Casey’s Tips for Studying in Spain
A month and eleven days ago, I had began my journey studying abroad in Spain, and here I am now. People have warned me how moments abroad fly by but I never expected my time here to be moving so fast. My routine feels so normal now and Spain is finally starting to feel like my home away from home. Although my language is still really struggling at times, each week I notice I’m drastically improving. Some days I’ll feel as if I can’t speak the language at all, others I feel like I’m on the path to fluency. Although things are hard now to have basic conversations with some of my classmates, I know within a short amount of time I’ll break the language barrier and feel like just another Spaniard. Before I left for this cultural adventure I had an unbearable interest on what my time might be like. I would read blogs to get a feel of what it would be like to be immersed into such a diverse country and live such a different life for five months, so I’d like to inform you on some of the things that can help you prepare for your time abroad:
- Food: Within the first week I had tried foods I would never even think about eating back home. So far, I’ve tried octopus, baby sardines, full shrimp (head and everything), lamb, chicken’s stomach, chicken’s liver, and chicken’s heart. Although most of the exotic meats I really wouldn’t care to eat again, there were some I did happen to like. I’m glad I get to experience these things because I probably would never get the chance to any where else. Some real positives about living the European lifestyle is the bread, cheese, sweets, and ice-cream. One word – AMAZING. With every meal you get fresh bread and occasionally various cheeses and it is a dream come true. The ice cream here is the best I have ever tasted and the sweets have made me go crazy. The aromas you smell walking into a store are unimaginable.
- School: There is only one real way to describe the average Spanish high school… education. Nothing more and nothing less but classes, lectures, and tests. The students have never been to a school dance or even heard of National Honors Society. Personally, I feel as if is both a positive and a negative for exchange students. On one hand your deprived of the events and clubs that your school has to offer that allows you to meet new friends and spend time getting to know your class but on the other hand it forces you to branch out and try new activities around your town. Though my town is small, the local soccer team is where I’ve met quite a few friends of mine. It’s also fun to see the differences in the sports or activities played her compared to where you live.
- People: I didn’t know coming here what the people would be like to a foreigner. I know occasionally back home, some of the people treat foreigners terribly and I was nervous to sustain that kind of reaction. But don’t worry, on the first day of school I was reassured that the Europeans are some of the nicest people in the world. The first weeks here I had strangers branch out and attempt to speak English with me if I couldn’t understand something. Luckily, I was placed with a host family with some of the most generous and hardworking people I’ve ever met.
- The Landscape: If you would love to look out your window and see a mixture of vibrant colors from the beautiful sunset rising over a mountainous horizon every morning, Spain is the place for you. There is nothing I have loved over these past weeks then to go on runs and walks and see what views and sights the city has to offer. And so far, it hasn’t let me down.
My time here in this beautiful country has been all that I’ve wanted and more and I’m intrigued to see what the next four months holds for me. About two weeks ago my family and I went to visit my uncle here at his house at a “plantano” which is basically an artificial lake where all the mountains excess water leads to. There are only three in Extremadura, and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting one of them. The view was incredible and I had the experience of watching one of the prettiest sunsets cast various colors over the lake and mountains surrounding it.