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 Students' reviews

AYA ALAME Harvard University, Spain Study Abroad
My trip to Salamanca, Spain with Conexus International the summer of 2010 was an incredible experience. I learned from some of the best teachers ever and it improved my Spanish tremendously. I lived with a welcoming family, giving me the opportunity to experience life in an authentic Spanish household. Conexus gave us the freedom to explore the city on our own, a true immersive experience that few other programs could provide, and the excursions we took to Toledo and Segovia were great opportunities to appreciate the history and culture of other cities in Spain. After only two and a half weeks in Spain, I felt much more comfortable speaking Spanish, tasted delicious homemade paella, and was exposed to the beautiful Spanish culture. My trip to Spain was an amazing experience, made even better by your organization. I hope to travel with the program again sometime in the future to continue my Spanish studies.
CHRIS REED Our Lady of Lourdes Newburgh, NY Salamanca, Spain Study Abroad
This is Chris Reed. I just wanted to say thank you so much for helping make my trip this summer possible! It was amazing and an unforgettable experience. I learned so much and it has already been paying off in my AP Spanish class :).
JUSTIN RASANSKY, 15 years old Greenhill School, Dallas
Everything was perfect. Truly one of the greatest experiences of my life!
HALEY PANGAN Highland Village, Texas
So far I have done three immersion language programs with the organization. All of my immersion experiences have been enlightening and remarkable, opening a world of opportunities and inspiration. I am not the same person I was three years ago at age 12 when I went on my first program study abroad program with them. I have a much more open mind to people that are different than me and have much more confidence in myself and my instincts.
I have traveled abroad with other groups, but no other experience can compare. Rather than systematically leading groups, forcing students to abide by strict schedules, or threatening students if they misbehave, Alina simply leads her students in the right direction. A trust and respect is shared between Alina and her students. She steers students to be inspired by travel and culture, as well as conquer their fears. I always knew that Alina was open not only to listen to anything I have to say, but she was there to mediate and help me through any struggles I faced. Rather than dealing with a problem for me, she encouraged me to fix my problems myself. When in a global setting, there are many obstacles a student may be faced with. Alina’s empathy and positive outlook are contagious. Alina teaches her students to enter situations unbiased and optimistic, and I know that in doing this, I gained new perspectives of both the world and of myself. Alina is both a leader and role model and offers a very unique sense of self-exploration with her study abroad programs.
HANNAH ORTH Dallas, Texas
My summer with was incredible. I have been on multiple teen travel programs before, but I have never learned to appreciate a culture like I did this summer. On my other programs, I felt like a tourist living the American life in a foreign country; however, Alina encouraged us to go out and truly live the life of a Spaniard: long siestas, late dinners, and social gatherings at Plaza Mayor. She allowed us the freedom to grow independence and utilize our Spanish skills in a safe environment. I, along with my Spanish, matured so much this summer and will hold these memories and experiences with me throughout my whole life. It was great having an adult chaperone who was readily available when we needed help but also balanced giving us a sense of freedom and responsibility. My friends and family know all too well (since I talk about it all the time) that my trip to Spain was the best, most eye opening experience of my life.

 Parents' reviews

My son Will’s participation in the Spain Study Abroad Program was invaluable to him as an avenue to new experiences, personal growth and maturation, as well as improving his grasp, and appreciation of the Spanish language and culture. This was in no small part due to the dedication of Alina Fernandez, who acted as guide, teacher, counselor, mother, and friend to, not only my son, but to all the students in her charge. I would encourage any parent who is thinking of entering their child into this program to do so without reservation.
TERESA PANGAN, Mother Bettendorf, Iowa, Puerto Vallarta and Spain Study Abroad
My child participated in Conexus Intensive Study Programs in Mexico and Spain - three times total. My daughter gained so many things from the experiences. She loved connecting with people from different countries around the globe while studying Spanish. She now is able to see life from an entirely different perspective. She also gained independence, confidence and a respect for other ideas and experiences. I highly recommend Alina’s programs and will be sending my three younger children to participate too.
STEPHANIE PINKSTON, Mother Highland Park HS, Dallas Texas
I wanted to give you an update of Philip's plans. He hopes to major in engineering at UT [University of Texas] and minor in Spanish. If he doesn't get into engineering, he put Spanish as his second major but I think in the long run it will be his minor. He plans to take the Spanish 2 SAT in the spring as well as the math SAT 2's. No matter what he does he plans to continue his studies in Spanish. I would be shocked if he didn't go back to Spain for a semester abroad one summer. He LOVED IT!!! I would love to share what a great experience I thought it was for Philip and his friends. I also want to tell you what a great experience Spain was for Philip and how much he learned. It was more than just Spanish ~ it was priceless. If you ever need a recommendation for the program from someone who is wondering whether to go or not, I would love to help. You were a great sponsor. You were there for them but you also gave them just enough freedom to learn on their own. Philip said and I quote, "It was better than I ever expected!" He was not very excited about going and came back thinking it was the best thing he has ever experienced. He made so many friends from all over the world and still keeps in touch with them. He improved his Spanish-his Spanish 5 teacher laughs at Philip and Christopher in class as they argue with each other in Spanish. I think he is sure to spend a semester abroad in college after Spain. He even wrote one of his essays for college on the trip. Thank you for everything!
NOREEN P. HENRY, Mother Hickory Creek, Texas
It has been such a terrific experience being a host family. We've had great fun getting to know Paula and learn of her culture and family, while showing her a bit of what life is like in Dallas! She quickly became a wonderful extension of our family and we look forward to keeping in touch with her long after the program ends.
Dr. & Mrs. THOMAS REED, Parents Our Lady of Lourdes, New York City, NY, Salamanca, Spain Study Abroad
As I am sure you are aware, Chris had a wonderful time and my husband and I were VERY pleased. We can’t say enough about Alina and the experience she provided for our son. As novices to studying abroad we relied heavily on Alina’s expertise. She patiently guided us through the entire process taking care of every last detail. Her accessibility both before and during the trip provided us with a sense of security beyond our expectations. Her concern for our son was evident in the personal attention she provided. When we had a concern, she handled it promptly and effectively. The Spain Study Abroad Program was a wonderful educational experience for our son. He came home more proficient in the language, better educated in the culture and eager to return. Thank you, Alina!
CHARLES & SALLY THOMAS, Parents Dallas, Texas
We sent our daughter to Salamanca, Spain with Alina Fernandez/Conexus. We knew nothing about the organization or Alina when we first signed up for the introductory meeting, however when it was over we were thrilled for our daughter and wished we were going on the trip as well. And in the end, it was probably an even better experience than we had hoped for. Our daughter came back more confident and self-assured than ever, declaring that it was the best "vacation" of her life. (This "vacation" was primarily studying Spanish every day at the university in Salamanca!) Not only did her language skills improve but the group under Alina also toured much of Spain and learned about the culture in many hands-on ways. Alina kept it fun, giving the students enough freedom to be self-reliant, but was always available when they needed her. Her calm approach and good sense of humor worked well with a large group of high school seniors. We were thrilled with the experience she received, and we believe Alina was the main reason it was such a success.

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