Ellie Strafelda - Bilbao, Spain

Ellie Strafelda

University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain

What’s your major?

I am a psychology major with Hispanic Studies and Special Education minors.  I want to go to graduate school for Occupational Therapy and hopefully be able to help patients in English and Spanish. 

Where are you studying?

I am studying at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. 

How long will you be abroad?

I came here in September and I will be returning at the end of the semester. 

What type of courses are you taking?

I am in a Language and Culture program so I am taking Spanish Grammar, Conversation, Culture, and Gastronomy (which is a food and wine class with grammar thrown in). 

What is your favorite memory from your study abroad experience?

My favorite memory studying abroad is when I went hiking with my new friends in the national park Gorbeia.  We stayed in a “refugida” which is basically a shack in the park and then climbed the mountain the next morning.  I had never done any serious hiking or climbed a mountain before.  It was something I never would have considered doing before coming to Spain.

What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?

I would encourage someone considering studying abroad to budget!  I have seen a lot of people here who aren’t sure how to manage their money and they are out before the end of the semester.

What is/was your favorite local landmark?

My favorite local landmark are all of the bridges and the river.  There are 3 pretty bridges and it is nice to walk along. It’s always filled with cute elderly couples and families. 

What are your living accommodations?

I am living with a host family and I absolutely love them.

What is your greatest challenge while being abroad?

The greatest challenge has been adjusting to different cultural things, like meal times.  Lunch isn’t served until 2-3:30 and dinner is at 8:30-9.

What skills have you acquired abroad?

I have learned Spanish, obviously.  I also have learned how to navigate foreign cities, metros stations, etc. 

Has study abroad influenced your academic/career path?

Study abroad has definitely encouraged me to keep up with my Spanish when I get home so I will be able to use it in a career setting.

What were questions you were asked by local residents?

I was asked about Donald Trump by my host dad the first night!  I get asked about the education system, the snow, and family life.  People typically live with their parents until they are married, and so the fact that I will be moving out of my parent’s house soon is very odd to them.