Maggie Jackson '13, participated in study abroad as she spent a semester in Vigo, Spain. For a semester, Maggie lived with a family who had children ages 9, 15 and 18. “The family was the best part,” says Maggie. “On weekends, we would travel to their beach apartment and ride bikes. My family was a traditional Spanish family and being around them really taught me a lot about the Spanish culture.”
When asked what prompted her to want to study in Vigo, Maggie expressed her desire to become fluent in the Spanish language and she was curious to learn more about the country. “I became friends with Teresa and Pedro (foreign exchange students at O’Neal) last year,” says Maggie. “They liked their experience studying abroad so watching them encouraged me to want to try it.”
The school schedule in Vigo was different than at O’Neal. On Mondays, Maggie would attend school from 8:45am to 2:00pm and return back to school for an early evening session from 4pm to 6:45pm. Tuesdays through Fridays she would be at school from 8:45am to 2:45pm. There would normally be a twenty minute break during the day, but lunch was always eaten at home after school. “Lunch was the biggest meal of the day,” explains Maggie. “My host mother would prepare a large meal. The food was always fresh and delicious.”
While in Vigo, Maggie took several foreign language courses such as Latin, Greek and Galicitian. “Greek was my favorite class,” says Maggie. “I felt like I learned the Greek language and by taking a foreign language, I was able to learn Spanish the best.”
Another opportunity to learn Spanish was playing on a soccer team. The host father worked hard to find a team for Maggie to belong to. “Believe it or not, soccer for girls in Spain is not very popular,” says Maggie. “The team I belonged to had girls ages 12 to 30 and it was great fun!”
While in Spain, Maggie had the opportunity to travel to other cities as well as Portugal. She toured castles and many other interesting places. It was a bittersweet moment when it was time to leave her host family and return to the U.S. Maggie continues to email with them and even surprised them with a phone call on Christmas. Maggie was able to make great memories and new found friends while in Vigo, both of which continue to be nurtured and cherished.