I’ve been living in Sevilla for over a month now and have had the chance to travel a bit to places like Barcelona, Munich, and Rome. Seeing these different places has made for some amazing weekend experiences, but after those few days are over I’ve found myself excited to come home to Sevilla. Traveling has also made me realize some of the major differences between European countries’ cultures. You really can’t just lump Europe into one stereotype; each country has different qualities that make it unique. So as I settle into my new life in Sevilla, I’ve found myself (of course) missing aspects about the U.S., and then also missing aspects of Spain when I travel to other European countries. Read more
Posts from the ‘Spain’ Category
My two favorite hobbies are sleeping and eating, and Spain certainly satisfies both. Locals do not take a siesta every day, and neither do I, but there is a “quiet time” during the afternoon when shops close down. It is an appreciated rest from the hustle and bustle. In reality, it is difficult to find time to sleep because there is always something new to discover. ISA has been awesome; they have activities planned for us weekly and inform us of local fairs and unique pueblos on the outskirts of town that are fun to explore on weekends. I have been so impressed with how well they introduced us to the city of Málaga! Read more
The time has come to talk about what makes Santander the very best study abroad location. Now, I know some of you are in world-famous cities with incredible landmarks, but Santander has something that’s got every single one of them beat: ice cream. That’s right, ice cream. Read more
During my first two months in Salamanca, I was particularly sensitive to the city’s noises, smells and sights. There is almost always something beeping, buzzing, stinking, sparkling or smoking (and not just the people). I felt (and still sometimes feel) constantly mesmerized by the stimuli around, and it was exhausting.
However, now that my complete and constant mesmerization of this city has faded, I can focus more as I wander the streets. When I was distracted, I missed some of the slightly hidden aspects of local life that I can see now. I’m thankful that I can see them now, because I have definitely adjusted my ways accordingly. Read more
Studying abroad in Europe this fall, I’ve had to navigate quite a few things for the first time – fitting three months of life into two bags, flying internationally, at times communicating with only my hands and eyebrows, etc. Most important of these adjustments, however, has been incorporating my longtime running routine into my new traveler’s lifestyle. Read more
I am not really sure how to put my experience so far into words. I think the best way to describe Málaga is that it feels like home. I traveled to Sevilla and Granada the past two weekends, and I found myself missing Málaga both times. Spain is a beautiful country, but Málaga has a unique energy and a rhythm that I fell into easily. Read more
Here’s the scenario. You arrive at your study abroad destination starry-eyed, filled with hope and excitement and maybe the tiniest bit of caffeine. You spend the first few excursions running around with that same just-landed gleam in your eyes. You even hop to your first classes with all the enthusiasm of a sugared-up kid on the eve of her seventh birthday, thrilled with the brand-new world of all things study abroad in your future. And then it happens. Read more
It is fun to think about where we will be in a year, 10 years, 30 years, 50 years. Who knows? In only two short weeks, however, I can say for certain that I will be on a plane destined for Spain. At times I think “Let’s get this party started!” Then, a bit later, I think “whoa, I have a list of people I do not know, will stay with a random family’s home that I will share for a few months, will attend a school I am unfamiliar with, and will have to communicate using a language I do not speak. Oh and I have to fit my closet into a 25-inch suitcase. What am I doing?” I would be lying if I said I was not scared, terrified really. But if you ask me in person how I feel, I will just reply that I’m excited. “Excited” is a good blanket term for all the emotions I am feeling right now. Read more
It has been almost three weeks since I arrived in Santander, and although I am loving life, I have come across a few challenges that could have been curbed if someone would have just enlightened me. So to lessen the challenges of any future “Santander-ian”, I have composed a list below.
1.) Rain, Wind and Sun…Oh My!
Because the city is right on the coast, the climate here in Santander is so fickle. Depending on the time, it can be hot or cold, all on the same day. I have learned that there are three things you should always carry with you : an umbrella, a light coat and deodorant. When walking around all day exploring, or even if you just have class, all three of these items might come in handy. You can be warm in the chilly mornings, dry when it starts to pour and not smelly when you start to sweat. It is a win, win, win!
2.) Keep in Mind Siesta Time
Here in Santander, all of the Spaniards close down their shops around 1:30 pm to go have lunch with their families. This sounds like such a great idea until you find yourself wandering around town at 2 in the afternoon because you forgot. Banks, schools and most local shops close during this time and it can be inconvenient when you need something, so plan accordingly and go to the store before siesta. Don’t worry though, most places open back up around 4 pm, once their bellies are full of delicious lunch.
3.) I will walk 500 miles, and I will walk 500 more
This is important, and I feel so silly saying this, but I had no idea how much I would actually walk while living in Spain. I walk to school, to the beach, to the city center — literally everywhere! Part of the culture is that everything is in walking distance so cars aren’t necessary for daily living. Don’t follow in my footsteps, and be sure to bring super comfy shoes so your feet don’t hate you.
4.) Cuidado! Be Careful!
In Santander, there are many sidewalks but limited grass space for all the dogs walking with their owners. When they need to go to the bathroom, they do so on the concrete, and sometimes their owners just leave it for the poor sucker behind them to step in it. I know too many people who have fallen victim to the dog poop (even me). So when you are enjoying your beautiful views on your walk, look down every once in a while.
5.) Try to Become a Spaniard
Last, but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to befriend the locals. Spaniards are shy at first, but who isn’t? At the university I attend, the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo, they have a bulletin board that has the names of several locals who want to practice there English. Jump on that opportunity; not only can you practice your Spanish, but you can make new friends! Also, if you have the opportunity to stay with a host family during your time abroad, do it. It has been the best experience for me living here in Santander, because I have truly immersed myself in the culture.
I hope these tips are helpful, and you will not have (hardly) any troubles during your time here in Spain.
It has now been four full days since I have arrived in the elegant city of Santander, Spain. I started my classes at the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo (UIMP), and I am all settled in with my host family after a whirlwind of an orientation in Madrid and Toledo. Before I left, I had been preparing for Santander for almost a year. I chose this program ultimately because of the friendly atmosphere, beautiful city center and, of course, for the ocean. I envisioned going to the beach every day between classes and learning how to surf like a Spaniard, but so far, that has not been the case. With my host family, I live about a 40 minute walk from the Playa del Sardinero. I have classes that take up most of my day during the week, but I’m enjoying the experience for what it is and am keeping an open mind. Read more