One month ago, I stepped off the plane and into Madrid, Spain. I didn’t come to Spain with expectations because I had no idea what to expect, never having gone abroad before. Never did I think that I’d be traveling virtually every weekend or trying out a class at a school of 80,000+ people. I’ve been truly blessed to be here. I’ve seen different cities in Spain and Portugal and have even got to use a decent amount of Spanish and Portuguese even though many people have used their English on me. I’ve had some of the craziest experiences such as being in a bus that randomly got stopped by the Civil Guard to get checked and almost missing my bus back to Spain from Portugal because the metro broke down one stop away from where I needed to be.
I’ve loved my experience studying abroad so far but I will say that I can relate to the international students in my school when it comes to being far away from home, my friends, my family, and the life I’m used to. Now that I’ve got myself plugged into a very welcoming church and have taken a course at the Complutense University, I’ve met some Spaniards. Yesterday, was my first day in the local university. I took a French class (yes, I’m planning on taking French in Spain) but that’s where I experienced the most culture shock. My French III class, which would be under 20 people at Gettysburg, was over 30 people. I have never gone to a big school before so that was an adjustment. It didn’t have the personal feel where each student gets individual attention and can just go to the professor whenever they want to talk. I tried talking to the professor at the end of class to ask her if I’d be able to take this class and she ran off saying that she had a class she couldn’t be late to and that she never read the email I sent her two or three weeks ago because she didn’t have time to. I already loved Gettysburg but this made me even more thankful for the school. I am so fortunate to be going to a small school where the professors value every student and you’re able to learn a lot from being in a smaller class. I don’t think I could have done four years in a big school.
Already so much has happened in one month away from the United States. Every day in the life of an international student is a new adventure. I can’t wait to see what the next few months hold!
Check out this video of my trip to Bilbao and San Sebastian! English subtitles are included.