Joshua Boulet, Staff Writer
In 2020, North Greenville University students will have the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for roughly five weeks, immersing themselves in Spanish culture while also helping out a local church with mission work. Ben Coates of the Spanish department, spoke about the program and why he feels it is a great opportunity for upper level Spanish students.
The program will run from late May to late June of 2020. The students must be at least around Spanish four, since they must be at a level where they can hold conversations in Spanish. As for the number of students, Coates hopes for around 10 to join the trip. Anything over 15 he would have trouble managing alone, since he is the only faculty member taking part in the trip.
Academically, the students would not be working with any Spanish university. However, there is a class that is taught during the program for the students. Instead of a university, the students will be working with a church in Madrid to help with mission work. While the trip sends the students to Spain, the Spanish spoken in Spain and how it is heard in the United States are extremely similar.
Coates elaborated that the program is fantastic for students who are interested in learning strong conversational Spanish.
“There’s nothing like being surrounded by it [Spanish] 24/7. If someone wants to learn how to speak . . . and really develop proficiency in the language, that time in the country where your survival depends on how well you speak the language. That’s just so important.”
Coates noted that his own experience in a Spanish university helped him greatly in his Spanish, so he sees that there is great benefit in studying abroad for a decent amount of time.
Coates highlighted the mission aspect of the trip as well. “The trip really is about missions, as much as it is about academics.” He hopes that students can learn about Spanish and mission work in one sweep.
While the trip is definitely focused on mission work, there are opportunities to explore Spain and Europe as well. For some weekends, students will be totally free to do any traveling they want. This is in addition to traveling that already exists in the program. Coates hopes that students will get to see many interesting sights during the five week trip.
The tentative price for the trip is $3,750. This would include the class, textbooks, extra traveling, plane tickets and everything else that is done during the trip. Coates noted that the price is unavoidable for such a major expedition, but hopes that the amount of time between now and the trip will let students get the funds for the trip.
One way Coates suggested was for students to ask their local church for help. Since the trip is also for missionary work, students may be able to fundraise their way to getting the money they need. While it is a bit expensive, Coates is certain that students will see the value in the trip.