In June, most students head to the pool, sleep in until noon, or go on long family vacations. However, for sophomore Rachel Kaplan, her summer includes something a little more exciting.

Kaplan will be traveling to Barcelona, Spain for two weeks to expand her knowledge of the Spanish language and culture.

“I really like learning new things. I’ve always wanted to study abroad because I enjoy traveling to different places and learning about how they live,” said Kaplan.

The immersion program, Education First (EF), is described as an “accredited international education company that specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange for high school students, college students, and adults.”

EF gives high school students a chance to choose from nine languages to study and 50 destinations to travel, including Korea, France, Italy, Japan, Costa Rica, and Germany.

Depending on the course, the curriculum includes at least 20 language lessons per week, each lesson lasting 40 minutes. The classes can be either private lessons or with several other people of a similar age group.

“EF provides an online program that helps you learn Spanish before your trip, but I’m doing research about different places I can visit in order to prepare,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan says that she both excited and nervous for the trip. “I’m most excited about meeting new people from a new country, but I’m scared about having to catch all my flights by myself and living with a family who I haven’t met before.”

After her trip, Kaplan has the opportunity to become an EF ambassador.

“Being an ambassador means I can help recruit people to sign up for trips and can manage orientations. It also allows me to receive discounts on future trips through the company if I choose to travel abroad again,” Kaplan said.

The EF Ambassador Program is “a way of helping students continue to broaden their cultural understanding of the world.”

“The process for applying for the program was easy. I gave the website my contact information and one of the coordinators reached out to me to answer any questions I had and helped me sign up for my trip. It was a really easy process and it didn’t take very long,” said Kaplan

Kaplan will leave for her trip on June 16 and return on June 30. EF has already helped her plan out her visit.

“I’ll be staying with a host family, who I will meet for the first time when I get there. In the morning, I’ll go to classes to learn about the Spanish language and culture, and in the afternoon I can spend time with my host family or explore different parts of the city,” said Kaplan

Kaplan is especially looking forward to visiting the beaches and La Sagrada Familia, the largest Roman Catholic Church in the country.

“I’ve heard that the church has really unique and beautiful architectural aspects,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan’s classes will be held in the Eixample District of Barcelona, described as the central point of the city. It is located near Las Ramblas, a large pedestrian mall that runs through the middle of the city.

Kaplan hopes that she will learn more Spanish and become more independent and more willing to branch out and try new things.

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