Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hola Desde España

The following is Jarod Coyer’s reflection on his time studying abroad in Madrid, Spain

The wall in Cordoba, Spain

Hola! My name is Jarod Coyer, a fourth-year undergraduate student here at the University of Wisconsin. During the 2014-2015 academic year I lived and studied in Madrid, Spain. Ever since I was little I have been exposed to bits and pieces of the Spanish language and my love for the language only grew once I started actually studying it in high school. Then, one year my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain, who became honorary brother. Once I graduated high school, he invited me to visit and as soon as I landed I was enchanted by the beauty of Spain, and I knew one day I would return. Coming into college I had the dream of studying abroad, and once the time came to decide where, I couldn’t help but return to Spain.

El Alcazar in Segovia, Spain

Living in Spain for a year is an amazing experience. Living, breathing, speaking, learning, teaching, and interacting in a completely new environment, distant from everything you know and recognize is challenging, but it was something I yearned for, and Madrid gave that opportunity. Being a double major in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies (LACIS) opened up numerous doors while abroad. Not only could I take language-based classes like grammar and literature, but because of LACIS I was able to immerse myself in the Iberian culture and it’s relation to Latin America. I took classes like “Social Change in Spain”, “Cultures of Spain”, “Madrid: Culture and Society”, and by far my favorite “Islam in Spain”. These classes exposed me to parts of the Iberian history and culture that I would have never otherwise learned, thus broadening the “I” in my LACIS degree, which is a facet of the degree that doesn’t see enough love all too often. So I am so thankful for my time living in Spain and studying at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for giving me the ability to expand my LACIS horizons.

The Madison students, in Segovia, Spain

Looking into the future, I am entirely optimistic that my LACIS background coupled with my Spanish abilities (and soon to be Quechua abilities!) will lead me down some amazing pathways, one of them hopefully being the Peace Corps in Central or South America, and possibly field work in the Andean region of Peru and Ecuador later down the road. I am excited to see where I can building upon my LACIS framework and develop it into something worth sharing with the world one day!

My progam and I in Cordoba, Spain, representing LACIS

This post is filled with pictures from my life and travels in Spain: living a year in a new country, being immersed in a new language, trying to find your place in this crazy world, can all be a bit daunting, but I know that I’ve found a home in Madrid. My experience abroad helped me find an independence and a freedom I never expected, all while confirming and evolving my desires for further LACIS development.

My program coordinators and I at graduation