Mina Kianovsky ’21 – Granada, Spain with IES Abroad

Mina and a friend standing in front of the Granada skyline.
Mina (she/her) and a friend in sunny Granada.
Where did you study away?
I went abroad to Granada, Spain.
Why did you choose to go to Granada?
I chose Granada because it was a perfect intersection of my two majors, Theatre and Religious Studies.  Spain’s history with theatre is rich, and the city itself is made up of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim history.  While I was there I studied Spanish and Sephardic Judaism, Islamic architecture, and Spanish opera.
Did you see any interesting pieces while you were there?
I had the opportunity to see a modern portrayal of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Yerma, which was beautiful and strange and exciting.  I was in a class about Lorca, one of Spain’s greatest poets and playwrights, and the Granada area was his home so we really got to know him and his work.
What theater and dance adjacent classes were you in?
As previously mentioned, I took a class about Lorca, but I also took a course at the Universidad de Granada called Ópera y Zarzuela Española.  We studied the entire history of Spanish opera, and the class was made up entirely of Spaniards aside from me, so I got both the objective and subjective views on the subject.  I also did some work during the semester with a local professional improv troupe, whose director is a friend of the director of IES Abroad Granada.
How did your experience abroad affect you as an artist? As a person?
Living abroad forced me to be uncomfortable for four months, and to really learn to grow in that.  I got braver, which I know translates to my work as an artist, and I think I learned more about how I want to move through the world.  I am more sure of myself after living in Granada, and I speak up even more now for what I need and believe in. I also think that forcing myself to speak Spanish all day every day for four months helped me to improve my language skills, of course, but also to articulate myself better in any language.
Do you have any advice for other students thinking about studying away?
I think that, regardless of the location or program or whatever, it is important to put yourself in a place long-term where you know almost nothing.  Sitting in that discomfort and trusting yourself to grow through it and teach yourself what you need to know are invaluable skills.  Taking classes in a different language and meeting people from vastly different worlds than your own is important as well.

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