Hola! Me llamo Jory and I will be your tour guide for the 2013 to 2014 year abroad in Spain.
I am getting a rather unique perspective of Spain for your average Linfield College Spanish major. Instead of spending the year in either Sevilla or Alicante, I will be spending half my year in each. This change will give me the opportunity to learn more about Spain, Spaniards, and myself.
I have been in Sevilla for 20 days. In that time I have gone from a full time English speaker to a “full time” Spanish speaker. I say “full time” because I do spend quite a bit of time nodding and smiling without anyway to respond, but the key here is that I am trying!
So, 20 days in and I am still going strong. Now, I realize that 20 days is very small amount in the grand scheme of life, but you should know that I have done very little traveling before. I think my longest trip was 12 days and that was with my family!
In light of my traveling inexperience, let me tell you a little about the transition from your average American into a pseudo-española.
First, I’m sure it will come as an enormous shock, but English is not Spain’s main language. Which means that I am forced to use my Spanish skills for every moment of every day. Honestly, you have not known true thinking on your feet until you are forced to conjugate at a moment's notice.
Second, there is a siesta. This is a real thing and I am immediately going to petition every institution in the US to have a mandatory siesta because it is the best addition to life on the planet. Who doesn’t want a designated time to nap in the middle of the day?
Third, I live with a host family. If you have ever studied abroad, or if you plan on studying abroad, do not be afraid of the host family. In fact, embrace them with open arms, smiles, stories, love, jokes… etc. Take your host family and treat them like they are the greatest people you have ever met and before you know it, you will feel at home where before… you may have felt a little lost.
I think I have found the secret to life (or at least this week’s secret) but it’s this: embrace everything fully and without fear. It doesn’t matter that there is a language barrier, what matters is the willingness to communicate in anyway you can (even if it is playing a game of charades every night at dinner). Embrace everything you can, and I guarantee that you will be embraced back.
Best wishes from Spain and until next time,