Bennington College student Kari Ostensen’s Dance Internship in Barcelona enabled her to continue her Dance and Language studies abroad over the summer.
I always knew that studying abroad would be a crucial part of studying Spanish in college, but I never thought it would so perfectly align with my study of dance too. Through PAA, I was able to intern at a dance studio in Barcelona and combine my understandings of dance and language. I was able to take dance classes in Spanish, assist with classes in both English and Spanish, and consistently practice my Spanish with my coworkers and the friends I made through the dance studio. I go to Bennington College in the U.S., where we create a Plan and use that to shape our studies instead of following a major or program. At Bennington, my Plan questions and aims to explore the relationship between dance and language. In this internship in Barcelona, at Slam Dancing, I was able to further understand this relationship through my own process of learning dance in Spanish and through the Spanish children who I was teaching dance to in English.
It might sound cliché, but I really did fall in love with the city of Barcelona and its people. My coworkers at the studio welcomed me with open arms and helped me feel comfortable as I occasionally struggled with my Spanish or being away from home. I had the most amazing host family. From my first day in Barcelona I felt safe and secure knowing that I had a family away from home, one that was there to answer my questions and help me practice my Spanish. By the time I left, we exclusively spoke in Spanish together whether it was about food, politics, my career goals, or a singer that my host brother was into at the moment. Since leaving, I have stayed in contact and I know that we will see each other again when I one day go back to Barcelona or when they come to the U.S.
As a first-generation college student, I was never sure if I would have the opportunity to go abroad. It was my first time flying by myself and my second time leaving the country. I’d never even been to the West Coast in the U.S. Going abroad was very intimidating, but it was an experience I am so grateful for. I was able to travel around Europe and even take a weekend trip to Morocco with Barcelona SAE. Studying abroad changed my perception of the world around me and taught me the importance of taking a step back and really living in the moment. It reminded me that life is more than work and school and the importance of conscious and thoughtful travel and for all of that I am so thankful.