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Group photo of Spain Junior Journey Attendees

Junior Journey #6: Shannen Chacon ‘24

Jun 29, 2023

Florida Southern’s Junior Journey is one of the highlights of the educational experience students can expect at the College. There are a number of trips throughout the year with destinations like Germany and Spain among the most popular. The goal of this blog is to give an insight into what goes on before, during, and after the trip so that future travelers can have an idea of what to expect.

Editor’s Note: This will be a weekly feature, with this week’s entry chronicling Shannen’s final week in Spain.

June 13, 2023

Hello, FSC friends, por la última vez (for the last time). I’m writing to you from Orlando now, and I already miss the window sofa I would usually write from in Alicante. We arrived back in Tampa on June 8. Saying goodbye to my host family and walking through the city with my luggage felt surreal and far too soon for my liking. Our day of travel back home was long and tiring but keeping myself awake to hop back into the right time zone proved to be a good decision. Although I did not feel homesick while abroad, it feels right to be back with my loved ones here. I could write thousands of words about my time in Spain, but I’ll do my best to summarize.

Left: With Inma, one of our teachers, at our farewell dinner.
Right:With another one of our teachers, Diana, at our certificate ceremony.
Discussing the differences in scheduling with a
nurse in the hospital on our tour.

On our last full night in Alicante, we had a farewell dinner as a whole group with our professors from Proyecto Español. We received our certificates and celebrated together. I cannot say enough about how much these people mean to each of us. Not only have they taught us so much of the language, but they have shared their lives with us. Their hospitality and kindness will surely be remembered and discussed for many years to come. The day after, the amazing marketing director at Proyecto, Samantha, showed a group of the nursing students around a hospital in San Juan. This hospital is connected to the University of Alicante. We were able to talk with some of the professors and nurses about the differences between our programs and the roles of nurses in Spain. They were most surprised to hear that nurses in the U.S. are not responsible for tasks like casts for broken bones and how much our education costs compared to private institutions there. This was an interesting visit, and I’m thankful that we were able to fit it in before we left.

To compile a list of my favorite things from our trip seems nearly impossible since I loved every bit. As for food, I already miss paella and will have to make it here. If you’re not familiar with it, paella is a delicious rice dish with vegetables and seafood or meat. As a coffee addict, I thoroughly enjoyed my daily café con leche in Spain. Coffee is delicious there, and my Keurig here just does not taste the same. As many people have asked already, my favorite part of the trip by far was the people. I loved connecting with my host family, my teachers, and students from other countries. Even connecting with locals in shops and cafes was a memorable highlight.

This is my amazing host mom.

I learned so much Spanish, and I’m using the momentum I gained over the last month to continue my studies here. I continue to listen to more Spanish music than I already did before my trip. As someone who reads the Bible, I’ve decided to do so in Spanish with the Bible I bought while in Spain. Additionally, I have not hesitated to say things in Spanish to my friends or other loved ones and teach them a new word or phrase. This has been so fun! Many of us who traveled together have discussed meeting up periodically to practice the language together when we start our fall semester. I also plan to keep practicing with my dad and other friends who are all bilingual.

Although I miss Spain already, I have a strong feeling that I’ll go back to the place I now only see in my camera roll and my dreams. See you on the next adventure, Mocs!

Check out last week's blog here.

Left: Boarding the plane in Madrid.
Right:Landing in Tampa.