If you’ve been keeping up with my past blogs, you might be wondering, “Who are these people you keep posting pictures with?” As I take the time to reflect on all of my experiences in Spain thus far, I also ask, “Who are these people I keep posting pictures with?” as well. No not really, but it’s quite weird to think that I met most of my core group here literally just three weeks ago. Yet we’ve been sticking together ever since. We call ourselves “Los Viajeros,” which means the travelers in Spanish, very fitting, I know.
There are around ~30 students altogether in the Penn-in-Madrid program, and not surprisingly at all, most of us attend the University of Pennsylvania. My roommate in the program, David, has been my friend ever since I transferred to Penn, and is my roommate during the school year as well. For this reason, it isn’t exactly surprising that we’d spend so much time together while in Spain.
Our other roommate, Mason, also isn’t a surprisingly addition to the group, because, well he’s our other roommate! Meghan and Andrew live on the same street as us, and eventually were grouped in with us, and Donya and Eliza met us during orientation. Despite spanning three different grades, several different majors, and having lots of different (and in some cases) similar interests with each other, the group formed rather quickly, and none of us have looked back since.
One of my favorite attributes about our group is that we work great as a team. This is becasue all of us seem to have our own set jobs that we undertake on our adventures. For this reason, I definitely recommend finding a group that you mesh well with during study abroad expeditions, as you’ll feel a lot safer and will have much more fun otherwise! Without further ado, (and keeping with my unofficial theme of listing things in my blogs) here are some of the roles that people in our group have undertaken during my time in Spain:
- This is probably one of the most important jobs in the group, as none of us really have any idea where we’re going half the time. No matter where we go, we always have somebody glued to Google/Apple maps, leading us around to our next stop. In the Basque Country, this is especially important as lots of signs are in Basque, which as students learning Spanish, none of us speak.
- As mentioned in my previous blog, Spain has an absolutely incredible public transit system that can take you to pretty much any corner of the country. However, when you’re a broke college student, you really have to factor in if the price of an AVE (Alta Velocidad Española (basically a high-speed train)) is worth more than a 6-hour bus ride.
- Needless to say, as a team we decided the 6-hour bus to San Sebastián would be more efficient for us. Somebody in our group was able to do this research and relate the information to us, and we’ve had somebody undertake this job for each weekend trip so far.
- When you plan on spending three days in a brand-new city, you kind of have to figure out how you’re going to fill up that time. Luckily for us, each trip we’ve had somebody work on researching things to do and planning out our days so we’re not just sitting around bored in an AirBnB.
- In general, we’ve all taken turns doing this specific job as we all have certain places and cultural experiences we want to be immersed in. In San Sebastián we were able to coordinate and work together to fit in trying new Basque cuisines while also having the time to hike in places like Monte Urgull.
- One of the main reasons we’re all studying abroad in Spain of all places is so that we can be completely immersed in the language of Spanish. With this in mind, we often try to take turns being the communicator for the day so that we all have chances to practice our Spanish.
- We are pretty evenly distributed into different levels of Spanish speaking and are usually ready to fill in each other’s gaps if needed. For example, lower level speakers can handle ordering food, but if we have an issue with the AirBnB we have the upper division speakers ready to help.
These are all very specific positions that you don’t necessarily have to replicate while abroad! Never the less our little team definitely would not be able to function as efficiently without them. Stay tuned for Los Viajeros last trip next week to Barcelona! ¡Hasta luego!