Study Abroad Spotlight: Maddie Goodman

Name: Maddie Goodman

Year: 2017

Major: History

FAS Position: Programming Staff Member

Where did you go? Sevilla, Spain

Why did you choose to go there? I chose Sevilla (Seville) for several different reasons. Having taken Spanish in High School and during my Freshman year of college, I knew I wanted a Spanish-speaking country to better my language skills and attain a certain level of fluency. Additionally, I thought that having working proficiency with a language would enable me to fully immerse myself in the culture and society, and it also allowed me to direct enroll in the University in the city. Lastly, I had been to Spain before with my family, specifically Barcelona, and absolutely loved it. However I knew that I wanted some place off the beaten path, and I felt that in Sevilla (which is the fourth largest city in Spain) was a little bit atypical to study abroad in. I also loved that the city had so much history built into it - all of southern Spain was actually ruled by the Islamic Empire centuries ago, and has a ton of Moorish/Muslim influence.

How did FAS influence your decision to go? FAS fosters diverse and worldly discourse, providing students with valuable perspectives on a variety of world issues. I think FAS influenced my decision in that I felt the need to go somewhere I had never been and really knew nothing about in order to gain a more global, worldly perspective. 

What has been your favorite part/experience? Wow that’s so hard to answer … there’s literally so much I could talk about. I absolutely loved almost every aspect of my abroad experience, from the friends I made, Spanish culture, and the food I ate. I think Sevilla the city itself was probably my favorite part. I loved the city - like looooooove with a capital “L.” It’s amazingly beautiful and the weather is consistently great - it never dips below about 50 degrees in the winter. It’s such a culturally and historically rich city, and with so much to do as well. But if I had to sum it all up one sentence my favorite part was the old buildings that lined the river, becoming practically fluent in Spanish, the endless olives, siesta (a three hour nap in the middle of the day), cheap and flavorful wine, and the friends that I made. 

What did you miss (or not miss) about Hopkins? I definitely didn’t miss the stress. It’s no secret that Hopkins can be really stressful, but a lot of it stems from the fact that everybody thinks that every second of the day you have to be doing work. When you’re abroad, it provides you with the opportunity to step back from work and life, and remember the things that truly matter. That assignment that you have due in 2 weeks will not teach you anything grand or amazingly important about life. We all should take time to slow down, breathe, and open ourselves up to knew experiences and memories. 

I definitely missed my friends a lot, and the time difference made it hard to communicate. But I also made lots of new friends!