It’s been about a month since I’ve been in studying abroad in Spain, and I’ve already experienced and learned so much! I arrived to my host town, Miajadas, after orientation in Madrid, and was greeted by my host mom, Lali and my host sister, Ana. I also have an older host sister named Raquel who goes to a university in a city about 45 minutes away. I really like my host family. We all get along so well and I feel like a part of their family already, and being here in Spain with them has felt really natural for me.
I still can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve been here, time goes by so fast! Sometimes during random moments I’ll think “wow I’m actually here in Spain,” like I can’t believe I’m actually here. School is another story though; it seems to drag on forever and ever until I can’t cram in any more Spanish geography or history lessons.
I think a part of that is because I can’t understand much in school. The teachers just lecture the whole time in class in a heavy-accented Spanish that is quite hard to understand at times. However, I have definitely noticed my improvement in listening since I’ve been here because I’ve adjusted to the accent. With my host family and friends, I can understand about 70% of any conversation and add in my opinion sometimes. As for speaking Spanish, I’m getting better and better each day, but I still have a lot to learn. Sometimes it’s so frustrating when I can’t describe what I want to say, so I have to simplify my speech and I feel like a little kid again, taking baby steps to learn more vocabulary. But I hope that I can be completely comfortable with speaking and listening to Spanish within my three and a half months left here.
Although the culture of Spain is completely different than the USA, I enjoy the lifestyle of Spaniards. I take a siesta (a nap you take after lunch time) daily, and I like how everything is pushed later into the day. Lunch at 2pm and dinner at 10pm, anyone? Not to mention my host mom cooks delicious food and mealtimes are a big affair here, so I now have a higher appreciation of food.
The pace of life here is generally slower, which is something I will always appreciate because I can enjoy life stress-free. And the majority of Spaniards that I’ve met have been very friendly and welcoming. The other day my friend from school told me “Angelea, please don’t leave Spain. I’m gonna miss you!” and it made my day. I think my friends that I have here will be lifelong.
Even though I’ve had a great time since I’ve been here, I still have had culture shock and days where I feel generally down. Whether it’s from missing my family or having an off-day with speaking Spanish, it seems that my emotions here are much more amplified because I’m experiencing a totally different world. But everyday is an improvement from the one before, and I’m so thankful that I have this amazing opportunity. That’s it for now, but I’ll definitely update on my life here sometime later! Hasta luego.