The Department has had a successful Erasmus programme for several years now, however 2012/2013 will see our first Cardiff Metropolitan Student visiting a continental university. Rosie Harris has recently completed her second year of the BSc Programme and will be spending the next academic year studying at the The University of Jaén. We will be keeping in contact with Rosie throughout this period and interviewed her before she set off for her Spanish adventure!
Can you tell me what prompted your interest in the Erasmus programme?
I have always been interested in other cultures and enjoy travelling and meeting different kinds of people. When I was a teenager I lived with my family in a residential college for people with special needs, where young people from around the world came to live and work as volunteers. I found I really enjoyed mixing with people from different countries and finding out about their cultures.
Also, in my first year and second years at university I met students who were participating in Erasmus years at Cardiff Met and I decided it was something I would really like to do. The overseas Erasmus students all recommended it as a great thing to do too and encouraged everyone to take part.
How long have you been learning Spanish? How have you found it so far?
I started learning Spanish formally around a year ago, when I decided I would like to take part in the Erasmus programme. Before then, on my gap year, I’d been living with some Colombian students for a year so I was familiar with the sound of the language and had learnt some basic sentences and phrases. To begin with I felt I picked up the language quite quickly, though the grammar and verb formations have taken longer to get used to! I have found the biggest challenge has been balancing learning Spanish around work and university. I find I need to do something in Spanish almost everyday to keep me progressing and I have found it hard to do this when I have deadlines at the same time, a few days away on holiday or exams.
Do you speak any other languages?
I can speak Welsh fluently.
How are you preparing for your visit?
I have invested in private Spanish lessons for the last year and have bought Spanish self-teach CD’s and books. I’m aware that I haven’t been speaking Spanish very long so it will definitely be a challenge! I’m trying to immerse myself with Spanish as best as I can; speaking with Spanish friends, listening to Spanish radio or even just writing shopping lists in Spanish! I have also signed up to a language school for 2 months over the summer in Spain (Don Quijote Language School).
What are your plans for the summer before you start at the University of Jaén in September?
This summer I’ve saved up to do an intensive language course in Spain (as mentioned previously). I will be living with a Spanish host family in Barcelona for one month then another host family in Valencia for a month and I am hoping to WWOOF (volunteer on an organic farm) in Spain for the remainder of the summer.
How familiar are you with Spain and Spanish life? Have you been before?
I have been to Spain once before on holiday with my family to Mallorca. However this is a largely tourist area so I don’t feel it was a very good reflection of traditional Spanish life! I hope that from living in Spain over the summer I will be able to gain a more accurate insight.
How are you feeling about attending lectures and writing assignments in a language other than English?
I think of all the factors this will be the hardest part. I think it will be very difficult at first, not only due to communicating in a different language but also to the different teaching and learning styles. However I hope that I will be able to adjust and do the best I can.
What are you most looking forward to about the visit?
The most exciting part for me will be living in a different culture and experiencing things that I wouldn’t get to experience simply by being in Spain on a holiday. I would like to widen my perspectives and look forward to learning psychology from within a different culture. I hope that this experience will be beneficial to me as I would like to travel to Latin America in the future, hopefully to work within the field of psychology.