¡Qué guay es España! Today makes one week since I left America and it has been an absolute whirlwind. It feels like it has been so much longer, and I have already learned so much. However, arriving in Madrid the first day was definitely a culture shock and took some time to adjust to. Being in a country where everyone speaks a different language than you can be pretty intimidating, especially when you happen to be the one in your group who knows the most Spanish. It was almost immediately after we landed and I had people asking me what other people were saying to them and if I could respond for them. It was literally the longest it has ever taken me to find a McDonald’s for someone! I can’t even begin to explain how excited we all were to find someone who could speak English, it was like a weight was lifted off our shoulders. Then again, it felt good to be able to take charge and advocate for others I was with who really couldn’t speak or understand the language at all. Having to ask people for directions and try to speak clear enough for them to comprehend what I was trying to say, and then having to listen to a naive speaker and decipher their accent really put my knowledge to the test. It put into perspective just how much I have learned so far in my five years of studying Spanish and that the time and practice I have put in is paying off. The one thing I’m still getting used to here is the accent. In Spain, there is less emphasis on the letter “s” and it can be pretty difficult to understand if the person is talking too fast. However, many of the people I have met here so far are very accommodating and patient.
As far as school goes, I am absolutely loving it! We officially started class this past Tuesday and has just continued to get more and more interesting. The weird thing about it though is that its the teachers who change classrooms, not the students. I’m still getting used to this concept and catch myself packing up to leave when class ends because it is what i am used to back home. There are a lot of learning curves here in Spain and it is requiring me to change my way of thinking and relearn things opposite to what I learned back home in the U.S….but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have learned and experienced so much all ready here in this short week and I can only imagine what I will continue to learn over the next two months. From the culture to the food to the language and even the geography, everyday is something new to experience and try. From these past few days alone I feel that I have grown tremendously not only in my studies, but as a person in general. This study abroad program is forcing me to try new things and reinvent myself as a person and I couldn’t be more excited to see where it goes.
Until next time!