Rockford graduate uses language education to good use in travels to Spain

Cadiz, Spain has been the home sweet home for Ashton Ferguson for the last three months. From October to December 2011, Ashton flew to Spain to live with a host family and teach English, at the same time being immersed in her favorite foreign country. Ashton studied Spanish four years at Rockford High School and graduated with the class of 2010. She joined the Geovision Program, which specializes in placing students who want to travel and teach English, and Ashton was excited to be able to be immersed in Spanish language and culture. Her travels took her to Gibralter, Granada, Jerez De La Frontera, Priego De Cordoba, Sanlucar, San Fernando and Ubrinqer.

Her host brother Salva, pictured, enjoyed showing her around Sevilla. While there, she experienced Halloween and Christmas and even learned some flamenco dancing. Her host family toured with her to see many castles and mountains in the countryside.

Ashton noted some interesting things in cultural differences. “I was surprised to see that birthday parties for all ages are very big events and that siestas last from 1 to 6 p.m., prime shopping time for Americans. You learn to adapt and slow down a lot. I was very happy in that the family I was placed with had a police officer for a father. I was in good hands.”

Her mother, Cynthia Ferguson, and siblings, William and Courtney Ferguson, were able to Skype with her during her time there and keep her informed of what was happening back home.

“I’m just glad there was no civil unrest that took place while she was there. There is much civil unrest going on in Europe due to the austerity measures, including Spain. My prayers were answered that she returned home safely.”

Ashton is back in the U.S. and resuming her college studies in her last semester at Grand Rapids Community College, then off to attend Michigan State University afterward. She is very grateful for such a wonderful host family and life experience.

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