The end of the semester happened much faster than I thought. Not just in terms of the entire three and a half months flying by quickly, nor just the dreaded realization that suddenly all your essays and finals are right around the corner, but that the last two weeks of the first semester just seemed to disappear. I can’t say I wasn’t eager for the end of the semester – I was ready for a break and to get out of Sevilla for a while. But it was also really hard beyond just the hours of studying that I still needed to do.
I didn’t want to say goodbye to the great friends that I had made this semester who wouldn’t be returning in the spring. Nor was I eager to say goodbye to my host parents who had given me such a warm welcome that September. I had decided to live in the student residences in the spring rather than with the same host family because I was ready for a new experience and the chance to get to know more college age Spaniards.
Looking back on this first semester I feel pretty good about how I went about everything and how much my Spanish improved. Things were hard at times. I got homesick, I got sick of speaking Spanish, and I become desperate for some good spicy Mexican food. But all in all, it’s been worth it. And even now, three weeks into the spring semester, I’m happy I’m going to be here for the entire academic year.
Between December 15th and February 3rd, because I decided not to take a January term class, I traveled with another Linfield friend from Seville as well as two friends studying in Nottingham. It was an incredible trip living out of a backpack for seven weeks. One of the best things about studying in Spain is how incredible the transportation system and hostel web are. While travel still isn’t actually cheap and the planning is complicated, it can be one of the most incredible experiences ever.
I spent Christmas in Rome and Florence with two good friends. The locale and the company (as well as the mounds of gelato) helped me feel better about being away from my family for such a holiday that I always spent surrounded by family. So it was difficult. And I can’t say that being in Italy made up for it entirely, because even being in Europe can’t replace the feeling of being surrounded by family. But I could deal with it for one year. And the gelato really did help a lot.