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Composition major Ethan Kampa returns from Spain

Ethan Kampa
Ethan Kampa

Four months ago, composition major Ethan Kampa prepared for his first overseas travel experience. His experience was also a first for the music department’s new study abroad program in Oviedo, Spain, created by Assistant Professor of Music Jorge Muñiz. 

This new program is a partnership between Indiana University and Conservatorio Superior de Música de Asturias (CONSUMPAS), where students take music classes and lessons (at CONSUMPAS). Students study and perform music in Northern Spain to broaden their perspectives in musical training using the European tradition. Students also develop the essential musician’s skill of networking by creating connections with Spanish students and music professionals.          

Did Kampa’s expectations prior to his adventure prove true?

Kampa recommends all students travel overseas. “It is a chance to get away and focus [on being a musician], released from the constraints of general education requirements (which for a music student can take up a lot of precious time), job, family, social life, etc… I most certainly recommend studying overseas for anyone.”

One of the biggest differences Kampa noticed was the contrasting teaching styles and surroundings of the United States and Spain. At CONSUMPAS, the average class size is two to fifteen students. Students and the professor sit around the table completing assignments, while the professor makes their rounds to give individual time with each student.

Notes Kampa of this teaching style, “…questions are resolved immediately and learning becomes a more interactive process. It’s a phenomenal learning environment.”  Kampa felt he was able to cultivate a stronger relationship with the professor because of the individual attention given to students.

The pace of Spain is a bit slower and more easy-going. Shops close from two to four in the afternoon for siesta (nap) and a meal. The change in pace and perception of time refreshed him, making it easier to focus on music. “In Spain, I was able to make music a priority. I found that I enjoy being in my own space with adequate time and energy to self-reflect” says Kampa.          

The most valuable lesson Kampa brings home with him is to live life unafraid. “I have always had wanderlust but it was slightly bridled by a fear of the unknown. Here, I would wander the city alone, absorbing the sensory stimuli and loving every minute of it.”