With a blink of an eye, my time in Spain has come down to a month, 30 days to be exact. Insane! How do I feel? Well, I’m not too sure. Mixed emotions is the best way to describe it. When you’ve been away from home for four months, you start getting the jist of how things work in your new environment. You build relationships with people, eat great food, and improve tremendously in a language you thought you had all figured out.
During my time here, I’ve certainly gotten accustomed to going to school for four days a week, heading to the beach after class, napping during Siesta, eating lots of bocadillos and saying “vale” (okay) when necessary. I didn’t think I would be able to feel so at home in a place thousands of away from my actual home in Pennsylvania.
Looking back at my first few months, I didn’t think I’d be able to make it past the many obstacles I faced. The biggest of them all was asking for help. Being the shy person that I am, I like to think that I’ve mastered the best ways to avoid conversations with strangers when I feel lost. If I have a question about directions when traveling, I depend on my phone or try to memorize where I have to go beforehand. But, sometimes theres no wifi or enough battery life to surf the internet. So, as you might’ve guessed, I was forced to ask for help. And when you ask for help, you get over the fear and it kind of becomes second nature. I’ve met many people from all over Europe in different stages of life by simply asking for help.
Living in Spain has also made me slow down my pace. Before this semester, I was able to juggle my five courses, three jobs, and still find enough time to spend with my friends and the gym. I look back at this, and still wonder how I managed to stay sane. In Spain, however, I don’t do much but travel and go to my two classes. The culture here is very laidback compared to the states. It’s definitely made me look at life differently. It’s taught me that even though I’m young and working towards my career, I shouldn’t let that take over my entire life. I should always find time for myself and simply relax or meditate.
Oh, and one thing I’m really grateful for are all the animals! Because Alicante is such a touristy place, a lot of retired people from all over Europe like to move to Alicante for the weather, and many of them have dogs – lots of them. So where ever I walk in the city I’m bound to see an old lady walking her dog. At the University there’s also a duck pond and just recently a duck laid eggs so there’s about 10 ducklings roaming campus right now. It’s the cutest thing ever!
Although this was a short blog, I hope you have a somewhat general idea of how I feel about my study abroad so far. With one more month left I hope to do so much more!