Second time’s a charm … and life changing


It wasn’t her first time in Spain, yet the experience was just as exciting and memorable. And this time four times greater!

Racquel Kreischer, a senior engineering major, spent a month this winter studying abroad in Granada, Spain, taking language courses while living with a host family learning up-close their Spanish lifestyle and customs.

While studying four years of Spanish in high school, including a week-long trip to Spain that left her wanting more, Kreischer grew an appreciation and greater interest in the second most popular language in the world.

When revisiting Spain, Kreischer described herself as lost. She had found herself back in a foreign country and realized the language barrier was troubling. Through this struggle, Kreischer reached out to friendly Spaniards who showed her the ropes throughout her journey.

“I have much more compassion for others who do not speak English in the United States or others who are learning a language,” Kreischer said. “You really have to have a relaxed personality in order to go with the flow. No matter how hard it gets you have to keep on trying,”

She added, “When I arrived in Spain I felt as if I’d never be able to understand Spanish or even what my family was saying to me! By the end of my month in Spain I could understand a Spanish speaker and answer back to get my point across.”

Every day was a new adventure for Kreischer. While in Spain, memories were formed horseback riding, relaxing in Arabic Baths, visiting the Alhambra, and evening getting lost. The best memories for Kreischer included the little things, such as going for churros and chocolate with her friends from school or sitting down at dinner with her family every night trying to communicate funny stories, but “failing miserably” at it.

On many occasions, Kreischer turned the language barrier into laughter and adventure.

“There was a time where I had to try and explain in Spanish that I needed my bus ticket fixed, which then resulted in my entire trip being changed,” Kreischer said. “Looking back, my friends and I could laugh at the whole situation.”

As if being in a new country wasn’t culture shock enough, Kreischer had classes with students from South Korea, Italy, Texas, France, and many other locations. Through these students, she learned even more about their lives in their own country, while every student talked in one common language, Spanish.