Housing and Meals: Living with Spanish hosts during the term is an integral part of the program; it gives students an inside perspective on Spanish society not available in a dorm room. Students complete a housing questionnaire as part of their application, and after acceptance are carefully matched with families or single adults who are eager to welcome students into their homes. The host provides a room, three meals per day, laundry service, and all linens and towels.
Activities: An added benefit of the program are the co-curricular activities. The conversation partner program pairs U.S. students with Spanish conversation partners and is a great way to meet local students. By means of the MENTOR Program, foreign students can take advantage of the help of a Spanish student from their same campus to settle into university life. The host student will give advice on accommodation, campus life and other practical matters. The University of Oviedo also offers many activities for visiting students, including a full week of cultural activities in place of classes. During this week, students sign up for lessons on topics like dance and cooking, and are also involved in a variety of events like movie screenings and showcases.
Field Trips and Excursions: As a necessary complement to classroom teaching, a varied recreational and cultural program is offered. It includes visits to the most interesting places of the city and its surroundings, excursions to the seaside and mountains, as well as to the prehistoric and historic monuments of the region. In these excursions, lecturers and university students guide foreign students.
Travel: Students may choose to travel independently throughout Spain and in Europe during free weekends. Within Spain, trains and buses are economical and offer many scheduled options. For destinations further afield, discount airlines like Ryan Air and Easy Jet, allow students to travel at low cost. Students can fly directly from Oviedo to a number of destinations including London, Barcelona, Madrid, and Ibiza. Student hostels abound in Europe and offer inexpensive accommodations—plus websites with reviews now allow students to research hostels and even book ahead of time very easily. We recommend purchasing a good guidebook for Spain (and Europe if you plan to travel) before departure—the Lonely Planet and Let’s Go series are popular with students.
"My semester in Oviedo was definitely one of the best experiences that I have had at Rollins. If I had to give just one piece of advice to incoming students, I would tell them that they have to study abroad. Living in a country for a semester or a whole year is completely different from just visiting on vacation. I had previously traveled to southern Spain for just four days while I was on Semester at Sea, but being able to actually live in an Asturian household, eat the amazing local food everyday, make new Spanish friends, and just live the Spanish lifestyle really helped me to become absorbed into their culture. Some of my favorite memories from my time in Oviedo were when we would just go walk around the city or the parks and then share a café con leche and churros at one of the quaint cafeterías. Some of the great benefits of this program are that Paco, the resident director, takes the entire Rollins group on excursions about twice a month to local cultural and historical sights, and he also pairs each student with a Spanish conversation partner so that they get the chance to meet local students and practice their speaking skills. I still keep in contact with our conversation partners and a lot of the friends I made while in Spain, and I even went back to visit them in Oviedo for Christmas the next year. We all made so many great memories and friends that we'll never forget during our semester in Asturias, and I know I would do it all over again right now if I could."
--Katie Jones '11