Launching Education

UMW is committed to study abroad

By Edie Gross Aicha El Mahmoudi ’17 had plenty to adapt to during her first few days in Bilbao, Spain. The six-hour time difference. A full course load of finance, marketing, and Spanish classes. Streets teeming with rapidly conversing pedestrians who walked everywhere and dressed to the nines, even on their way home from the gym. But dinner each evening with her host family was perhaps the greatest challenge for the University of Mary Washington junior. “I found myself not wanting to sit down to dinner with them because I couldn’t understand what they were saying,” said El Mahmoudi, whose Spanish-language skills were more suited to a Latin American dialect than the euskara batua spoken in the Basque Country. That reluctance didn’t last. Not long into her spring 2016 semester abroad, El Mahmoudi declared dinner conversation with her host family her favorite part of the experience so far. “The first week was definitely hard. Everything was so different,” said El … [Read more...]