Anticipating Immersion in Salamanca

Hailey Sanden is a student at the University of California, San Diego and an ISA Featured Blogger. Hailey is currently studying abroad with ISA in Salamanca, Spain.


“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Traveling, I believe, demands a certain spirit of adventure. Taking in a new place, especially one with a culture so different from our own, is about much more than looking at it. It’s about seeing it. As Emerson suggests, we don’t just want to find the beautiful, we want to immerse ourselves in it and make our discoveries a part of us in a meaningful way. This brings me to the word I hope will define my trip: Immersion.
The very idea of “immersion” is both terrifying and trilling. When surrounded by the strange and different, the most natural reaction is to cling to the familiar. In fact, we ought to do the very opposite. Salamanca offers the opportunity for both language and cultural immersion. Language immersion is probably the best way to master a foreign language, but it is not an easy process. To learn more about learning to “think in Spanish,” check this out! Learning is best facilitated by consistent exposure, practice, and an open mind. Welcome immersion, even though it can be scary and overwhelming.

Salamanca also offers a beautiful physical environment to be immersed in. My goal upon arriving in this beautiful city is to connect with my surroundings. My camera can remember the sights, but only I can remember how they made me feel and what they made me think. Buildings like the Salamanca Cathedral and the Casa de las Conchas are more than total architectural eye candy; they are little bits of history. Every sculpture, street, and pothole can tell a story, and I hope to learn as many of these stories as I can. For more information on must-sees, ISA and TripAdvisor are both great sources.

On the eve of my departure, I anticipate immersion. I know it will not be simple and it will absolutely be overwhelming, but I do not want to miss a chance to make some beautiful things in the world my own.

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