Jenna Selander arrived in Sevilla last January to study at the Pablo de Olavide University for a semester program. Jenna studies Medical Biology at the University of New England (Maine, US) and has always been very interested in Spanish culture. When she was in high school she met a foreign exchange student from Spain that sparked her interest in the culture differences between the United States and Spain.
>>”Sevilla stood out as being a safe and beautiful city that was filled with culture. It was also very easy to coordinate because of the outstanding efforts of my global education office and ESA.”
The biggest difference between Jenna’s daily life at home and in Sevilla is the pace.
>>”At home I rarely made time to appreciate the beauty found in each and every day. My daily life was constantly jammed with activities and classes. In Sevilla you don’t have an option but to slow down because the sites found around every corner are so outstanding you can’t help but stop and appreciate them.”
Besides the pace, Jenna finds the meals very different in Sevilla compared to home.
>>”In Sevilla, lunch is the biggest meal, and breakfast and supper are very light. Home it is almost the opposite, with lunch being my lightest meal. Additionally the times are different with lunch and supper much later. I found I prefer this way of eating! That might also be because my host mother is some sort of cooking prodigy.”
Apart from attending several courses at the Pablo de Olavide University, Jenna says she is thoroughly enjoying her internship at the Hospital Quirón that ESA facilitated for her. Quirón Hospital is a group of hospitals with specialist in almost every field. They have outstanding facilities with modern technology and remarkable staff.
>>Jenna thinks her internship is challenging above all: “It has forced me to learn Spanish very quickly and use that newly obtained knowledge every day. Not only have I been able to experience the hospital environment first hand but I have also been lucky enough to shadow doctor patient Spanish-English translations, and speak directly with the people. At some points I have had to translate for the patient myself!!”. She also administrates surveys to outpatients, inpatients, and emergency room patients. “This is where I get the most of my practice speaking Spanish. Every once in a while I will be lucky enough to get into great conversation about anything from American History to my hometown in Caribou, Maine. I also shadow workers of the international office that work to improve communication between the Spanish doctors and the non-Spanish speaking patients. I found myself looking up to them almost immediately because of their proficiency in multiple languages and their professionalism.”
How has Jenna’s experience contributed to her academic training so far? And how has it contributed to her personal life?
>>”I see this internship as one of the most valuable aspects of my study abroad experience. Even though I am in another country, my internship has allowed me to stay on track and work towards my goals of pursuing a career in the medical field. I have had more exposure to the hospital environment here in Spain than I have at home. Personally I have really been able to mature with this experience, from people skills to the Spanish language. I am very thankful to have been granted this opportunity while studying abroad.”
At ESA, we believe in travel with a purpose. Jenna Selander is without a doubt a perfect example of this concept.