I chose to participate in this program because I felt that I was due for a break from school/university. I needed to experience something else! Another setting, culture, language, other people, etc. Now in Spain and experiencing all of these things, it’s a dream come true. My Spanish is improving and I’m constantly confronted with stimulating new learning experiences. Spain is a beautiful country and is definitely worth your while.

From my experience, I found that the initial application and waiting process was somewhat tricky and impersonal. If you have any problems, the BU Spanish teachers should be available to help you if you have any qualms concerning the application. The waiting process is quite drawn out, I got my answer in early June. Typically, auxiliary positions are first offered to people who wish to prolong their experience for another year. In my opinion, it is best to have a plan B and C, just in case you are not accepted.

Once I received the confirmation notice I didn’t hear from people from my actual school until August. It is important to follow up on all the notices that are sent to you and it is your responsibility to keep communication live. I got in touch with my school shortly before arriving, which I found a little stressful. Basically, once you are accepted and you follow through, you should not worry. Responses usually take time and as long as you get one, then you’re set.

Once you’re in Spain then all that is left is finding a place to stay, which teachers at your school should be able to help you with. Enjoy and just begin getting to know people! From my experience, teachers are all really nice with language assistants and if you need help with anything whatsoever you have people that you can go to, so don’t feel like you are alone in the world!

Once you are settled in to your new place and know where essential places are, such as supermarkets and bars, then all you need to do is make the most of your time in class! Depending on your schedule it might take some getting used to. You will work twelve hours a week, which isn’t very much, so I suggest you take a Spanish course, if you feel the need, and also find other ways of filling your week up. I started giving private lessons to gain more money and pay for trips around Europe. You will be in Europe, hence you must travel!

Basically, if you are in search for a new experience and want to improve you Spanish speaking skills, I fully recommend you apply to this program! It is a great cultural and personal experience. Spain is much more relaxed than North America, and it is a nice change of pace. It’s a healthy opportunity and I suggest you take it!

Luc Robichaud

I started the program in Hispanic Studies in the spring 2009. I initially registered for the certificate. I was only trying to do something interesting and pleasant during my spare time. Then, the unexpected happened! Because of the energy and passion of the teachers in showing us the different aspects of Hispanic culture and literature and in promoting its rich variety, I ended up absolutely fascinated and decided that I wanted more of this.

I transferred, therefore, to the Major and in May 2011 I obtained the B.A., followed by the D.E.L.E. I am now doing the M.A. at Université de Montréal and will continue with the Ph.D. All this, I owe it to the Section of Hispanic Studies at Bishop’s!

Through the different courses, students can reach an excellent level of fluency in Spanish, are made able to sustain the examination for the D.E.L.E. (the official international diploma of Spanish proficiency) at the highest level, familiarize with the masterpieces of Hispanic literature, such as works of Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa and universally known classics (La Celestina, Don Juan, La Regenta, Don Quijote, etc.), and also have the opportunity to explore the astonishingly amazing world of Hispanic art, cinema and television. What you get from the program is not only a language, but also a totally new vision on life and values. Your understanding of the world will never be the same once you approach Hispanic Studies…at Bishop’s !!!

Giancarlo Fantecchi, class of 2011 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Winner of the Canadian Association of Hispanists contest for best undergraduate student essay
Audrey Gallibois

Audrey is now studying linguistics at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, still reflecting on the topic of her masters thesis. Travel is very important to Audrey; as a student at Bishop’s she participated in an academic exchange to Ecuador.

Audrey Gallibois, class of 2011 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Major in Modern Languages, German Concentration, Hispanic Studies Concentration
Elise Tokerud

Before I came to Bishop’s and started taking Spanish classes, my knowledge of the language limited itself to “mi casa es su casa” and “quiero cerveza.” After only one semester, however, the improvement was noticeable and with no more than one Spanish class each semester I felt ready to go on exchange to Mexico the winter semester my third year.

When I arrived in Mexico, it was clear that Bishop’s had provided me with a thorough base in Spanish, both concerning vocabulary and grammar. The styles of the classes include a good mixture of reading, writing, comprehension and grammar. The application of newly learned grammatical problems is conveniently explained through small texts or conversations so one may see the phenomenon applied in plausible situations.

Nevertheless, it cannot go unsaid that to really learn a language, sitting in a classroom two to four times a week will not suffice. The only way to really reach the level of fluency is living where the language is spoken and where one is ‘forced’ to use it. The number of Spanish speaking countries is vast and living in one of them would be incredible. Form my personal experience however; I can say that Mexico is a diverse and beautiful country filled with culture and history. The Mexicans are warm, loving and fun people that gladly share their culture and without hesitation, inviting you into their homes and making you feel welcome and at ease.

Whether one is falling asleep listening to the rolling waves or the music that never stops, taking in the symphony of colours, smells and flavours in a crowded market or feeling the burning sun walking along the beach, Mexico not only teaches you Spanish but also how to truly relax and simply enjoy the moment.

Elise Tokerud, class of 2011 B.A. Honours Sociology Minor Hispanic Studies, Minor FSL
Aryane Beaudoin

Aryane is currently working as a language-assistant in French in a small town in eastern Germany. She would like to participate in a similar program next hear in a Spanish-speaking country in order to utilize her skills learned at Bishop’s. When she returns to Canada, Aryane plans to complete a certificate in education and become a teacher. The photo is taken at the Sansoucy Castle in Potsdam, Germany.

Aryane Beaudoin, class of 2011 B.A. Honours in Music Major in Modern Languages, Concentration Hispanic Studies, Concentration German Studies
Anie Bernier

After graduating from Bishop’s, Anie taught French for one year in Murcia, Spain through the North American Language and Culture Assistants program. Still in Spain, Anie now teaches English in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) as part of a visiting professor program.

Anie Bernier, class of 2010 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies