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Young Harris College Students Study Abroad at the University of Salamanca, Spain

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College students McKayla Milam, Helen Hudgins, and Morganna Oberdorfer had the opportunity to study at the University of Salamanca in Spain through Young Harris College’s Study Abroad Program in Summer 2022. Not only did this international experience with Travel & Education allow these students to explore another country, culture, and language, it also allowed them to earn multiple credits towards their Spanish minors and electives.

McKayla, class of 2024, is a Communication Studies major, while Helen, a Chemistry major, will graduate in May 2023.  Morganna graduated from Young Harris College in December 2022 with a BS in Psychology. Each of the students have minors in Spanish, and learned about Study Abroad through Dr. Diana Santiago, Professor of Spanish, and Dr. Jennifer Schroeder, the Coordinator of International Studies. 

According to Dr. Santiago, “Salamanca is known as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The University of Salamanca is the oldest in the Hispanic world founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX. I still hear from the students that this study abroad program was the highlight of their YHC experience!”

While studying at Salamanca, McKayla, Helen, and Morganna took multiple language courses, focusing on the spoken, written, and grammatical components of Spanish. Through their classes, they met students from across the globe, many of whom have turned into life-long friends. Through their class excursions, the students visited Salamanca’s museums and learned about the history of Spanish culture. They also appreciated the city’s famously warm sandstone architecture and the visual history told through its many styles. A road trip to the beach in Praia de Costa Nova in Portugal was another highlight. 

During their study abroad experience, the students had the chance to stay with a local host family, which meant engaging with the Spanish culture and language firsthand. “Studying abroad allowed me to put all those Spanish classes to use. I felt super prepared to communicate with my host family and teachers,” said Morganna. Not only did the students gain a more fluent Spanish accent through consistent practice, but they also absorbed a great deal about Spain’s culture that would not have been possible through textbook learning. 

One of the students’ favorite aspects of staying with a host family was the home-cooked Spanish food, as well as the siestas. Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day, all the shops in Salamanca close for a period of rest. “Siestas are not up for debate in Salamanca,” explained McKayla. “It was refreshing to witness an entire culture prioritizing rest. North Americans are often on ‘go mode’ for so long that we forget the value of our mental and physical health. Experiencing this difference was mind blowing.” 

“If you have the opportunity to study abroad, do it!” said Helen. “It’s life changing, and you get to meet people from all over the world.” Young Harris College is pleased to offer a strong international component to students’ educational experiences. Through our partnerships with various International Programs and Scholarships, students gain a deeper understanding of diverse languages, peoples, and cultures, contributing to personal and community growth.  

Learn more about the Study Abroad Program.

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires, and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science, and Technology; and Professional Studies. Approximately 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit