Student travels to see Spanish culture

By Elizabeth ValenzuelaStaff Writer – evalenzu@unca.edu

Photo courtesy of Naomi Fitzgerald Senior Naomi Fitzgerald faces the Picos de Europa earlier this semester.
Photo courtesy of Naomi Fitzgerald
Senior Naomi Fitzgerald faces the Picos de Europa earlier this semester.

Naomi Fitzgerald, a senior Spanish student at the UNC Asheville, takes a step in accomplishing future goals by spending a semester abroad in Spain.

“What drew me to Spain in particular was the desire to experience the culture where Spanish originated,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald studies specifically in Santander, Spain at the University of Cantabria through a program run by UNC Charlotte.

“It is a beautiful city on the northern coast of Spain with rocky cliffs and snow capped mountains in the distance,” Fitzgerald said.

During her time abroad, Fitzgerald said she will taking courses in Spanish grammar, literature, history and composition.

“My classes are only taught in Spanish and that is a dream come true,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said she enjoys living with a host family in Santander.

“Any day I wake up and get to speak Spanish is the best day I can imagine,” Fitzgerald said.

The culture of Santander remains new and exciting to Fitzgerald since she only arrived three weeks ago. While she studies in Spain she said she looks forward to learning more about the Spanish culture and food.

“The food is amazing and I am lucky enough to have a host mother who loves to cook,” said Fitzgerald.

She also said she anticipates the trips her study abroad program planned for the students while abroad.

“I can’t wait to compare and contrast the different regions of the country,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald plans to travel along the northern coast of Spain. Her top destinations include Barcelona and Santiago.

To take advantage of her travel opportunities, Fitzgerald leaves this week for London for three days and Ireland for an additional two.

“I can’t wait to experience both cultures and to speak English,” Fitzgerald said.

In addition to her travels, Fitzgerald listed other goals she would like to accomplish while abroad.

“My greatest goal and primary reason for studying abroad is to really improve my Spanish language skills,” Fitzgerald said.

After Fitzgerald graduates from UNCA this spring, she said she plans on completing her doctorate in Spanish philosophy.

Fitzgerald also said she wants to teach Spanish on either the high school or college level.

“I have always wanted to be a foreign language teacher,” Fitzgerald said. “I speak Portuguese and German as well and would love to study both languages more and improve my skills enough to where I could teach two or three languages at a time.”

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