We interviewed Erica Choi (Class of 2016) about her experience studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, at Universidad Carlos III. BMES: What was your favorite food that you experienced? Erica: Pulpo Gallego, which is a traditional tapa featuring slow-cooked slices of octopus, garlic, paprika, and olive oil (of course). It is pretty basic dish, but it was always fantastic whenever I had it.
BMES: Favorite engineering class? Erica: Biomaterials: The professors were very involved and knowledgable. They really seemed to care about their students and tried to keep it interesting. They definitely helped in transitioning to a new university in a new continent.
BMES: Favorite non-engineering class? Erica: Spanish: My professor was fun and taught us a lot about Spanish culture. By far the most fun I’ve had in a class in a long time.
BMES: Most memorable experience? Erica: This is a really hard question (and a little bit unfair). But if I have to pick a singular experience that happened in Spain, probably hiking a mountain in 3-5 feet of snow with nothing but leggings, running shoes, and a sweater. Our friend who lead the hike accidentally checked the weather in the wrong city, so we were completely unprepared for a wet and cold afternoon of hiking. Despite these conditions, we still made the best of it and turned it into a memorable experience. We saw wild cows, and were questioned by fellow hikers in skii gear. So we ran down the mountain in fear of catching hypothermia or loosing our toes.
BMES: Was the experience worth it and why? Erica: Studying abroad was definitely worth it. Although it might not be easy to work into your schedule and get the right classes approved, it is definitely worth every bit of stress leading up to it. You have so many opportunities to meet new people, travel, and open your mind to other opinions and outlooks on life. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience. To be able to live in another country for 4-5 months is an opportunity many people won't have after graduation.