Why It’s Worth Going on ISA’s Discovery Models


A basilica, a famous fashion designer exhibit, and a museum of Basque language- all three of these things are vastly different but all share one thing in common: they brought me closer to understanding Bilbao and made me feel more connected to the city and its people.  All three of these places were showed to me through ISA’s Discovery Models and I realized three important things that made these excursions valuable to me.

  1. These places give me the chance to learn about the Basque country and apply that knowledge.  For example, in the Basque House, a museum dedicated to explaining the language, a tour guide explained to us the complex roots and uncertain future of the Basque language.  It has somehow survived hundreds of years despite being relatively small, and is still considered a struggling language today. The information was extremely interesting, and then, less than a week later, I began to learn the same information in class.  Not only was I learning about the intricacies of the world around me, but I could also apply that knowledge in class and really solidify my understanding of the topic.
  2. I had a chance to practice my Spanish.  During the tours, I was able to not only listen in Spanish (which by itself is extremely helpful), but I was also able to learn new words and apply the Spanish I was learning in class.  On a tour through an exhibit about a famous fashion designer from the Basque country, Miriam Ocariz, I heard the word “muñeca”, meaning doll, which I had learned in class that same day. Internally, I geeked out.  I knew that word.  Not only that, but during the tour various other words were explained to me, like “lazo” which means “bow.”  It was a great opportunity for me to go out into the real world and practice Spanish, one of the best ways to learn the language. Not only that, but I got to feel accomplished when I could understand what was being said. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go, but sometimes it’s about counting your small victories.

    This is a wall containing pieces of clothing designed by none other than Mariam Ocariz!
  3. It is a great way to explore.  While I’m abroad, I want to spend every day doing something new, and this was a good opportunity to do just that.  For example, when I visited the basilica, there was a beautiful view of Bilbao and we were able to learn about the basilica itself, something I never would have done without the prompting of this mini excursion.  Just by showing up for an activity which takes an hour, maybe less, turned an average Tuesday afternoon into an amazing experience.
This is the Basilica de Begona where I got to hear about its significance to the city of Bilbao.

For those planning to travel with ISA, I would strongly recommend showing up to the Discovery Models.  Like the name says, it really is a chance to discover more of the world around you, and I can promise you you won’t regret it.

Lauren Ahern is a student at Eastern Michigan University. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Bilbao, Spain.

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