Greetings/ good afternoon from Spain!
I never thought the time would come to where I would be moved in and somewhat adjusted to motions of life here in Madrid. In all honesty whenever people this summer would ask about if I was “nervous” or “excited” to study abroad, I just didn’t feel like I was actually going, so I would nod and forget about the fact that I would be living in a new country for a few months. Even the day of my flight, I felt like it wasn’t real and I wasn’t as nervous as I expected myself to be.
Right when I arrived I met a few people who were in the same program as me and we waited for the study abroad program directors for about 2 hours. At that point in time I was tired and felt restless, since I wanted to unpack my belongings and explore that unknown city that I have only seen pictures of.
Everyone in my study abroad program hopped on a bus and those of us who were in a homestay were dropped off at a meeting location. Right when I walked out of the bus I saw a lot of women and one couple waiting for the student/s they would be looking after for the next three months. I waited in anticipation as my name was one of the last ones called to meet who would turn out to be my host sister. So many thoughts rushed through my head including, “do I know enough Spanish to hold a conversation?” and “will they understand me?” A few minutes after meeting my host sister I met my host dad who then pulled up in a car and put my luggage in so that I didn’t have to lug it to the house.
When I arrived to the apartment I was shown my room that I would be sharing with my roommate and met my host mom and host aunt (both were and are super sweet.)
The first two days were mainly time to adjust and info session about being abroad. My roomie Maddy and I did a lot of exploring in those few days before school started. When school started most of my professors looked at us and said “I know all of you are here to vacation abroad and not here to study.” Funny enough the professors that did say that preceded to assign 10 page papers and told us about the assignments that were due over the course of the semester. All in all, every single one of my professors is and has been very great and helpful, especially when it comes to places to visit when in Madrid.
I forgot to mention that I was placed in advanced/Upper intermediate level Spanish (B2 level) after the lady heard that my mom knows Spanish (keep in mind that I by no means am fluent or can conjugate verbs perfectly 😂.)
Being in a different country has already taught me a lot & no I won’t go on a cliché rant about how Study Abroad has changed me (at least for the meantime.)
Some of the things that I have learned so far are:
- You actually have to try and speak the language to advance to the next level of language learning (even if that means sounding really dumb and having locals look at you like you’re crazy.)
- Google Maps is a great friend to have and so is a new SIM card
- Actually get accustomed to Spaniard eating times because that is when the best restaurants are actually open (plus when in Rome or should I say Spain, right?)
- “Chao” is used more than than “Adios,” here in Spain
- The Metro isn’t as intimidating as it seems
- Spaniards, that live in Madrid, wear sweaters when it’s less than 80 degrees outside
- Also, Spaniards dress very well every day of the week