Sarah Graves didn’t want the usual when it was time to take her Spanish class by trying to learn the language only through a textbook or on a computer screen.

So she went next level, joining the MSU Texas Study Abroad program in Spain, and she stayed there for two months.

“I did two months in Spain, earning 12 hours instead of just the usual six, and my favorite part was that I actually got to live there,” Graves said. “I got a more authentic view of the culture than when you're just visiting. You don’t just go there to see the highlights, where everybody goes, you get to meet people. For the Spanish class, I felt like I learned a lot more than I would have here because I was hearing Spanish every day and not just in class. I needed it to go to the store because I need to get something, and I have to ask in Spanish.”

Graves, a senior Mass Communications major from Archer City, had previously experienced Study Abroad with a trip to London.

“In London, we went to the BBC and went to an advertising agency. That was really cool!” Graves said. She also had a chance to interview an industry leader on the differences between British and American media.

Graves also enjoyed seeing the sights in London. “London was a lot like New York, but Spain was completely different. They’re more laid back there. They were two very different experiences. You may not get that opportunity again (as a student).”

Graves wants to see other students embrace their opportunities with the program, too.

“I have experienced and lived in countries that many people don’t get the chance to visit through studying abroad for the last two summers,” Graves said. “These experiences have made me much more independent. Before London, I’d never been away from my family for so long. The next summer, I did it again in Spain for two months. These are memories that I’ll never forget. I think everyone should study abroad. Don’t miss out and regret it later.”

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