Newlyweds spend first months of marriage studying Spanish on honeymoon


Courtesy Photo

Aileen Rueda-DaCosta and Kori DaCosta overlooking the city at Etxebarria Park.

Students Aileen Rueda-DaCosta and Kori DaCosta are spending their first months as a married couple studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain.

“We had the idea to study abroad about a year and a half before we left,” Rueda-DeCosta said. “Kori and I both have parents who immigrated to America so we wanted to get a taste of what it must have been like for them to go to an entirely new country where you don’t know the language or the culture, and to learn.”

To acquire their student visas, the couple traveled to the Spanish Embassy in Chicago where they eloped last May. In addition to working and going to school, the two spent a year figuring out how to make studying abroad a reality. Twenty-five-year-old Kori DaCosta said having Aileen by his side is what brought the plan to fruition.

“We did a little fundraising, but the majority of funds came from us working and saving,” DaCosta said. “Aileen worked two jobs while taking classes, and I started a full-time job and continued taking classes. It was all worth it though.”

“Before meeting Aileen, doing something like this was never anything more than a dream — but she’s a do-er and was motivated to make it happen.”

Twenty-one-year-old Aileen said her husband’s support got her through the stressful times.

“Filling out applications, making sure we met deadlines, paying fees, finding housing and saving money was pretty much the only stress we felt,” Rueda-DeCosta said. “For a while there, it got to be a little much, but Kori is always calm under pressure and keeps me sane.”

DaCosta’s major is Computer Engineering while Rueda-DaCosta’s is Political Science, so one of the biggest challenges the couple faced was finding a university to attend together. After much searching, they settled on The University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, where they have settled in to their school routine.

“School is the same,” Rueda-DaCosta said. “We haven’t noticed anything substantially different besides cost. College is much more affordable basically anywhere but in the United States. I miss very little from America — mostly random junk food cravings I get in the middle of the night, but besides that, I feel like we’ve assimilated quickly.”

For the duration of the semester, the newly-weds will live in a flat with a host family they found through their church. The semester lasts about six months, but the two plan to stay longer to explore more of the country.

“The major parts of our relationship are God, food and adventure,” DaCosta said. “We love trying new things and exploring. It’s even better with your best friend. This is like a 6-month honeymoon. You can’t beat that.”

The couple agreed they would recommend the study abroad experience.

“We love to learn, and to immerse ourselves into this European culture is such a cool way to do it,” Rueda-DaCosta said. “We both would recommend this to anyone. It is 200 percent worth it. The world is yours. There is nothing at home worth missing all of this for.”