Emma Howard, a Feb Frosh who went to Salamanca, is this week's Campus Celeb. Emma tells HC about what it was like adjusting to Spanish culture and coming to freshman year of college half way through the year.
Where are you from?
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
You're a Feb Frosh. Where did you study abroad?
Why did you come to Colby?
I really wanted a small liberal arts school -- my sister goes to Middlebury, and from visiting her, I got really attached to the idea of going to a NESCAC school. I also grew up spending my summers in Maine, both in South West Harbor and in Friendship. I also went to Wavus, a wilderness tripping camp in Jefferson, Maine for 7 years and then worked there as a counselor. I loooove Maine as a state and then Colby just kind of worked out.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you would be spending your first semester of college abroad?
Initially, he idea of living in Spain freaked me out. I wasn't even planning on studying Spanish and I was not into the idea at all. It didn't take me that long to realize how cool it would be though. My sister was studying abroad in Spain at the time, so I kind of got to share the pre-trip planning and stress with her. I was also really lucky -- I had an awesome Spanish teacher in high school and she was beyond enthusiastic and got me excited about going.
What was your favorite part of Spain?
It's SO HARD to pick my favorite thing from Spain. I think the best part was that there were only 20 of us, so we all got so close. I still get excited every time I pass someone on campus who was in Salamanca with me. I remember talking about some really deep stuff on the 3rd day that we were there, and my friend Natalie just starts cracking up and said "guys we haven't even been here a week, whats going to happen after three and a half months."
Did you experience any culture shock when you arrived in Spain?
The hardest part, for me, about Spanish culture were the hours that people worked and the siesta culture. We got up at 8 and had class till 2, had lunch and iesta till 5, then more class until dinner at 10. I never went to bed before 1 am on weeknights, and much much later on the weekends. We really had to take advantage of the siestas during the day and manage snacking between meals. Going from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon without food was brutal.
Has it been difficult adjusting to life back in the States?
Adjusting back to America has been heavenly -- I was more homesick for America as a country than I was for anything else.
What's your favorite part of Colby so far?
EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH. In all seriousness, though, everyone has been so nice. I know it must be weird having a bunch of new people come in half way through the year, but so many people have made legitimate efforts to talk to me and invite me places which is the best feeling in the world.
What are you looking forward to most about Spring Semester?
Spring semester...honestly, having experienced Jan Plan, all I've thought about is how hard managing 4 real courses will be. I am really excited to start getting involved at Colby, though. I'm in a W1 course for Jan Plan with mostly people from my trip and I haven't been able to join any clubs yet. I think it'll be easier to get involved on campus in the second semester--once I know my way around and everything.