Hey all. I’ve only been in Spain for about a week now, but there is already so much to share about the beginning of my semester abroad from Bates…
My journey began with a series of tiring flights and layovers. Door-to-door the trip took just under 19 hours, and, except for a few minor delays, went relatively smoothly. I missed no connecting flights and both my bags arrived intact so I can’t really complain.
There was a representative from the study abroad program waiting at the airport who helped me and other arriving participants get taxis to a local hotel where orientation was being held.
The orientation itself was a bit chaotic. Truly an overload of activities: meetings, a language test, meals, presentations, and even a scavenger hunt around the city to help us learn about some of Sevilla’s landmarks while also getting a lay of the land. There was an overwhelming amount of material covered in a small period of time (Tuesday night – Thursday afternoon), but it was certainly helpful and as the week goes on I’m finding myself more and more grateful for all the information learned those first few days. We received a program handbook and a map of the city, among other various documents, which are both proving to be extremely useful as I begin to adjust to life in this beautiful yet thus far foreign city.
On Wednesday I found out I would be living with a Señora (In terms of how the program classifies it: an older Spanish woman who has room to spare in her home because her children are older and have moved out). On Thursday afternoon, my Señora, Concha, picked me up at the hotel and gave me the classic Spanish greeting (two kisses on each cheek). She is extremely nice, an excellent cook, and has provided me with a good-sized room to live in. We get along quite well I think and my Spanish is improving everyday thanks to our mealtime conversations.
I get along well with many of the other students in the program and have already had a good time with these new friends going out for drinks and exploring the city. The people in the program are from all over the United States, but we seem to all share the same basic goal: Achieving Spanish language fluency and full cultural immersion while also having a fun time doing it.
I miss home and loved ones dearly and have been feeling a bit homesick at times. I still do not have access to internet in my homestay (a problem that will hopefully be remedied soon) which makes me feel more alone because the internet is one of the only ways that I can connect to my family, my girlfriend, and my home life. Still, I am trying my best to focus on the positives: the excitement of arriving in a new city, meeting new people, and embarking on an academic and cultural adventure.
I feel as though I could ramble on paragraph after paragraph about everything, but I will instead try to focus on individual aspects of my experience in upcoming blog posts.
Tomorrow marks the first day of my two-week intensive Spanish grammar course. The journey is only just beginning. Pictures of Sevilla to come soon! Until next time…