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Alumni Stories

Sisters Study on KIIS Spain I Program 11 Years Apart

by Christie Kremer

During my Freshman year of college, I studied Spanish and Political Science. At the time, I felt a bit lost because I didn’t really want to work in politics. Except for my Spanish classes, I was enrolled in classes that I didn’t enjoy. Learning Spanish and connecting with Spanish speakers had been one of my passions since I started learning Spanish as a Freshman in high school. Because I was having a difficult time connecting with my education, I wanted to go on a new adventure, which eventually led me to study abroad in the summer of 2019.

My first Spanish class in college was taught by Dr. Regina Roebuck at the University of Louisville. She was a great teacher and wonderful person. I knew about her because my sister Connie had taken classes with Dr. Roebuck when she was in college and studied abroad with her on the KIIS Spain I program in 2008. Dr. Roebuck promoted study abroad throughout the semester, but I didn’t even consider it until about a week before the application deadline. Connie’s memories and exciting stories about visiting the weekly markets and living with a host mom during her study abroad experience had a big impact in choosing my own study abroad program.

While I was in Spain, I was still a Political Science major but I had plans to change my major to Graphic Design within the next school year. I took a Spanish Business class with Dr. Nelson López on the KIIS Spain I program. He made a huge impact on me and was very supportive and helpful throughout my time in Spain. In class we wrote mock cover letters and emails, and we learned a lot about putting ourselves out there in order to achieve our professional goals. I also learned about networking, and he inspired me to expand my horizons and take big risks in my creative career. He encouraged me to seek out Master’s programs and post-grad design fellowships before I was even enrolled in the Graphic Design undergrad program. Dr. López was an incredible teacher and mentor, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to learn from him.

I was nervous about going on the program without a friend, so I convinced my roommate to apply with me. I shouldn’t have been so nervous because I ended up making some great friends while I was studying in Segovia, Spain. For years, I had heard stories from Connie about her roommates, host mom, and the friendships she made in Spain. I’m glad I was able to create my own adventures meeting new people and experiencing new food, music, art, and more, much like the stories my sister had told me from more than a decade earlier.

Right before I left for Spain, Connie showed me around Segovia on Google Maps, and I couldn’t believe I was going to experience the same places and people that she did years before. I got to live with an awesome woman named Olga, who was so helpful and accommodating – she brought us chocolate croissants anytime we needed something sweet and would wash our laundry before we even had to ask. On one of our last nights in Segovia, we got to celebrate the wonderful Señoras who had been helping us out throughout our time in Spain. This is when I was able to introduce myself to Amparo, Connie’s host mom. I jogged her memory by showing her a picture of her and my sister, and she was pleased to experience another connection because of someone who crossed her path eleven years earlier.

Amparo and I took a picture together in front of the Cathedral to send to Connie, which turned out almost exactly like the picture of the two of them. It’s easy to see the parallels between us and our experiences, and I’m grateful for our separate, yet shared stories of our time in Segovia. Of course, I am always inspired by my big sister, and I’m glad we can connect through our passions for traveling, experiencing new cultures, and building relationships with people across the world.

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Connie & Christie Kremer

KIIS Spain I
Connie: Psychology & Spanish
Christie: Studio Art & Spanish
University of Louisville

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