spanish in an effective manner is what sets Bilbao, CIDE, and the University apart from other study abroad programs all over the World.
There aren’t words to describe how important Bilbao is to me. Before arriving in Bilbao I had never heard of the city and was very unfamiliar with the Basque Country in general. Very quickly, Bilbao became home. I was so comfortable within the city because of the people, how easy you can get around, and the unique culture and atmosphere Bilbao has. How can you not love Bilbao? Being surrounded by mountains and 20 minutes from the beach, students have the best of both worlds. Studying in Bilbao changed my life forever, and without my experience I feel as if I would not be as ready to move on into the adult world. Bilbao had taught me the value of education outside of the US and how incredibly important it is to see different cultures and learn different languages.
It’s hard to just pick out a couple of memories I have from my experience because every day was so amazing. What I’m going to remember the most are my teachers at Deusto and the friends I made while I was there. My professors were very different than those at my home University. They became friends of mine, and had a genuine interest in my success while completely understanding the difficulties in transitioning to living in a new culture. I met some of the most amazing people while abroad, from other American students, Erasmus students, and locals of Bilbao; I will have memories that I shared with these people for the rest of my life.
At my University back in the US I work as a tutor in our Writing Center. Here, I work one-on-one with students across all different subjects (we call them majors instead of careers). Students are to bring in an assignment they have whether or not they haven’t started, in the middle, or just about finished. Some people think that they can come to the Writing Center and get a perfect grade, however, that is not what we do. We work with our students to build their writing skills for the future, not just that one paper. We want to give them practices, skills, and confidence in their writing because of how truly important writing is.
If you want to know more about James’ experience in Bilbao, you can read this post in his personal blog.