Name: Rebekah Horney
Semester: Summer 2007
Program: Language and Culture
School: Purdue University
If I could choose one word to describe my experience in Mallorca, it would be this: Paradise. I’m not saying that my trip didn’t have any bumps along the way, but between the beauty of the island and the people that I met during my time there, I don’t think that I could have chosen to spend my summer any better way than on the island of Mallorca, studying the Spanish language and the tourism of the island.
At first, I really had no idea of what to expect of Mallorca. I knew that it was a popular European tourist destination and a Spanish island in the Mediterranean, but aside from that, I didn’t know much else. Many of the preconceptions that I had about my study abroad trip were turned on their heads, such as the notion that I had that my trip was going to feel more like school than a vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely learned a great deal, but living on a Mediterranean island and taking class excursions to different areas of Palma did not feel very much like school. The Spanish language was the area in which I learned the most. Being constantly surrounded by people speaking Spanish, it would have been difficult not to learn.
My host family was one of the greatest helps to me while I was trying to learn Spanish. I talked a great deal with my host mom about typical foods of Mallorca and discussed many of her different recipes with her. She made an effort to make foods that I liked, while at the same time trying to give me as much cultural experience as possible. Since I love to cook, I quickly picked up many of the culinary Spanish words. I also shared with my host family about life in the United States, and the differences between the U.S. and Mallorca. The 10 year old twins in my host family helped me learn even more Spanish vocabulary by playing GuessWho? and Monopoly with me in Spanish. Although my host family didn’t speak English, they were very patient with me when I was trying to remember words that I had forgotten, and they were very kind in assisting me with the language and with helping me find my way around Palma. I am very thankful for the host family that I was placed with because they helped make my experience so good. They worked hard to include me in their family and by the end of the trip I was like a second daughter to them. I still keep in frequent contact with them.
Mallorca has been called the island of a thousand faces, a name that I find very appropriate considering the diverse landscape of the island.
Through the different trips around the island that I took with the other students, I was able to see the Drach caves, the town of Valldemossa surrounded by mountains, and of course, the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Although Mallorca is only ninety by seventy kilometers, just a half hour’s drive will completely change the landscape.
On the eastern side of the island, there lies a mountain range. In the south, there is a rocky beach I visited where the people build rock towers in memory of the ancient people.
I cannot think of Mallorca without remembering the students and faculty of the CIEE program. By the end of our trip the eleven of us students had become very good friends, in fact, we were almost like a family, since we spent a major part of our time together. I felt that all of the teachers of our classes were patient with us as we learned and tried to make our experience as good as they possibly could.
We took several excursions around the city of Palma to areas such as the Cathedral, art museums, and the palace Almudaina, where we learned a lot about the city and the people who lived there. Antonia, the director of our program, was always there to assist us with any problems or questions we had, including the best ways to travel around the island of Mallorca.
In conclusion, I recommend this program and the island of Mallorca to anyone. Not only did I learn while having a fabulous time, but the people of Mallorca and the breathtaking landscape are something that you don’t want to miss.