I arrived in Spain two months ago today, embarking on the beginning of this grand adventure known as study abroad. All I can say is that it’s been an incredibly rewarding and stretching experience so far, and I’m only halfway through!
Some brief reflections on my time on this side of the Atlantic:
- I really, really like it here. Burgos is a beautiful city and a wonderful place to live.
- I love speaking Spanish, and my speaking skills are definitely improving.
- I love traveling and learning from new experiences. I’m soooo grateful for the amazing opportunities I get every day.
- I miss my family, especially the chance to hang out with my brothers.
- I’m so thankful for friends (both americanos and españoles) and my host mom, who have made this huge transition for me so much easier and more enjoyable.
- Sometimes I miss really random things from home, like certain foods (snack foods like pretzels, as well as peanut butter).
- I’m grateful that some things, like friendship and laughter, are the same no matter what country you’re in.
I’ve been thinking a little bit about what it will be like to come back to the U.S. in December, and I think some of the readjustments I’ll have to make could be surprising and/or entertaining.
- My classes here, while very helpful and informative, are designed for American/international students, so they are not super difficult and don’t give me a ton of homework. I think the first few weeks of next semester will be challenging as I try to get used to harder classes and lots of homework again, as well as trying to balance school with working 20 hours a week.
- One thing I love about being here is that I can choose which language I want to speak in with my closest friends! Sometimes my thoughts come in one language or the other, and I’m not going to like having to be restricted to just one language when I get back.
- Here in Spain, the typical way you greet someone is with a kiss on both cheeks. That took me a little while to get used to, but now it’s almost second nature for me. What I’m afraid of is that when I come back to the U.S. and meet someone for the first time, that I’ll accidentally go in for a kiss. That could make some really interesting first impressions and incredibly awkward situations…haha. : )
- I’m getting very accustomed to my siestas, a nap in the middle of the day almost every day. I don’t know what I’m going to do next semester when there’s not time to rest built into the day’s schedule.
- Traffic laws here are pretty similar to the ones at home, but one difference is that cars here always, always, ALWAYS stop for pedestrians. When I get back I think I’m going to end up running out in the middle of some street in Kalamazoo, expecting the cars to stop for me. But instead of stopping, I’ll just get hit by one of them.
- Sometimes when I’m frustrated with someone or something here in Spain or have something to say to a friend that I don’t want the whole world to hear, I purposely switch to speaking in English (speaking very quickly and quietly), since the average person on the street here won’t be able to catch what I’m saying. However, when I return to the U.S., I’ll have to remember that people can understand what I say under my breath in English…that might be a good thing to keep in mind.
Anyway, I’m still liking it here, and I can only hope the next two months will be as wonderful as the first two have been!