Ohio Wesleyan Student's OWU Connection Trip Shows the Power of Living in Language
Name: Graci Semptimphelter ’26
Hometown: Franklin, Tennessee
High School: Battle Ground Academy
Majors: Business Administration (Management Concentration) and Spanish
OWU Connection Experience: Travel-Learning Course, “SPAN 226 – Spanish Immersion and Walking El Camino de Santiago” in Galicia, Spain
Semptimphelter traveled to Spain for two weeks this summer with current OWU classmates Kelly Farran ’25, Emma Foster ’26, Brooke Lenigan ’25, and Grace Mahoney ’24 to complete a Travel-Learning Course with professors of Spanish Eva Paris-Huesca, Ph.D., and Andrea Colvin, Ph.D.
“Eva Paris-Huesca and Andrea Colvin were incredible mentors on this trip,” Semptimphelter says. “They were so patient, helpful, and fun! I loved that they were on this trip with us.”
During the Travel-Learning Course, the group immersed themselves in Spanish culture by exploring its history, art, culture, language, and food, as well as walking a portion of El Camino de Santiago (Saint James’ Way).
‘Full Spanish Immersion’
“I chose this experience because of the full Spanish immersion experience that I would gain and also the cool history behind this trip,” Semptimphelter says. “I knew that ‘El Camino de Santiago’ would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity. I also loved how for the first week I would live with a host family and then for the second week, I would hike all across Spain and see so many different places, people, and experiences.”
My Favorite Moment
“My favorite moment from this trip was when we were on El Camino de Santiago, and it was our first day on the hike. After hiking around 10 miles, we had just arrived at our first destination, Pontedeume, Spain, and we got on a little boat that would take us out to our own private boat.
“My classmates, professors, the two captains of the big boat, and I were the only ones on it, and we had lunch on the boat. We then rode to a little private beach where we swam on a big paddle board to collect a bunch of seashells. While that is a tough question, I would say that was my favorite moment from the trip, and it honestly was so surreal.”
“I think my biggest takeaway from this trip is that while you can study and do all the right things in the classroom to learn a language, you truly cannot fully understand or know a language and culture without going there and living in it. The first few days were a little hard just getting accustomed to speaking only Spanish and if I didn't understand something, they couldn’t just tell me in English. My Spanish improved immaculately just from the two weeks that I was there, and I will never forget any of my experiences on this trip.”
My Campus Involvement
Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan
“I chose to attend Ohio Wesleyan because of the competitive athletic and academic aspects. I also chose to attend OWU because of the countless opportunities I would have in the business department and opportunities like this one, to go abroad and see the world.”
My Plans After Graduation
“My plans after graduation are to move back to Nashville (my hometown) to work on and launch the app that I am creating to help people with special needs live more independently. I also plan to take over my mom’s and my non-profit organization, 1Team1Goal, which gives people with special needs the opportunities to participate in football, cheer, dance, and the arts.
“OWU is helping me reach these goals in numerous ways and opportunities through the business department and through the entrepreneurial center.”