My name is Tom van Ruiswijk, I am 23 years old.
In 2019 I travelled to Málaga, Spain. Prior to my departure I had already taken a year of Spanish lessons at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, where I study International Business and Languages. Spanish is a mandatory course for this study program.
Fontys University has an agreement with a language school in Málaga. This was a great school and I had my own single room on campus. All meals were provided in the campus restaurant, the school also provided cooking lessons on campus and we took part in all kinds of activities. There was a pool on campus and we often went to the beach and had excursions in the weekend to Andalucía.
I attended the language school in Málaga for two months and I had 26 hours of classes per week (20 hours of grammar and spelling lessons and 6 hours of conversation lessons). My knowledge of the Spanish language rapidly improved in Málaga and was able to speak quite fluently. After two months I ended up with more or less a B2 level of fluency.
Afterwards, as part of the study program at Fontys university, I completed a 4-month internship in Málaga. My Spanish was good enough to take up important tasks. After a couple of weeks, I could take calls and send out mailings and at the end of my internship I took care of all correspondence without guidance. In the last month of my internship I also helped organize an event with Spanish teachers, successfully guiding the group throughout and I was responsible for many organizational tasks.
Upon my return to the Netherlands, I pursued a minor program in Spanish at Fontys. Nowadays I use my knowledge of Spanish on a regular basis at the electronics shop I work at in Eindhoven. Many expats come in to buy electronics and I speak Spanish with some of them. I even could help an Italian client, because we could understand each other in Italian/Spanish. At this moment I just have finalized my graduation thesis. I hope to receive my bachelor’s diploma from Fontys University of Applied Sciences in July 2020.
I made a list of pros and cons. That’s when I knew I had to go to California.
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