Tips for Incoming CIEE Palma de Mallorca Students, by Jimmy Watt (alumni)
Semester: Spring 2008
Program: Liberal Arts
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
My name is Jimmy Watt from the University of Colorado at Boulder and I am a Spring 2008 graduate of the CIEE Palma de Mallorca program in Spain. I spent 5 amazing months studying in Palma doing the same exact program and experience that you are just being introduced into. As cliché as it sounds or however many times you’ve heard study abroad students mention it, it really was the best time of my life. I learned so much, accomplished so many goals, and I can really say that I see a huge positive change from the person I was ago. I also had more fun than I could have imagined. So great ready for quite the experience.
This is somewhat a mini personal student guide of ways to enhance your overall experience in Palma from my perspective. Also this is somewhat a way where I can live vicariously through you all. Jaja! (haha in Spanish Messenger (you’ll see)). What is mentioned below and in my next blog posts are personal recommendations and advice that I believe will be of great use to you in creating an experience that when you leave Palma, you are completely satisfied and regretless of how you spent your once in a life time experience, living the dream. I hope it helps and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my email. I wish you all the best of luck.
What you must do before all is set your goals of what you truly want out of this experience. For me, it was undoubtedly to have a lot of fun. But also personally, it was to really learn Spanish, integrate myself into the culture by becoming a local, and to find non-American friends. All easier said than done. I arrived in Mallorca with a pretty low level of Spanish. It was so much easier to hang out with all your American friends because not only do you all speak English but also because you are all on the same boat and can relate with each other’s experiences. Naturally you will bond with each other because of that which is great, but if you get too close with only hanging out with your own program, you will miss a HUGE aspect of this experience.
That leads me to tell you about ERASMUS. But before that, I want to re-mention it, figure out your GOALS. I mean, what you truly want to do and experience. Every week think about accomplishing them. Personally, I came back feeling like a native, improving my Spanish immensely, and having tons of Spanish and European friends.
So now ERASMUS.
What is this? Our program had 9 students. At the end I ended up truly being close friends with only one of the nine. That is because I integrated myself into the ERASMUS program. It is the European studying abroad program with a set of about 80 kids from all over EUROPE and the world whom are all studying abroad like yourself. We are talking about Argentina, Mexico, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Romania, Greece, you name it, and you can find it. Antonia the Resident Director will set you up in the beginning with a couple of events where you can meet ERAMUS. GO GO GO! No matter how big of a “Resaca” you have, how early it is, how much it costs, GO! You will meet so many kids around the world and really create a group of friends like you’ve never had before. This ERASMUS group usually has a facebook group so join it! When someone posts, meet at Bar Atlantico at 10PM Thursday, or Cala Mayor 3PM Saturday, GO GO GO! I cannot stress it enough how you must attend all ERASMUS unofficial events throughout the semester. This is a KEY aspect of your experience. Meet them, exchange phone numbers and become friends.